To millions of Scouts around the World, the late Lord Robert Baden-Powell is the revered founder of Scouting. To one World Scout Jamboree participant, however, BP is a beloved grandfather who founded the movement to which his family remains devoted.
The Honorable Michael Baden-Powell is the son of the oldest son of BP. Mr. Baden-Powell and Joan, his wife of 53 years, are not here as visiting celebrities. They are sharing a tent in Echo with the Australian contingent.
Scouting for Peace
What would the founder have thought of the 24th World Scout Jamboree? “I think that he would be very impressed with the current-day jamboree in that it gathers many people from many countries with different values,” Mr. Baden-Powell said.
That may be even more relevant today, a time in which conflicts rage around the world. “He saw the world movement as an answer to world peace,” Mr. Baden-Powell says of his grandfather. The founder of Scouting served as a British Army officer who fought in India and Africa. “He thought that it was all rather pointless. Over time, the idea of seeking peace through young people came together in his mind. He was a great believer that the spirit of the Scouting movement gave you that opportunity.”
“My grandfather created what is arguably the greatest peace movement in the world. Scouting is not beholden to any one religion. However, it has a belief in a higher being. There is no political view — no liberal, no conservative — each person is responsible for their own political beliefs. And even where society is very political, Scouting can be very strong,” he says. Mr. Baden-Powell observes that another value of Scouting is that it typically responds well to needs of society, citing the recent inclusion of girls in all programs of the Boy Scouts of America.
Mr. Baden-Powell was born in Sinoia in modern-day Zimbabwe in 1940. He became a Wolf scout in Africa. In 1947 he moved with his parents to the United Kingdom where he continued in Scouting. Trained as an accountant, he was working for an aircraft manufacturer in the U.K. when a friend in his rowing club convinced him to move to Australia to further his business career. In 1965 he moved to Australia. A year later he married his wife, Joan, with whom he today has three children. When Mr. Baden-Powell retired, he had spent years helping build one of the largest insurance and pension providers in the country.
All of the Baden-Powell family has remained very active in Scouting and Michael is no exception. Although he has traveled many miles and attended countless conferences and events, he still is a registered volunteer. Mr. Baden-Powell is State Commissioner for Special Duties in the Victorian Branch of Scouts Australia. The opportunity to serve others is a role that he loves, he says. “I’ve traveled the length and breadth of Australia,” he says with a smile.
For IST and adult leaders, the Hon. Michael Baden-Powell will be presenting a session on Scouting for which he pulled photos and information from family scrapbooks combined with recent videos that he shot and his personal experiences. The sessions will be presented at the Cinema at Base Camp Echo on:
- Friday 26 July 2019, 10:00
- Monday, 29 July 2019, 10:00