We do not yet have much information on Swiss youth groups. The Boy Scouts began to organize soon after the movement was founded in Britain (1910) and Guiding began a few years later. We note a variety of different youth groups active in the early 20th century, but have few details about them at this time. We suspect that there may have been some Wandervogel groups in the early 20th century, perhaps even predating Scouting.
There were the "Jungschaar" a protestant youth movement and the "Jungwacht" a Catholic Youth movement. We also note the "Kadetten". This was a paramilitary organisation, which flurished mainly in the German part of Switerland and was mandatory in
certain Mirddleschools. I think the Kadetten disapperaed in the 1960s. There was not much difference between youth groups in the French and German speaking areas of Switzerland. We suspect that Hitler Youth groups were organized cladestinely during the 1930s, but have few details at this time.
We do not yet have much information on Swiss youth groups. We know that several different youth groups hve been active in the country.
The Boy Scouts began to orgnize soon after the movement was founded in Britain (1910) and Guiding began a few years later. Scouting as in the rest of Europe was quickly established as a suitable activity for boys. The movement was still quite small in the early and mid-1920s. One source reports that there were eight groups with 60 Scouts (1926). Lous Blondel from Geneva becomes the Chief Scout (1927). Blondel plays a major role in making Scouting an important institution in Switzerland. Swiss Scouts have their first Rovermoot or national jamboree/campout at Kandersteg (1931). Kandersteg becomes a permanent camping center for Swiss Scouts (1935). The second Rovermoot campout is held near Geneva (1935). The Swiss Scout movement had grown to 97 groups with 6,400 Scouts. Switzeland is a multi-cultural country with German and French speakers as well as a much smaller Italian-speaking country. With rise of the NAZIs in Germany (1933), it was unclear how the different communities would be affected in neighboring Switzerland. We do not know, for example, if there was different attitudes toward Scouting in the different language/etnic comminities. (Scouting was banned in Germany and Italy, but very important in France.) Swiss Scouting fared better during World War II than Scouting in many other European countries. Switzerland was not invaded and occupied by the NAZIs. Many Swiss expected a NAZI invasion. As part of the military preparations during the War, Swiss Scouts were integrated into the Swiss Army as an auxiliary service. Scouting emerged in post-War Switzerland as the major uniformed youth group. The Scouts are by far the largest and universally accessible youth-organization in Switzerland. They have programs for members 6 years to adulthood, for both boys and girls. Next year they are going to celebrate, like
most other Scout organizations, the 100 anniversary of Scouting. They are close to 50,000 Swiss Scouts in 2006.
The Escursionisti Rossi (ER--Red Hikers) were a youth group founded by a socialist workers' trade union in the Canton of Ticino, Switzerland. The photo was taken on May 25, 1922 on the Mountain Bar, near Lugano. This was the small Italian-speaking area of Switzerland. Important elements of the Socialist movement at the time were convinced that society as it existed was opressive, this not only meant government, bysiness, and religion, but also the family and a wide range of social cnvention such as the family. This included advante guarde elements advocating free love and naturalism. Interestingly, the Communists states which emrged first in Russia after brief experimentation adopted very conservative family values as the social values promoted. The aim of the movement was to promote youth hiking, climbing and general experiences with the outdoors. The primry concern was to reaquint the urban working classes with nature. ER was just one of the various worker groups. In Bellinzona, the group was named Ticino Union Worker Hikers (UTOE) founded in 1919. The moveent in Switzerland wa influenced by a wider European movement. Especially important was Naturfreunde (Friends of Nature), funded in in Vienna (1895) aimed at providing the working class opportunities to enjoy nature. It was thought that there were both health as well as psycological benefits. We might say spiritual benefit but Socialists would presumably object to the term. Doctors and hygienistsat at the turn-of-the 20th century wee recognizing the benedical affects of fresg air ans sunshine. It America we see the growing summer camp movement. Summer camps were slower to catch on in Wurope. We also see sanitoriums springing up all over Switzerland and other Alpine areas. It was being used to combat tuberculosis and endemic disease which ws propagatd by cndiions in the pollutd cities of the day. Working class children had few opportuniies to get out into the countryside. We see ER children not only hiking and camping, but sunbathing in the Alpine areas where the activities ocurrd. This occurred even in the snow.
There is a strong loyalty to Switzerland that cuts accross the language divide. Some of the German-speaking population was loyal or a least sympathetic to the NAZIs. They were represented by the Swiss National Socialist Party. I am not sure at this time how to quantify this. I think the Swiss Goverment outlawed the Hitler Youth, but do not have details at this time. We suspect that at least some Hitler Youth units were organized cladestinely during the 1930s. A Swiss reader tells us, "If they existed at all, they were a clandestine organization for sympatizers of the NAZI regime. There was some Siss NAZIs, especially along the German boarder. It can not have been large and I would suspect, was out-lawd by the Swiss Government."
"Jungschar" a protestant youth movement. This orgnaization is open to boys and girls 6 to 16 years old and is strictly a chruch-oriented youth-program. It is under the guidance of the Reformed (Protestant) Chruch of Switzerland. Their activities are church-oriented and much like the Scouting program.
The "Jungwacht" was a Catholic Youth movement. This organization as the identical organization ar the Jungschar, but for catholic boys and girls.
The "Kadetten" was a paramilitary organisation which flourished mainly in the German part of Switerland and was mandatory in certain middle schools in the German part of Switzerland during the 1950s. Now it is a very small, still somewhat para-military organization for boys 12 years and older. They are also affiliated with many sports-organizations and promote sports. They wear uniforms similar to the
police. Their mission is training in rescue and crowd controll. It only
exists in 6 German speaking Cantons.
We note a variety of different youth groups active in the early 20th century, but have few details about them at this time. We suspect that there may have been some Wandervogel groups in the early 20th century, perhaps even predating Scouting. This of course was a major movement in Germany and to a lesser extent in Austria. We do not know of any Swiss Wandervogel units, but the group was very loosely organized. We think it would be surprising if there were not some Swiss Wandervogel units in the German-speaking areas of Switzerland in the years before World War I. We can not yet, however, find any evidence of the group operating in Switzerland.
This is the youth section of the Swiss Alpenclub, which has for its mission to learn more about the Alps, learning about mountain-climbing safety and promotion of hiking in the Alps. The adult section owns and maintains most of the huts high up in the Alps.
Switzerland was essentially a bilingual country with large German- and French-speaking populations. There was also a smaller Italian-speaking population. A Swiss reader tells us, "There was not not much difference between youth groups in the French and German speaking areas of Switzerland."
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