*** Boys' Youth Groups : countries

Boys' Youth Group Uniforms: Countries

Figure 1.--Here we see a FSE Canada Explorer group in Canada. The boys here are Timber Wolves. Note the "Baden Powell" patch. Some FSE groups in Europe called themselves Baden Powell Scouts. FSECanada is thining about dropping this patch to avoid confusion with other groups.

Most all countries at some point in their history have had Scout groups. At other times Scouts have been baned by Fascist and Communist governments which formed competing organizations. Other grroups have been formed in a smaller number of countries. Some groups have been organized only in specific countries. The information here is organized by country.Here is a summary of the various youth groups known to HBU in different countries.

Regional Trends

Here we have organized our country youth group pages regionally. You can find the country you are lookung for by going to the region nd then looking up the country alpabeticlly. Our information on youth groups is most extensive from Europe and North America, but we are gradully adding information on youth groups in other regions as well.


HBC at this time has very little information about youth movements in Africa. We have very little information individual African countries. Most of Africa was colonized by European countries during the 19th century. Thus the African youth movements were influenced by the developing youth movement in Europe. The principal youth movement active in Africa has been Scouting. Italian Fascists promoted youth movements in their African colonies. We do not yet have much information on other African youth movements.


There are small Scout organizations in each Latin American country. Reflecting the middle-class origin of Scouting, few boys in most countries are able to participate. The largest Scouting organization appears to be Argentina. The only country with a mass youth movement is the Cuba with its virtually compulsory Young Pioneer organization. We have very limited information on Bolivia, but notice a nationalist youth program. We have limited information on Chile, but notice some information on Scouting.


Americans began organizing youth groups at about the same time as Baden Powell founded the Boy Scouts. When the Boy Scouts were founded, these groups were incorporated into the American Boy Scouts. Since its founding, the Scouts have been the dominant American youth organization. America has the largest Scout movement and more American boys have participated in Scouting than in any other country--reflecying thev middle class origins of most Americans. There are other youth organizations in America, but all are minor in comparison to the Scouts. Scouting is also the principal youth group in Canada. Canadian scouting has generally followed the British model.


Asia has more than half the world's population. We do not yet have a great deal of information about youth movements in Asia. Most of our information concerns the Scouts. Most Asian countries have Scout organizations, but they tend to have limited numbers of boys participating. I am not entirely sure why this is. One factor is economic. Scouting is a largely middle-class program and some Asian countries are very poor, although thee has been considerable economic progress in the region. Another fsactor is that Scouting has a western imge. The Communist countries have the Young Pioneers. This is a mandatory organizations abd other organizations are banned. Communist countries insist on having a monopoly on youth movements, education, and other organizations working with children. There are also some national groups, but we have not been able to find some information about this.

Belgian KSA
Figure 2.--The Belgian KSA looks like a Scout group, but in fact is a non-Scout group afiliated with Catholic schools. The boys wear bright blue shirts and the girls light blue shirts.


Modern uniformed youth movements first appeared in Europe during the late 19th century. The first group was the Boy's Brrgade which appeared in Scotland . A more secular movement, the Boy Scout movement, developed out of the Brigade in England after the turn of the 20th century. Another early group was the German Wandervogel movement. Early youth groups differeed on the involvement of religion. Although the British Scouts were a secular group. Scouting quickly spread throughout Europe. when Scout groups were founded in European countries, religion was a more important factor than in England and in many countries, the Catholic Church insisted on a sepsrate association. There were also smaller groups organized by churches. In the more politically charged atmosphere following World War I, political groups founded youth movements. The best known was the Hitler Youth in Germany. There were Fascist groups in Italy, Spain, and other countruies. The Communists founded the Young Pioneerv movement. After World War II, Europe was split between the Scout movement in Western Europe and the Young Pioneer movement in the Communist countries. No other group was allowed in Communist countries, but a variety of smaller youth groups of vrying character were permitted in Western Europe. The Pioneer movement colspsed after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the disolution of the Soviet Union. The Scouts are now the principal youth movement, but there are several smaller groups as well.

Middle East and North Africa

We have relatively limited information on youth groups in the Middle East and North Africa. For much of the 20th century the principal group was Scouting. And the Scouting groups were largely middle-class organizations and commited to a program generally in keeping with the princles of Baden-Powell's Scouting movement which included both avoiding political commitments and a world wide international fellowship. Provisions of the Holy Koran incouraging Muslims to associate primarily with other Muslims were generally ignored. Since World War II and the independence of the Arab countries, this has begun to change. Some countries have prohibited Scouting, viewing it with suspision as too Western. Other countries have founded national youth groups aimed at supporting the regime in power. And political movements within countries have founded their own youth groups, sometimes using the term Scouting. The groups tend to have highly political agendas including training children for terrorist activitive and even suicide bombing.


Oceania is not a well accepted regional grouping. Most woyld include the small islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Less well accepted are the larger island countries. We would tend to include Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and New Zealand for organizational simplicity. Not all geographers would agree, but this seems the most logical approach. While gepgraphically coherent, this combines the two largely European oriented countries (Australia and New Zealand) with the diverse populations of the area.

Organization Country Pages

HBU at this stage of its development has only limited information on the various youth groups in many countries. Often only information is available on scouting. Scouting has a separate country page. The country links for the other youth organizations are still on the main organization page, but separate country pages will eventually be created as HBC acquires more information. To assess the country page of the Scouting and other youth movements click here.


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Created: August 29, 2000
Last updated: 5:36 PM 5/24/2013