Beaver Scouts are young boys and girls usually aged between six and eight years old.
They belong to the first and youngest Section in the Scouting family.
Cub Scouts are young boys and girls aged between 8 and 10 1/2, who make up the second section of the Scouting family, between Beavers and Scouts.
The History Of Scouting
Robert Baden-Powell returned to England a national hero, after defending the town of Mafeking for seven months from the besieging Boer troops, the first real triumph in the Boer War. When he returned, he discovered that many boys and young men were avidly reading his book Aids to Scouting. This book was intended as a military training manual, teaching soldiers techniques such as observation, tracking, initiative...
He met with various people in youth movements across the country, and was persuaded to write a new version aimed at teenage boys, Scouting for Boys was published in 1908 (after a camp on Brownsea Island, where B-P. tried out his ideas on four patrols of boys from London and Bournemouth). Scouting for Boys was initially printed in six fortnightly parts, and sold very quickly.
Baden-Powell had originally intended the scheme outlined in Scouting for Boys to supplement the programmes of youth organisations like the Boys Brigade and the Boy's Clubs. But boys not in other youth movements bought the book, and set themselves up as Patrols of Scouts, and found themselves leaders to train them. It was soon realised that some form of organisation was required to support these Scouts.
At the out-set the one thing Scouting could not be called was an Organisation, as it was far from organised. Baden-Powell was still an active soldier in Northumberland, which kept him far from the hub of Scouting in London. The initial rush for membership was handled by C. Arthur Pearson & Co., the publisher of Scouting for Boys and the newly published Scout magazine.
It was soon seen that a break from the publisher was needed to get the Movement the status it deserved. The Movement slowly evolved, being very democratic at the grass-roots level, with the Scout Leaders having a fairly free reign with what they did, as long as it was within the ideals of Scouting.
The next year the Scout Association opened its first offices in London, finally breaking away from the publishers. In 1910 Baden-Powell retired from the Army to devote his time to the Scouting Movement. This year also saw the first census of Scouts in the UK, indicating over a hundred thousand Scouts in the UK. So, in less than three years, Scouting had a firm footing.
Originally Scouting was a movement for boys between the ages of 11 and 18, and as early as 1909 Scoutmasters were facing the problem of younger brothers wanting to join in the fun. Some just turned a blind eye to the age of some of the boys, others formed Patrols and Troops of Junior or Cadet Scouts. The problem wasn't just confined to younger brothers, but also to sisters as well. In 1909 at the Crystal Palace Rally, he came across a Patrol, who claimed to be Girl Scouts.
Baden-Powell was all in favour of allowing girls to become Scouts (in separate troops), but had to change his mind due to the pressures of Edwardian society. It was not considered right that young ladies should be out-and-about, camping, hiking, etc. He addressed this problem by setting up the sister movement the Girl Guides in 1910, with the help of his sister and his wife.
To address the problem of what to do with the younger brothers, Scouting first turned a blind eye to the unofficial Troops that were forming. In 1916 he came up with a new Scheme, under the title Wolf Cubs based around the Jungle Books of his close friend Rudyard Kipling, with the Cubs having their own distinct uniform, badges, motto, sign, salute, etc.
Wolf Cubs dealt with those too young to be Scouts, what was to be done with those too old to be Scouts, in 1917 he set up a scheme for Senior Scouts, which changed its name to Rover Scouts the next year, for anyone over the age of 18, with Outdoor Adventure and Service as the mainstays of its programme.
In 1964, the Boy Scout Association commissioned a working party to look into how Scouting in the UK should progress. The General Report of 1966 made radical reforms to the Boy Scout Association which were carried out in 1967.
Firstly the Association's name changed to just the Scout Association, the Cub section dropped the Wolf to become Cub Scouts; the Scout section also dropped the Boy, and the upper age limit was altered to 16; Senior Scouts and Rover Scouts were disbanded, to be replaced by Venture Scouts for the 16 to 20 year olds.
In the early 1980's Scout Groups were allowed to take in boys in the 6-8 age range to Beavers although at this point the Beavers were not part of the Scout Association, only their Leaders were allowed in. This changed on April 1st, 1986 when all Beavers became Beaver Scouts overnight.
Two controversial changes were also made. The first in the late 80's saw the Uniform review, which saw the sad death knells for the Cub cap and Scout beret. It also gave Packs and Troops the option to decide on a uniform nether garment (remembering the image of the movement). The second (very controversial) saw Groups given the option of whether to allow girls in Scouting in all sections.