Boys' Uniformed Groups: Events

Figure 1.--

HBC has focused primarily on the various uniformed youth groups. A reader has mentioned that these groups have sponsored and or participated in a variety of events and competitions that are also of interest. The events fall into a range of categories: athletic, choral, group, musical, patriotic, political. religious, and other. The events in which they participated depended on the character of the group. The Boy Scouts from the beginning were apolitical, attracting boys from various political parties. Other groups such at the Hitler Youth and Young Pioneers were completely politicized. Some groups like the Boys' Brigade had a strong religious component while the Young Pioneers actively promoted aethism. There have also been significant changes over time concerning popular events. Some of these events rather blur the categories. Hitler Youth boys probably saw their participation in the annual Nuremburg Rally as patriotic, but today we would probanly classify it as political.

Althletic Events and Competitions

Atletic competitions are major activities for boys and to a lesser extent girls. In America these competitions have primarily been organized trough schools, although sports leagues like Little League baseball have also been popular. Swiming competitins are mostly done through clubs. Thuis uis not an area that the Scouts and other youth groups have entered in any major way. In Europe schools have been less important for sports competitions. British private schools are an exception here. More comonly boys have participated in sports through clubs. Youth groups have not played a major role. An exception here was the Hitler Youth. We are less sure about the role of the Young Pioneers. A reader asks us, "Thanks for your informative site. I am familiar with the various wandervogel, DJ, and HJ organizations. I am looking for information on the 1912 Siemens Jugendkampf sports events. I own several awards (oak leaves) from these games and would like to know more about this event. It appears this was the 10th Kampfe, so perhaps it started 1902? I don't know if they held on to their pre-war or war year records, if they survived." This appears to have been a major youth sports competition in Germany, but we do not yet know much about it.


We note that some youth groups had choirs. This seems to have been more common before World war II than now. Since World War II, many choirs have been organized as small independent groups. Other institutions such as churches and schools also sponsor choirs. We have noted competitions in Europe among these different choirs.


Youth groups often participate in a variety of civic events.

Group Events

The best know youth group events are the events actually sponsored by the groups themselves. Here by far the best known event is the Boy Scout jamborees. Here there are both international and national jamborees. The international jamborees were an important par of the Scouting movemnent, illustrating the international charater of the movement as it developed. We are less sure about similar events sponsored by other grous. We know that the Hitler Youth invited boys of German heritage from other countries. But they appeard to have invited to HJ camps and not special evens like jamborees. The Soviet Young Pionees also invited Pioneers from other countries, but primarily to sopecial camps rather than jamboree-like events. Another Scouting event is expos. These are more local events, usually sponsored by Councils to shoiw the community what the different Cub packs abd Scout troops are involved with. They are also useful in attracting new members.


Many groups have musical units. We have noted Scout bands in some countries. They seem especially popular in Britain where schools are less likely to have bands thn in America. We have noted a few Scout bands in America, but mostly before World War II. The British sponsor Scout band competitions and other groups are allowed to participate. Hitler Youth units commonly had drum and buggle units. They were often refuges for the boys uninterested in some of the rough actibities including virtual combat disguised as games.


Youth groups participate in a range of patriotic events. American Scouts often participate in 4th of July parades. An important event for many years was an annual march on Theodore Roosevelt's grave to honor the president that was very active in the Scouting Movement. English Scouts march on St. George's Day. St. George was the patron saint of England,


The Boy Scouts from the beginning were apolitical, attracting boys from various political parties. Other groups such at the Hitler Youth and Young Pioneers were completely politicized. The annual Nuremburg Rally was a major event for the HJ. And at the rally one day was reserved for youth.


Some youth groups participate in religious events. The most common here id Sunday church attendance. This is important in America where many Scout troops are sponsored by churches. The Boys' Brigade had an even stronger religious foundation. Other youth groups have actively discouraged religion. The most important here was the Young Pioneers which promted athiesm. The Hitler Youth also discouraged established religion, but mre discretely than the Young Pioneers. The NAZIs were using the Hitler Youth as the foundation for a new religion based on the worship of the state.



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Created: 4:07 PM 5/31/2008
Last updated: 4:07 PM 5/31/2008