Educational Project

PRESENTATION AND  EDUCATIONAL PROJECT OF THE « UNION INTERNATIONALE DES GUIDES ET SCOUTS D’EUROPE FÉDÉRATION DU SCOUTISME EUROPEEN (U.I.G.S.E.-F.S.E.)[1] »

(Approved by the Federal Council on August 25th, 2005)

1. THE « UNION INTERNATIONALE DES GUIDES ET SCOUTS D’EUROPE – FÉDÉRATION DU SCOUTISME EUROPEEN »

1.1.     The aims

The « Union Internationale des Guides et Scouts d’Europe – Fédération du Scoutisme Européen (U.I.G.S.E.-F.S.E.) », the aims of which are stated in Title I of the Federal Statutes, wants to contribute to the religious, moral, civic and physical education of youth by using the scout method, according to Lord Baden Powell’s spirit, with a Christian interpretation and fully welcoming the inheritance of the founders of Christian scouting, most particularly Father Jacques Sevin, Lord Mario di Carpegna, Professor Jean Corbisier, respectively founders of Catholic scouting in France, Italy and Belgium. The texts of the Law, the Promise, the Principles and the Ceremonial belong to this inheritance. 

The Charter of natural and Christian principles of European Scouting, the Religious Directory, the Federal Statutes, define the main ideas on which European Scouting is based and practised by the associations belonging to U.I.G.S.E.-F.S.E.. European Scouting:

  • wants to be, beside school, complementary to the family, which is first responsible for the child ; 
  • wants to educate man and woman in all their dimensions : body, spirit, soul ;
  • gives a fundamental importance to religious education and spiritual life ;
  • looks after the personal education of each one, the formation of social man and future citizen ;
  • is an active method encouraging the young boy to take in charge his own education in a context appropriated to his needs and his strengths.

U.I.G.S.E.-F.S.E. wants to keep friendly and fraternal relationships with the other associations, federations or movements of scouts and guides, be they Christian or not, in order to work together and establish, according to Baden Powell’s spirit and within his original educational project, a more just and fraternal society.

1.2.       Spiritual references

U.I.G.S.E.-F.S.E. conceives scouting as a means of apostolate within the Church and a good pedagogical means for the education of authentic men and women, inserted into a supernatural way on which they may practise the evangelic principles at the service of the world. All chiefs, at all levels, are constantly committed to realise the Christian development of the young people they are in charge of.

 The International Union and the associations belonging to it live their faithfulness to this choice through all their means and with all their structures, constantly checking their way of being and behaving in their own Church communities. 

1.3.       Basic texts

U.I.G.S.E.-F.S.E. founds its action especially on the principles contained in the following basic texts:

  • the Scout Law and the Guide Law ;
  • the Scout Promise and the Guide Promise ;
  • the three Principles of European Scouting ;
  • the Charter of natural and Christian principles of European Scouting ; • the Religious Directory of the Federation of European Scouting ;
  • the Federal Statutes.

These various texts have to be found in the Federal Statutes or as attachments to the Internal Rules, the French version being the authentic text.

Each national association belonging to U.I.G.S.E.-F.S.E. adhere to these basic texts.

Apart from the basic texts, a Ceremonial of U.I.G.S.E.-F.S.E., attached to the Internal rules, gathers the words, gestures and behaviours chosen to express the important moments of scout life in the great brotherhood of the International Union.

1.4.       Typical characteristics of UIGSE-FSE

1.4.1. European and international dimension

Europe is a community of destiny, a community of values, a community of life.

“The history of the formation of the European nations goes with the progression of their evangelisation;  it is so true that the European borders correspond to the borders of the penetration of the Gospel. After twenty centuries of history (…), it is still necessary to affirm that the European identity is incomprehensible without Christendom and it is precisely in it that we find the common roots that made the civilisation of the old continent ripen, as well as its culture, its dynamism, its spirit of initiative, its capacity to express itself constructively on the other continents too, in a word, all that constitutes its glory” (John-Paul II, Santiago de Compostela, November 9th 1982).

U.I.G.S.E.-F.S.E. wants to educate young people to a European vision, favouring their knowledge of the peoples and the cultures that compose Europe. All this with the conviction that the future of Europe relies on the deep and responsible unity of all its citizens, a Europe based on the conscience of a common religious, Christian, moral, cultural and social conscience.

U.I.G.S.E.-F.S.E. associates to this open-mindedness and to this European education an openmindedness and an international education towards all men and all peoples of the world.

U.I.G.S.E.-F.S.E. also gathers young people of national associations which are not European. Through this open-mindedness and the expression of an inter-relationship between peoples and cultures, it encourages a similar vision of educational vocation on common bases.

1.4.2. Catholic dimension and open-mindedness to the other Churches and Christian

Communities

The International Union wants to « work, in the strength of the Holy Spirit, to the visible unity of the Church of Jesus Christ in the unique faith ». This work begins by “going towards the others (…), by renewing the hearts and the availability to penance and conversion. It is important to recognise the spiritual gifts of the various Christian traditions, to learn from each other and thus to receive gifts from each other” (Ecumenical Charter KEK – CCEE – April 22nd 2001[2]).

The International Union gathers scout associations confessing the catholic faith. It also welcomes associated associations belonging to one of the orthodox Churches or to one of the Church Communities born of the Reformation. The Federal Statutes and the Religious Directory settle the conditions for this welcome.

The « Union Internationale des Guides et Scouts d’Europe – Fédération du Scoutisme Européen » is canonically acknowledged by the Holy See.

This acknowledgement represents a very important commitment for the International Union to go on unceasingly deserving this trust, to ensure its active presence in the life of the Church, to maintain at a high quality level the scout and guide method practised by the associations belonging to the International Union.

1.4.3. Lay dimension

At all levels, chiefs and commissioners are lay people committed in an individual apostolate in the various conditions of their life and in a communitarian apostolate developing its action in the respective Churches or Church Communities.

Religious Advisers are priests, for Catholic and Orthodox members, or pastors for Evangelic members, who collaborate with chiefs to help them, to serve and realise the Christian education of the young people.

At all levels, chiefs have the duty to facilitate the ministry of the Religious Advisers towards the young people they are in charge of, according to the indications of the Religious Directory.

1.4.4. Guides and Scouts in two separate and complementary Sections  

U.I.G.S.E.-F.S.E. wants “to take into consideration in the education the difference of sexes and the particular vocation attributed to man and to woman by God’s Providence, in the family and in society” (Council Decree on Christian education, § 8).

 The International Union considers male scouting and female guiding as two experiences and different applications of the same educational scout method. For education reasons and respectful of each one’s vocation, national associations of European Guides and Scouts form a unique movement in its spirit and its management and welcome boys and girls in different Units, with separate activities for each sex, rejecting any promiscuity and also avoiding artificial separations.

The mutual parallel and enrichment of both Sections, male and female, enable the full development of the aptitudes and propensities given to each sex by God’s providential plan, as well as their natural complementarity.

1.4.5. Civic dimension

The International Union proclaims its absolute independence towards parties and political organisations; this enables it to affirm with all the more strength the general necessity of a civic education for young people, that scouting has to practise according to Baden Powell’s principles and more specifically, as far as it is concerned, of a European and international education that it intends to promote according to its particular aims.

1.4.6. Means of education complementary to the family

Scouting wants to be, beside school, a means of education complementary to the family, which is first responsible for the child.

Chiefs are lay people to whom the youngsters’ parents have delegated part of their authority. This is why it is indispensable for each Unit leader and Group leader to be in very narrow contact with the parents who always remain the first educators of their children.

1.4.7. The principle of subsidiarity

The structure of the International Union and of the associations belonging to it is based on the principle of subsidiarity. The application of this principle, that must rule the internal relationships in any society and any association that calls itself Christian, gives the possibility to warrant the freedom and the dignity of each one in a hierarchic system, avoiding any abusive centralism, any temptation of irresponsibility and any risk of conflict between people.

This principle is at the basis of relationships between the International Union and its associations and, for each association, between its various hierarchic levels.

It may be summarised as follows:

  • any hierarchic structure is justified only if it contributes to reach the first aim of the Movement, which is the education of young boys and girls entrusted to it ;
  • each superior level must serve the lower levels and in no case may replace them it their task;
  • in the associations, if there is nobody responsible for a task, the chief who is immediately above this task in the hierarchy has to fulfil it, ipso facto. The International Union is responsible for the good accomplishment of the foreseen conditions in the associations. If necessary, it has to intervene towards the leaders of the associations ;
  • nevertheless the superior authority remains responsible at its level: it constitutes a level of request for subordinates in case of necessity. It keeps its right and duty of control, the subordinate level having the duty to report.

2. SCOUTING AND GUIDING OF UIGSE-FSE

2.1.       General principles

European Scouting is a method of Christian and civic education for young people, complementary to the family. It is a complete method, in the sense that it wants to educate the whole man, body, spirit and soul, and that it gives an essential importance, not only to the personal education, but also to the education of the social man and of the future citizen. In a word, it is active because it incites the youngster to collaborate actively to his own education.

Starting from a proposal of scouting with a multi-confessional vocation, the founders of Christian scouting, and most particularly Father Jacques Sevin, understood all the interest that could be drawn from this method to evangelise youth. B.P. himself considered this transposition as a valuable interpretation of his proposals.

2.2.       The aims of European scouting

Scouting and guiding rely on the application of five aims:

  1. physical and moral health, without which any construction is impossible ;
  2. the sense of concrete things : the youngster must face reality and not only with theories but with concrete actions that he will do himself ;
  3. the education of character : in front of the actions that commit his whole personality, the youngster will build his character ;
  4. the sense of service : the first three aims must be “balanced” because they could generate pride if they were used alone. In order to avoid this, the youngster will be encouraged to observe his environment and, thanks to this observation, to discover how he may help his neighbour ;
  5. the sense of God : from the observation of nature to the service to one’s neighbour, the youngster is encouraged to place all this under the light of the Gospel.

The first four points aim at building a physically solid man, with quite a strong character, devoted to serve his brothers and technically able. The supreme aim of scout education is the fifth point: to meet Christ personally and, through Him, to reach the Father. 

2.3.        The Promise, the Law, the Principles, the Motto 

2.3.1. The promise

The Promise is the most important moment of the youngster’s scout life. It summarises in a few words the main lines of life of the scout ideal: on one’s honour, with God’s grace, to serve God, the Church, one’s country and Europe, to help one’s neighbour in any circumstance and to observe the scout law. After a probation period, the youngster commits himself by the Promise, which is a personal and free act.

2.3.2. The Law

The Scout Law (and the Guide Law) is positive. There is no interdiction but only proposals that help the boy (the girl) to structure his life. The Law is the central pillar of the method because it defines the Scout (the Guide). The Law is composed of two big parts: the first one, going from the 1st to the 6th article, defines the scout spirit. The second one, with four articles, indicates the scout style.

“ Of course the Law and the Promise of the Wolf Cub ( and of the Brownie) are simpler than those of the Scout (and of the Guide): it would not be very honest to ask the younger to make promises that they could not understand and to undertake tasks that they could not fulfil” (Baden Powell, The Wolf Cubs’ book).

 “The Rovers’ (and Rangers’) Law is the same as the Scouts’ (and Guides’) one in the contents and in the spirit, but it has to be seen with a different viewpoint, a man’s viewpoint. In both cases, the basic principle of the Scout Law rejects any selfishness and introduces good will and help towards one’s neighbour” (Baden Powell, Rovering to Success).

2.3.3. The Principles

The Principles give a growing definition of the youngster’s environments, first his family, with an incitation to his duty, then Europe with a care of brotherhood; then Christendom as crucible of Jesus Christ’s reign.

Thus, by applying all that has been mentioned, the Scout (the Guide) will be ready to answer to the solicitations of services and deepening of his faith.

2.3.4. The Motto

The Guides and Scouts’ motto is « Semper Parati » (« Be prepared »).

« The scout motto means that your spirit and your body must always be ready to make your duty:

  • ready for what concerns your spirit : because you will have given yourself the discipline that enables you to obey any order and also because you will have imagined in advance all accidents and situations that may happen ; thus you will know what to do at the right moment and you will be ready to do it.
  • ready for what concerns your body, because you will have become strong, active, able to do the right action at the right moment and that you will do it ».

 (Baden Powell, Scouting for Boys, 4th Bivouac).

To the meaning of the motto given by Baden Powell, European Scouting adds the deep meaning of the Gospel : “… and you, be prepared too, for you do not know the time when the Son of Man will come »[3].

The Wolf Cubs’ and Brownies’ motto is the one indicated by Baden Powell, which corresponds to the psychology of their age: “Do our best”. For Ladybirds, the motto is “Here I am”.

The Rovers’ and Rangers’ motto, also indicated by Baden Powell, is “To serve”. This motto is a prolongation of the one of the preceding Branches, and all the education and all activities find their sense and their converging point in this aim.

2.4.       Both Sections and Branches

As the article 1.4.4. explains, in order to respect the vocation and psychology of each sex, each association is composed of two Sections : a Scout (male) section, and a Guide (female) section. Each one includes three Branches:

  • for the male Section : Wolf Cubs, Scouts, Rovers.
  • for the female Section : Wolf Cub guides (or Ladybirds or Brownies), Guides, Rangers.

This articulation, imagined by Baden Powell, corresponds to three natural steps of the evolution of the boy and the girl, as well physiologically as psychologically. From one Branch to another, there is a continuity of scouting in its principles, its methods and its aims, each Branch being only an adaptation of the scout method to the concerned step: childhood, adolescence, start of man and woman’s life.

2.4.1. Wolf Cubs and Brownies

The Wolf Cub Branch is the younger branch of scouting, preparing to the other two. It is also “a complete system in itself” (Vera Barclay), perfectly adapted to childhood. The basis of the game relies on the Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling, it is the happy family around Akela, Baloo and Bagheera.

« The education of the Wolf Cub is different from the education of Scouts, but it represents a first step towards it. A boy’s character cannot be finished at the age of 12, and the instructors for Wolf Cubs have to realise that if the work of the Pack does not lead to the work of the Troop, they have failed in their task, to a certain extent” (Baden Powell, The Book of the Wolf Cub).

The Wolf Cub method starts from a direct knowledge of the child, considers life with the child’s eyes, and – in the picturesque environment of the Jungle Book – offers him a coherent set of games and activities in which he can develop himself and improve within a “Happy Family”. 

With the approval of the Federal Bureau, an association may adopt for girls a different theme and a different environment: Ladybirds or Brownies. Other themes or other environments are not admitted.

Wolf Cubs (boys) and Wolf Cub guides, or Ladybirds, or Brownies (girls) are organised in Packs (boys) and Clearings (girls) of 24 children at most, aged 8 to 11/12. Each one does his best to become a good Scout (Guide) and a good Rover (Ranger) later on.

2.4.2. Scouts and Guides

The essential aim of the Scout Branch, as well as the one of the Guide Branch, is the education of the teenager, taken at the end of childhood and led to the entrance into his adult life.

 The Scout Branch and the Guide Branch are at reach of the boy, they look for what interests him, uses the mighty motives that are, at this age, the need of self affirmation, the taste for adventure, the instinctive will to gather in order to play and act, the desire to live one’s adult life in advance. They offer to the boy and to the girl a society at their dimension, accessible aims, an appropriate method and activities according to his tastes.

Scouts and guides are organised in Patrols, of 5 to 8 members, aged 11/12 to 16/17. Each Patrol has a Leader named by the Court of Honour and two to four patrols make a Troop (boys) or a Company (girls) led by a Troop Leader or a Company Leader.

Each scout and each guide, in the Patrol, has a responsibility for which he acquires a special training; he also takes part, within the Council of Patrol, to the good running of the Troop.

Each Patrol Leader, responsible for his Patrol, is also member of the Council of Chiefs and of the Court of Honour, and thus he takes part in the government of the Troop.

Each scout, each guide, is invited to progress thanks to various tests that develop the various points of the scout method. This progression starts with a preparation of the Promise, then a level of Second Class, then a level of First Class meaning that the youngster is an example of practice of the Scout Law. This progression is completed by the proposal of technical badges which are to be obtained. The tests for the classes are more focused on the acquisition of the scout spirit whereas the badges are technical realisations.

2.4.3. Rovers and Rangers

Third and last step of the scout education, the « Rover » and « Fire » Branches are its coronation. Strongly inserted in the present, but always directed towards the future, they open in front of the young people a road widely open on their adult life.

Thanks to the « Rover » and « Fire » Branches, scouting and guiding (that would be truncated without them) take their full human dimension and reach their aim: to educate useful citizens and irradiating Christians. 

Taking young boys and young girls who are still teenagers, the « Rover » and « Fire » Branches want to help them become adults able to “paddle their canoe themselves” (Baden Powell), conscious of their duties, devoted to serve.

 Coming for the Troop or from the Company, or coming from outside, at 16/17 years old, Rovers or Rangers live in a Clan (for boys) or a Fire (for girls).

The period of the « Road » (or the « Fire ») is characterised on the one hand by the very deep feeling of becoming a « man » (or a « woman ») able to act alone, even to oppose oneself to those who would pretend to restrain one’s desires, and on the other hand by a certain worry in front of the unknown that still represents the society of grown-ups for most of them.

 Adapting to the adult age the five aims of scouting, the « Road » Branch (or the  « Fire » Branch) offers to young people structures, methods and activities leading them to become conscious of their responsibilities of man (or woman) and to assume them in a spirit of service, as well as to transpose Promise, Law and Principles into a life rule.

2.4.4. The Rover Departure and the Ranger Commitment 

The scout method is a coherent whole. Its objective is to enable a youngster to reach the threshold of his adult life with the elements useful to the development of an adult life.

The scout method moulds a boy or a girl, all along his way through the various steps of scout life, in order to make of him a complete man (or woman), rooted in Christian faith which impregnates his whole life ; inserted into the Church life ; conscious of his missionary role in society ; morally solid ; balanced and coherent ; who does not follow mass suggestions or ready made ideas ; curious to know and to progress ; with a clear definition of the fundamental problems of life and of man ; liking simple life ; worried of his health and physical balance ; able to work manually with the care of details ; having an optimistic vision on life, based on the virtue of hope ; respectful of his role in society ; animated by a will to serve, acquiring the capacities to do so with a care of details and well done work. A loyal man or woman, for whom a coherent life is resolute.

Just before reaching adult age, an important moment is offered to everyone. It is the Rover Departure or the Ranger Commitment.

During all his life in the Clan, the boy takes a commitment of service and goes on with his own education, with the help of a godfather who is a Rover Scout himself, aiming at taking his Rover Departure which constitutes the final point of the pedagogical programme of the Scout Section. This ceremony relies on a fully significant text which expresses the contents of the preparation time and the commitments for life. The expression of everyone’s personality appears through the eve before the ceremony.

Similarly, the girl commits herself to serve and goes on with her preparation, through successive steps within the Fire. She chooses her godmother, who has committed herself already, aiming at committing herself as a Ranger.

2.5.       Chiefs and chieftains

The chief/tain is an adult who has freely chosen to serve voluntarily in the scout movement.

The chief/tain:

  • is a good Christian who is a concrete witness of his faith in his daily life and in the practice of liturgical and sacramental life,
  • is a scout/guide who conforms his whole life to the Law, to the Promise, to the Principles and who, if possible, has already taken his Rover Departure (Ranger Commitment) or who prepares it,
  • who is committed in his professional life (studies or work) with appreciable results,
  • who has capacities for education and for leading boys/girls,
  • who is trusted by the parents of his boys/girls and by his association,
  • who has a good general knowledge of scouting and, more particularly, of the Branch in which he serves,
  • who has attended an appropriate training for his service (training camps, etc.).

2.6.       Holy Patron Saints

The Patron Saint of the scout movement is saint George: « Saint George’s feast is on April 23rd and this day all scouts throughout the world renew their Promise and remember the Scout Law » (Baden Powell, Scouting for Boys, 20th bivouac).

Saint Francis of Assisi is the Patron Saint of Wolf Cubs, Brownies, Ladybirds.

Saint Paul is the Patron Saint of Rovers (for some associations, associated with saint James).

The Scout and Guide Branches are consecrated to Our Lady of the Annunciation.

Among all saints, the International Union evokes more specifically the Patrons Saints of Europe: saint Benedict, saints Cyril and Method, saint Theresa-Benedict of the Cross, saint Brigit of Sweden and saint Catherine of Sienna.

Other particular Patron Saints may be chosen by the associations, by groups and units, as well as by patrols.

2.7.       Particular applications

2.7.1. Sea Scouts and other specialities

Sea activities bring a supplementary interest to the boys, undoubtedly. In countries that have many coasts, it is possible to found Sea Scouts. Sea Scouts apply the method entirely, as it is foreseen for scouts, but they adapt their techniques to the context: they offer sea or nautical activities.

In an advisable context, it is possible to found mountain scouts, river scouts, lake scouts. 

All these specialities require on the one hand caring for all security aspects, on the other hand having chiefs who are particularly aware of the scout method in order to avoid the risk of transforming scouting into a sailing club or a sport club.

2.7.2. Extension scouting (or « in spite of all » scouting)

Handicapped boys and girls who wish to practise scouting are, in principle, integrated to the Units with other non handicapped boys or girls. A national association may also found specific Units for handicapped people.

3. PROMISE, LAW, PRINCIPES

(Extract from item 1.3 of the Federal Statutes)

The Promise, the Law, the Principles are at the basis of scouting. All associations of the U.I.G.S.E.F.S.E. adopt the following texts, each one in its language(s) – the French texts being the official ones.

PROMISE Scout Promise

On my honour, and with the grace of God, I promise: 

  • to do my best to serve God, the Church, my country and Europe,  – to help my neighbour at all times  – and to observe the scout law.

Guide Promise

On my honour, and with the grace of God, I promise: 

  • to do my best to serve God, the Church, my country and Europe,  – to help my neighbour at all times  – and to observe the guide law.

Law Scout Law

  1. A scout’s honour is to be trusted.
  2. A scout is loyal to his country, his parents, his leaders and those who depend on him.
  3. A scout is made to serve and save his neighbour.
  4. A scout is a friend to all and a brother to every other scout.
  5. A scout is courteous and chivalrous.
  6. A scout sees in nature the work of God: he likes plants and animals.
  7. A scout obeys willingly and does not half do things.
  8. A scout controls himself: he smiles and sings even under difficulties.
  9. A scout is thrifty and takes care of his own possessions and those of others.
  10. A scout is pure in his thoughts, his words and his acts.

Guide Law

  1. A guide’s honour is to be trusted.
  2. A guide is loyal to her country, her parents, her leaders and to those who depend on her.
  3. A guide is made to serve and save her neighbour.
  4. A guide is good to all and a sister to every other guide.
  5. A guide is courteous and generous.
  6. A guide sees in nature the work of God: she likes plants and animals.
  7. A guide obeys willingly and does not half do things.
  8. A guide controls herself: she smiles and sings even under difficulties.
  9. A guide is thrifty and takes care of her own possessions and those of others.
  10. A guide is pure in her thoughts, her words and her acts.

Principles The scout’s Principles

A boy scout’s duties start at home.

Faithful to his country, a boy scout favours European unity and brotherhood.

As a son of Christendom, a scout is proud of his faith: he labours to establish the reign of Christ in all his life and in the world around him.

The guide’s Principles

A girl guide’s duties start at home.

Faithful to her country, a girl guide favours European unity and sisterhood.

As a daughter of Christendom, a girl guide is proud of her faith: she labours to establish the reign of Christ in all her life and in the world around her.


[1] Note : The masculine gender is used to facilitate the reading.

[2] Conférence des Églises d’Europe (KEK), Conseil des Conférences Épiscopales d’Europe (CCEE).

[3] « …et vos estote parati quia qua hora non putatis Filius Hominis veniet… » (Lk 12, 40)