Gather with friends in the wilderness, and discover the joy of community life: the scouts and guides movements brings a lot to your children, especially when it comes to learning autonomy. Let’s summarize how scout camps work.
Scouts, guides: who is who?
The French scout movement is spread and broken into numerous independent associations. They all share the same foundations (respect for the environment, problem-solving skills, autonomy, solidarity, sense of community, loyalty…). What makes them different is whether they have a religious approach… or not.
The French Scouting Federation, officially approved, is divided into 6 associations.
Scouts and Guides of France: with a catholic orientation, they’re the biggest association (with more than 70,000 members)
The Pathfinder Scouts of France: secular
The Unionist Pathfinder Scouts of France: protestant
The Israelite Pathfinder Scouts of France
The Muslim Scouts of France
The Pathfinder Scouts of Nature: created in 2007, last born movement affiliated to the Federation, it includes meditation and mindfulness to the traditional practice of scouting.
Other organizations are also certified by the Ministry of Youth and Sports: Guides and Scouts of Europe and Unitary Scouts of France (catholics), Neutral Pathfinder Scouts of France (non confessional) and the Pathfinder Scouts Federation (secular).
What values does scouting convey?
Scouting is not just about wearing a uniform! Most scouting movements welcome children from the age of 9, even 7 years old for certain organizations (Pathfinder Scouts of France and Guides of France). They must follow “scout laws” right away. They can be slightly different depending on the organization, but they follow the same philosophy: be respectful to the people around you, supportive, courageous, autonomous and respect all forms of nature. The “cub” scout must also respect his/her scoutmaster’s authority (an older scout in charge or watching over the scout unit).
Contrary to popular belief, scouting is not related to the military or paramilitary, even though its founder, Lord Robert Baden-Powell was a soldier. The use of a uniform is a way to dim social origins and make life easier for children in the wilderness. Hierarchy is not overwhelming and very similar to the notion of adult authority a child experiences in many other supervised activities…
What type of activities are offered?
There are two main types of activities:
Humanitarian actions: they are an essential part of scouting philosophy and convey values of selflessness and empathy. Younger scouts often organize lotteries, sales and fundraising events for other organizations, and take part in actions for their community (like visiting seniors nearby for instance). Older scouts are involved in larger scale actions, humanitarian missions and projects abroad.
Wilderness activities: they are the symbol of scouting! Scouting camps usually take place in the woods and help children learn about nature, wildlife, plants, as well as how to behave in a group, in an outdoors context. Setting camp, building wooden structures, making a fire, going on a chase or an orientation game are the most common activities and remain very popular and essential in conveying the “scouting spirit”!
Camps usually last a few days, and take place during the holidays or over the weekend in certain cases. They’re also a great way for younger kids to experience community life without their parents! If you, or your children, feel anxious, get a Weenect Kids GPS tracker: it can be very helpful for your kids to know that they can contact you if they feel homesick. The tracker will also help you relax and avoid worrying about your kid’s adventures in the woods… A great way to stay in touch!77,903 scouts and guides of France in 2016 Click To Tweet