Rover Scout

Rover Scout

Rover Scouting is a service division of Scouting for young men, and in some countries, women. A group of Rovers, analogous to a Boy Scout troop, is called a 'Crew.'

The section was started in 1918, following the successful growth of the Scout Movement, and was intended to provide a Scouting programme for young men who had grown up beyond the age range of the core Scout section. It was quickly adopted by the national Scouting organisations around the world.

Since Rover Scouting began, it has undergone many changes. Some national Scouting organisations no longer include a Rovering programme, but have replaced it with other programmes. In many of these countries, there are alternative Scouting organisations who maintain the original programme. Despite the differences in programmes, all organisations continue to provide a programme for young men, and sometimes women, into their early 20s.


Rovering provides enjoyable activities that combine personal development with meaningful service. A Rover Crew governs itself, but often has an older adult as a 'Crew Advisor' or 'Rover Scout Leader.' The founder of Rovering, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, called it a “brotherhood of open air and service.”

The objectives of Rovering are to:
* Provide service to the Scout Movement
* Provide service to the community
* Develop as individuals by expanding one's range of skills
* Enjoy fellowship, social, outdoor, and cultural activities

Rovering provides an experience that leads to a life enriched in the following ways:
* Character and Intelligence
* Handicraft and Skill
* Health and Strength
* Service for Others
* Citizenship

Each of these elements, from character through service, finds expression in the crew's activities.

From the organisation's inception in 1918, Baden-Powell intended Rovering to have no upper age limit; however, after his death in 1941, the typical age shifted to 18 - 25. Traditional Scouting Organisations such as World Federation of Independent Scouts (WFIS), Baden-Powell Scouts (BPSA), Rover Explorer Scouts Association (RESA), Pathfinder Scouts Association (PSA), the Rover Scouts Association (RSA), and the United States Rovers continue to honour the founder's intent by having no upper age limit.

:"Rover Scouting is a preparation for life, and also a pursuit for life.":: - Baden-Powell, 1928.

Rovers in Australia

In Australia, the Rovers includes young men and women between 17 years to 25 years of age. Though it may be a small section of Scouts Australia it provides a great source of leader support and other service for the association. The section resisted attempts to abolish it, advocated in the "Design for Tomorrow" Committee's report in 1970 (unlike its British counterpart which disbanded Rover Scouts after the "Advance Party Report" in the mid sixties), but did modernise during the subsequent decade. It admitted women in 1974.

The next great step, self-government, came about in the late 1970s with the Georges River Experiment (named after a Scouting district in New South Wales). Rovers proved that they could govern themselves, as their leaders stepped back to become Rover Advisers. Rovers took up the challenge and the section has grown for the better. It is also around this time that the section came to be known as 'Rovers' (dropping the word 'Scouts').

Australian Rovers provide active service to the all sections. Service in the community is also valued, with many Branch Rover Councils (the governing bodies for Rovers in each State and Territory) making annual awards to Crews who provide exemplary service to the community and/or Scouting.

Another notable feature of the Australian Rover section is the existence of "Lone" Rover Crews in several states, drawing their membership from across the rural parts of the country, or from Rovers who (because of shiftwork or other reasons) cannot be members of regular Rover Crews. Meetings are held by correspondence, with opportunities to get together at an annual Crew camp and major state or national Rover activities.

National Rover Moots are held every 3 years in Australia.

In 2008, the Rover section marks its 90th birthday, along with the 100th anniversary of Scouting in Australia.

Rovers in Canada

Rovers (men and women ages 18-26) is part of the Scouts Canada program. The Rover program is the final stage in Canadian Scouting after the Venturer (ages 14-17) program. Rovers, like all of Scouts Canada programs, are open to both males and females.

Rover Knights are the Baden-Powell Scouts equivalent and is open to all adults (18+). It is the final stage after Senior Explorers (ages 14-17), and is open to both males and females as well. Informally, the term Knights is usually dropped and the section is referred to simply as Rovers.

The outdoors is an essential part of both Rover programs. Rovers often participate in adventurous activities like mountain climbing, white water rafting, or para-sailing. Rovers also help their local communities by running service activities such as food drives, park clean-ups, and tree plantings. Rovers meet in a group called a crew. Rovers develop and manage their own program under the mentorship of a respected advisor. Rovers adhere to the promise that is used in the Scout section onwards, and the motto "Service".

Rovers in the Philippines

Rovering started in the Philippines when the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) separated from the Boy Scouts of America on October 31,1936. However, following the Chief Scout's Advance Party Report in 1966, the section was discontinued in the Philippines, and was replaced by a different programme.

The Advance Party Report caused some disquiet amongst some leaders who believed that Scouting was progressing away from its traditional roots, and the Philippines was no different from other organizations affected by the programme changes in the late 1960s. As with countries like the United Kingdom, this led to the creation of independent Scouting organizations which continues the traditional Rover Scout programme.

In 1990, the BSP resumed a Rovering programme for men and women of 16 to 24 years in age, although there are considerable differences to the original programme. There is also a "Rover Peers" section for those over the age of 25.

On December 12, 2004, a number of Rover Scouts and Leaders grouped together and formed the Philippine Liahona Rover Crew as an affiliate of the Rover Scout Association. The crew became affiliated with the Baden-Powell Movement of Australia (BPSA-Australia) on August 14, 2005 and started to promote traditional Scouting programme to the younger sections.

In 2006, another independent group of Rover Scouts became part of the Rover Explorer Scouts Association, which is headquartered in the United Kingdom (The International HQ). This group was started as a single Rover crew on April 21, 2006 when their Rovermate and founder of the group was invested as a Rover Scouts, On the same year, the group gained a recognition as a Recognised COUNCIL or BRANCH Office of the Association in the Philippines. The Rover Explorer Scouts Association-Philippine Council was formed and recognised on August 2006. The Region has also adopted a local group from the United Kingdom, the Pathfinder Scouts Association(PSA). The Methodology, Practices, Programmes and beliefs of the Associations are based on the 1907 Original Scouting Programme and the Pre-Advance Party Report 1966.

Both Associations were founded by the Filipinos who are living in the Philippines through the help and assistance of Americans, Australians and British Scouts and Scouters who believe in Traditional Scouting and the Pre-1967 scouting programme as laid down by B-P on his Rovering to Success and Scouting for Boys.

Rovers in the United Kingdom

Rover Scouts is no longer an active part of The Scout Association, having been replaced in the late 1960s by the Venture Scout programme, which in turn has been replaced by Explorer Scouts and Scout Network. There are other Scouting organizations (mainly the Baden-Powell Scouts Association, European Scout Federation and Rover Explorer Scout Association) which are not affiliated to the World Organization of the Scout Movement.

Rovering began in 1918 in the UK, ten years after the start of the Scouting program. After an initially rough start, due in large part to the effects of the First World War, the Rover Scout program began to grow.

By 1931, Rovering had established itself internationally to the extent that it saw the organization of the first World Rover Moot in 1931 at Kandersteg, Switzerland.

Initially, there was no upper age limit. In 1956 it was fixed at 24. [ [ Scouting Milestones, Rover Scouts] ]

Original programme and badges

In the 1920s, the progress badges of Rover Scouts (then known as "special proficiency badges") were not too different from the Scout section - Rover Scouts wore a First Class badge and the King's Scout badge that had a red brim, together with their proficiency badges. In addition, they were qualified to achieve and wear the Rambler's Badge (metal version) on the left epaluette and the Rover Instructor badge.

In the 1930s, the number of badges were greatly reduced - no more First Class badge, King's Scout badge or proficiency badges. A Rover was only entitled to wear only two badges - the Rambler and the Rover Instructor. After World War II, even the Rover Instructor was not issued for a brief period. The situation improved after 1948 when the "Plan for Rover Scouts" introduced the "Progress Badge", initially a lanyard worn on the right shirt pocket, but later changed to a cloth emblem to be worn on the right epaluette.

In a bid to rescue the flagging Rovering section, the Scout Association introduced a new organisation and training scheme in 1956, where new badges were launched to attract new members. Queen's Scouts were entitled to wear a miniature replica on their left sleeves (or the Airman's badge/Seaman's badge or Bushman's Thong under the right epaulette, but not together with the Queen's Scout badge replica) before they qualified for the highest award in the Rover section - the Baden-Powell Award (a special epaulette worn on the left shoulder).

Present day

All of the badges are now historic in The Scout Association, with the exception of the Queen's Scout Award, following their discontinuation of the Rover Scout programme.

The Baden-Powell Award still forms the award scheme for several of the traditional scouting associations that retained Rover Scouting, such as the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association. To qualify for the Baden-Powell Award, a Rover must gain the Rambler (cloth version), Project (renamed from Progress badge), Scoutcraft Star and Service Training Star. Rovers are also entitled to wear Interpreter emblems of the specialised language. [ [ Rover Crew homepage, showing training scheme] ]

Rovers in the United States

Early days

In the United States, glimmerings of Rovering emerged as local councils, Scout leaders, and Scouts worked together to deal with the "older boy" problem--that is, to find some way for Scouting to continue into young adulthood. As early as 1928 there were known to be Crews in Seattle, Detroit, Toledo and elsewhere. The program particularly flourished in New England around 1929, through the efforts of Robert Hale, who produced an early Rover Scout booklet. By 1932, there were 36 official experimental Crews, with 27 of them in 15 New England councils. Finally, in May of 1933 the National Executive Board approved the program, and starting plans for development of literature and helps to leaders (Brown, 2002). A bimonthly newsletter, the "Rover Record", was inaugurated in 1935 as a means of communicating directly with Rover Scouts and Leaders. A number of regional Rover Moots also were implemented during this period.

To further support the start of Rovering in the Boy Scouts of America, the first Wood Badge course held in the United States was a Rover Scout Wood Badge course, directed by English Scouter John Skinner Wilson.

Rovering, as it was conceived, was to serve as the oldest section in the program -- the final stage of Scout training that started with Cub Scouts, continued with Boy Scouts and was brought to fruition through Rovering.

Later development

The program was never very widespread in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The national office didn't promote it much, preferring to push other senior programs like Sea Scouts and Explorer Scouts. Literature of the time, if it mentioned Rovers at all, gave them only a few paragraphs or a page or two. As the First World War had slowed the start of Rovering in the UK, the Second caused the same difficulties for Rovering in the USA, as many young men of Rovering age fought for their country overseas. The economic upheavals of the Great Depression also hampered the development of Rovering.

By the time of the 1949 reconceptualisation of senior Scouting, the BSA only recognized 1,329 Rover Scouts. In 1952, the BSA decided to stop chartering new Crews. In 1953, only 691 Scouts were officially recognised as Rovers; after that year, they were counted together with Explorers. In 1965, when several other changes occurred in the Senior programs, National stopped renewing the registrations of Rover Crews. Those Crews that continued to exist were apparently re-registered as Exploring Posts (later Venturing Crews), but continued to use the Rover program.

Among the most widely known of these Crews was the influential B-P Rover Crew of Glasgow, KY, which delivered the Rover Scout program from the 1950s until 2000. The B-P Crew was instrumental in starting other Crews such as the Kudu Crew of Bardstown, KY and the Diamond Willow Rover Crew of Melrose Park (Chicago area), IL. The B-P Crew also hosted the internationally well-regarded Rover Wee Moot from 1953 until 1999. The Diamond Willow Rover Crew of Chicagoland hosted three Rendezvous Moots, the first at Herrick Lake, Illinois, and the latter two at Camp To Pe Ne Be near Michigan City, Indiana. The Rendezvous Moots were well attended by Rovers, Venturers and Explorers from Illinois, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ontario and Quebec.

Recent development

There are today Venturing Crews of the BSA following the Rover scheme and taking an interest in high adventure outdoor activities and international Scouting. To a great extent, these Crews follow B-P's idea of preparation for life and the pursuit of life. Typically, these Crews are made up of members who came up through the boy and girl Scouting programs and want to continue to serve the Scouting movement and the community while broadening and retaining the fellowship of Scouting and continuing self-development.

Another group maintaining a Rovering legacy in the USA is the United States Rovers. Not associated with the BSA, GSUSA, WOSM or WAGGGS, this group is dedicated to perpetuating the history and traditions of Rover Scouting.

Rovering in other countries

Rovering spread to many other countries following its inception in Britain in 1918, although it no longer exists in Britain. Today, the Rover section remains an important part of Scouting in many European countries, in most member countries of the Commonwealth of Nations (eg. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Singapore and Hong Kong), across Central and South America, the Middle East and in many other countries such as Ireland, Japan, Republic of China/Taiwan ,Thailand and Korea. New Zealand Rovers, in particular, hold a National Moot every year over the Easter holiday weekend where international participants are always openly welcomed.

Rover Scouting continued among the troops during the Second World War, even in Prisoner of War (POW) camps. Some artifacts of the Rover Crew at Changi (Singapore), including the Crew flag, have been preserved; they are now held by the Scout Heritage Centre (Scouts Australia, Scouting in Victoria).

International gatherings

While the Scout section has the World Scout Jamboree, Rovers have World Rover Moots. The first occurred in Kandersteg, Switzerland in 1931.

* 1st World Rover Moot 1931: Kandersteg, Switzerland
* 2nd World Rover Moot 1935: Ingaro, Sweden
* 3rd World Rover Moot 1939: Monzie, Scotland
* 4th World Rover Moot 1949: Skjak, Norway
* 5th World Rover Moot 1953: Kandersteg, Switzerland
* 6th World Rover Moot 1957: Sutton Coldfield, UK
* 7th World Rover Moot December 1961-January 1962 Melbourne, Australia

From the 8th World Moot, held in 1990 in Melbourne, Australia, the event was renamed World Scout Moot because the term Rover is not used in many countries.

* 8th World Scout Moot December 1990-January 1991: Melbourne, Australia
* 9th World Scout Moot July 1992: Kandersteg, Switzerland
* 10th World Scout Moot July 1996: Ransåter, Sweden
* 11th World Scout Moot July 2000: Mexico City, Mexico
* 12th World Scout Moot July-August 2004: Hualien, Taiwan
* 13th World Scout Moot July 2010: Nairobi, Kenya
* 14th World Scout Moot August 2013: Quebec/Ontario, Canada (proposed)

International Scout events in Europe aimed at the older age section usually keep the "Rover" name. There was a European Rover Moot in 1965 at Tived in Sweden. There is currently a series of events called RoverWay. This first occurred in 2003 in Portugal, followed by 2006 in Italy, the next is scheduled for 2009 in Iceland.


See also

* World Scout Moot
* Boy Scouts of America
* Wood Badge
* Venture Scout
* Scouting Ireland Venture Scouts
* Explorer Belt

External links

* [ New Zealand Rovers]
* [ History of Rovers in UK]
* [ Scouting Milestones] describes Rover Crews in POW camps during World War II

* [ Rovers Australia]
* [ AussieMoot]
* [ NSW Rovers]

* [ Scouts Canada]
* [ Toronto Police Rovers]
* [ Opemikon Rover Crew]
* [ Rovers British Columbia]

* [ 1st Hamrun Rover Crew]
* [ A worlwide project by the above Rover crew.]

* [ Clan de Rovers 88] One of the largest Rover Crews in Mexico.

* [ Roverscouts Scouting Nederland]

New Zealand
* [ New Zealand Rovers]

* [ Rovers BSP]

United States:
* [ History of Senior Scout Program of the BSA]

Scouting Sections
organization = Scouting
sectionA = Beaver Scouts
sectionB = Cub Scouts
sectionC = Boy Scouts
sectionD = Rover Scouts

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