A young boy, who didn’t like school at the Charterhouse, sneaked out in the woods behind it to hunt rabbit. He rarely caught them, but this time he did. He started a small fire, cooked the rabbit, and ate it, always ready to put the fire out and hide to avoid being caught by his teachers. This adventure typified the early life of Lord Robert Baden-Powell of Gilwell. A boy who could be described as wayward and unruly was actually developing the basic skills that he would use for the rest of his life. Not only did these skills help him personally, but they formed the framework for a training and education program for young soldiers and, later, for boys of all ages. Despite having a difficult time in school, Robert Baden-Powell became an accomplished military leader and eventually founded the Boy Scouts, the largest youth organization in the world, which continues to grow worldwide.
The principles that Lord Baden-Powell would develop as the foundation of scouting were formed in his early life. Born in Paddington, London, on February 22, 1857, his full name was Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, although he was known as B-P. The third youngest of ten children, his father died when he was three, leaving the family little money and instilling responsibility in B-P at an early age. Homeschooled initially and later sent to respected public schools, B-P did not like book learning and spent as much time as possible outdoors. Holidays were shared with his brothers on adventures, like sailing around the coast of England or canoeing up the Thames. He considered fishing as one of the best rewards for hard work. When he wasn’t engaged in the outdoors, he enjoyed reading detective novels and National Geographic magazines, drawing and acting. Through this informal education he became self-reliant and resourceful.
Robert Baden-Powell’s early life learning outdoor skills and seeking adventure helped him when he joined the military. He started his military...
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