Registered NGO Ref: VO/0652 & Approved Provider of Informal Learning Ref: SLC11352 


Traditional Scouting


Promise and Law


Training (of children) and badges

Disability and learning difficulties


Traditional Scouting

  1. I don't understand - isn't all just Scouts?

    Yes and no, there are two major Scouting organisations, the World Federation of Independent Scouts (WFIS) and the World Organisation of Scouting Movements (WOSM).  Baden-Powell Scouts Malta (BPSM) belong to WFIS.  Our focus is on Scouting done in the traditional way as laid down by our founder Robert Baden-Powell back in 1907.

  2. What's the difference?

    WOSM have chosen to update and modernise the training programme in an effort to 'keep up with the times'.  We at Baden-Powell Scouts Malta (BPSM) feel that this has been to the detriment of what Scouting originally was, tradition has been eroded and standards seem to have been dropped in a bid to make modern Scouting 'cool'.

    BPSM follow the original Scouting method which has stood the test of time for over 100 years.  We have modernised where necessary but we follow the original programme of Scouting skills delivered by a method of formal training and putting into practice through the use of games.

    We maintain that what are perceived as 'old fashioned attitudes' of smartness, having standards and healthy competition are as relevant now as they always have been.

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  1. Are you official?

    Yes of course, WFIS is an official organisation, BPSM is registered with WFIS giving us offical status.

    Scout groups not registered with WFIS or WOSM in Malta are not official.

  2. But why two organisations?

    Ok, fair question.

    We have to look back to the 1960's in Britain where the Scout Association of the time was concerned with losing membership.  A report was commissioned called 'The Advanced Party Report', recommendations were made to modernise the uniform and the Scout training programme.  This was not recieved well by everyone and an alternative report was commissioned called the 'Black Report'.  A group of Scouters wanted to continue with traditional Scouting and this was refused.

    This led to a break away group who formed the Baden Powell Scout Association (BPSA), over time this traditional Scouting organisation spread throughout Britain and eventually through Europe and the rest of the world.  It is growing all the time.

  3. Does this make you better than the other Scouts?

    Not better, just different, we have seen no need to modernise to the same extent believing that the traditional methods have stood the test of time and are as relevant today as they were all those years ago.

    Certain aspects have been removed from the original programme such as references to colonialisation (remember Baden-Powell was a soldier who was alive at the time of the British Empire), the uniform has changed slightly (we no longer have to wear shorts but in the Maltese summer it may be a good idea!).

    Other aspects of the programme have been adapted for instance to accomodate the latest updates in first aid, there are even badges for IT and computer studies!

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  1. Are you a religious organisation?

    Not as such, our founder Baden-Powell suggested that it was good for people to have a belief in God and indeed it is incorporated into our promise when we promise to do our duty to God.

    We do not teach religion neither do we force it on anyone although we do take part in church related activities such as church parades and in April every year we celebrate St George's Day.

    St George was chosen as Scouting's Patron Saint because of his example of courage and service in the face of difficulty.

  2. But I am Atheist?

    Although we are not a religious organisation per se, as stated above, our founder B.-P. made it clear that faith was an important part of Scouting and it is incoporated into our promise "On my honour, I pormise that I will do my best to do my duty to God and to my Country..."  B.-P. at the time (early 20th Century) had in mind Christianity, remember he was a product of his time, but of course Traditional Scouting welcomes those from all faiths.

    The 21st Century has particular challenges is respect of faith and more people are openly sceptical in light of bad publicity surrounding religion and faith, we are aware that more people are declaring themselves Atheist (sometimes in quite a scornful way).

    We are also aware that other Scouting and Guiding organisations have removed the requirement for duty to God and have made it an option but we are a traditional Scouting organisation and have thus retained it.

    If a person is not prepared to do their duty to God and has no faith then this is incompatible with our organisation and such a person will not be allowed to make the promise or wear the uniform.

    These leaves two options:

    1.  An adult who is Atheist may help with this organisation as a lay member without taking the promise or wearing the uniform, this can still be fulfilling.  Such a person must be respectful of unifomed members and their faith as we will be to a person who is atheist.

    2.  An adult or child can approach another Scouting organisation who may be able to accomodate.

    Being mindful in that there are those who may be offended by this we can only apologise them but hope that they understand.

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Promise and Law

  1. Do I have to take the promise?

    Yes, this is what sets Scouting apart from other youth organisations.

    The promise and law are a set of guidelines for life, even when a person leaves Scouting.

    Refusal to take the promise and accept the Scout law means you cannot be a Scout.

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  1. How do I know my child will be safe?

    All adult leaders are subject to police checks and rigorous training in child safety matters.

    All adult leaders are health and safety aware and activities are planned in advance so as to minimise safety risks.

    All adult leaders are first aid trained either by St John's Ambulance Malta or the Malta Red Cross.

    Adventurous activities are delivered by qualified people.  If an adult leader does not have the relevant qualification then we will go outside the organisation to find someone who is.

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Training (of children) and badges

  1. What does this involve?

    BPSM offers an informal training system through the Scout method.

    Scouts are famous for their badges which can be categorised as follows:

    Progressive:  There is a progressive training scheme which begins aged 5 and runs through the different Scout Sections (Beavers, Wolf Cubs, Scouts, Senior Scouts and finally Rover Scouts (maximum age 25 years).  Training is delivered, skills are practiced and tested in the relevant environments.

    Proficiency:  Scouts come to us with a variety of interests and skills which provided they fulfill certain requirements may entitle them to a proficiency badge to wear (e.g. Musicianship, cycling, metalwork, the list is endless).

    Occasional:  Badges are from time to time issued to mark certain events and can be worn temporarily on the uniform.

  2. Do I have to start aged 5?

    No as long as you are aged between 5 and 25 then you will start in the relevant section.

    Beaver Scouts:  5yrs to 7.5 yrs

    Wolf Cubs: 7.5 yrs to 10.5 yrs

    Scouts: 10.5 yrs to 15 yrs

    Senior Scouts: 15 yrs to 18 yrs

    Rover Scouts: 18 yrs to 25 yrs

  3. Can girls join?

    Yes!  We are no longer the 'Boy Scouts'.  Girls as well as boys are welcome to join.

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  1. How much will this cost and are there any hidden costs?

    Unfortunately it's not free of charge and there will be costs involved as follows:

    Subs: varies from group to group

    Uniform: discuss cost with section leader

    Camp fees: these vary according to length of the camp

    Badges: between 1.50 suro to 2.50 euro per badge

    Occasional activites

    We try to keep costs as low as possible.  In cases of genuine financial difficulty please speak to the leader in confidence.

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Adult involvement

  1. How do I as an adult become involved?

    Firstly contact us through this web page.  Further information can be found in the 'Volunteer and Support" section.  We will arrange to speak with you, find out how much time you have to give and we will try and place you with a suitable group.  this will be on the basis of need.

    You will need to undergo police checks and a certain amount of training.  No prior knowledge is needed and a lot you will pick up "on the job".

    Please be aware that it is a commitment but a very fulfilling one!

  2. I have a criminal record can I still help?

    This is a tricky question and can really only be done on a case by case basis.

    People make mistakes in their lives (to err is human), a lot will depend on the nature of the crime(s), how long ago, how frequent and so on.

    As a general rule anything that is sexual in nature or shows a history of violence will bar you from appointment.

    The key is to be honest with yourself and us.

  3. Do I get paid? Do I get expenses?

    No to both we are sorry to say.  Our founder made it a strict requirement that work withing the organisation should be voluntary and unpaid.

    As we are a purely voluntary organisation, fuel expenses can be reimbursed if finances allow but this is a decision made by a leader of an event at the time.

    Expenses for materials for activities can be reimbursed if finances allow.

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Uniform and standards

  1. Tell me more?

    Whether we like it or not people judge each other on appearance, this judgment is often made within seconds of meeting for the first time.

    In BPSM we take pride in our uniform and appearance, we make sure that our uniform is worn correctly, badges in the correct position, headgear worn properly, shirts tucked in, trousers ironed and shoes are clean.  Uniforms are insepcted.

    We practice a little drill (don't panic we don't treat you like soliders).

  2. Aren't you just nitpicking?

    Well no,

    Attention to detail such as shirts tucked in, badges correctly sown on, clean shoes etc. encourages a person to take pride in their appearance, looking after the little things becomes automatic with time meaning that you can concentrate on the bigger things.

  3. Why drill? Scouts aren't soldiers.

    You are quite correct Scouts aren't soldiers!

    However our roots are in the military, Baden-Powell was a soldier and his book 'Scouting for Boys' has a section on drill.

    There is not a huge emphasis on this particular subject but teaching young people a little drill encourages good posture, pride in one's self and pride in one's team.  It encourages alertness and obedience, delivered properly with humour can make it a pleasurable experience.  It is often surprising to see a shy retiring young person come out of themselves when taught this subject, even more so when we get them to come out and shout a few orders!

    Scouts come into the public eye often during church parades and St George's Day parade in particular, there is nothing worse than seeing Scouts shuffling along looking like they are off to a football match (not that there is anything wrong with football of course!) so we like them to look smart.

    It is not an examinable component in the training programme like it is in the cadet forces.


  4. My child is badly behaved at home and school, will you straighten them out?


    This may sound harsh but we are not here to provide that type of service which is a parental responsibility.

    Scouting is a voluntary organisation both for young persons and adults, certain behavioural issues need specialist help which we are not qualified to give.

    Constant disruptive behaviour will result in your child being sent home, if it continues or gets worse then your child may be asked to leave Scouts.

    Scouting works best when all involved want to be there, are happy to be there and are happy to accept the rules.  Scouting is often referred to as 'the game' and indeed it is, all games have rules and we are no different.

    A young person who does have issues can often turn themselves around but they must be receptive to the idea.  We try to work on the basis of mutual respect, another skill which transfers very well into adult life.

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Disability and learning difficulties

  1. My child is disabled/has learning difficulties can they join?

    Of course, but this will need to be discussed (in confidence) with the leader first, the nature of the disability/learning difficulty may prove restricitve but discussion can help us to adapt our programme to accomodate while still making it challenging.

    Scouts with disabilities and learning difficulties have made a great success of Scouting over the years, in the UK a young man with Downs Syndrome achieved their Queen's Scout Award a few years ago just as an example.

    One of our leaders who is from the UK had a boy in his Cub pack who had cerebal palsy, this boy did very well and interacted very well with the other Cubs.  That boy is now a young man and is at university training to be a junior school teacher!

    All things are possible..

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  1. Saluting the flag - isn't that outdated and jingoistic?

    The Scout promise puts a Scout on their honour to do their duty to their country.

    Duty to your country covers a wide range of things from soldiers who lay down their lives in battle to simply leading a good lifestyle and contributing to society through work and voluntary work.

    We are 'peace Scouts' first and foremost but stand ready to do our duty.  Saluting the flag and the beginning and end of Scout meetings reminds us of this obligation.

    Jingoism is a very extreme form of patriotism an example of which in history gave rise to Nazi Germany in the 20th Century (this is just one example), Scouting around the world is firmly against this.

    Young people are our future and helping them to become good citizens of Malta and the world is our aim.

  2. My child/I are not Maltese, why do we have to salute the Maltese flag?

    We assume that you are living in Malta of your own free will.  The Maltese people are warm welcoming people and are fiercely proud of their country.  While you are living in here then Malta is your country too so it is good to be respectful but this should not be at the expense of your own culture or identity which of course we will always respect.  We will share our culture with you and we hope that you will do the same in return.

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  1. My child is being bullied at Scouts, what can be done?

    We have a zero tolerance to bullying within our organisation, we will attempt to resolve the problem by a meeting between both parties.  The bully concerned will be monitored, if there is no change in behaviour then the bully will be required to leave.

    If the bullying is severe and leads to assault or criminal behaviour of any type the bully will be removed from Scouting and the appropriate authorities will be notified.

    For bullying issues outside Scouting (such as school) then please notify the relevant authorities, we can only deal with issues within our organisation.

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