Scouting in Croatia
Savez Izvidaca Hrvatske
Association of Scouts of Croatia

Flag of Croatia Emblem of
Savez Izvadica Hrvatske
Scout Association of Croatia

Founding Member of the World Organization from 1922 to 1948
(as part of Yugoslavia).
Scouting disbanded in 1948.
Member of the World Organization since 1995.

fact-croatia.gif (50374 bytes)

Arms of Croatia

A Short History of the Scouts of Croatia (from the SIH Website):

In the long gone 1881, professor Mate Mudrinic founded the first Scholar Excursion Society in Vinkovci. It was modelled after similar ones in other countries of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which dealt with pre-military instruction for school children as e.g.. the Woodcraft society. Scholar Excursion Societies spread all over Croatia. Children went to excursions and camping and gained the same knowledge and skills we still do today.

When the Croatian scout movement was at its starting-point, Croatia was part of the Dual Monarchy, so that the first scout units were founded right before World War I (1914), and only in some parts somewhat earlier. The first scout group in the Monarchy, MCA – 1912 HAS (Magyar cerkeszszovetseg), was founded in Budapest in 1910 and from there the movement started spreading over to Croatia. In 1911 first units were founded in Istria, which was under Italy then; 1912 in Ogulin and other tourist resorts in Gorski Kotar region, like Lepenica, Đavolji vir, Plitvice, Sušak etc. Gorski Kotar was then the most popular tourist destination. First scout units appeared in other major cities, some of which are presently in different countries, as early as 1914. During World War I, scouts mostly organized places of refuge and fire-fighting units, served as scouts etc. At the time, military service lasted 4 years and one was obliged to join in at the age of 16. The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy ceased to exist after the war and Croatia hurried into forming the kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Immediately after the war, in 1919, Croatian scout groups were re-established in Slavonski Brod, Vinkovci, Osijek, Ogulin, Virovitica, and shortly after that in other cities, too. A large number of scout groups present in Slovenia contributed to the establishment of the Scout Parish for Croatia and Slovenia, which was founded in Osijek in 1922. At the time Osijek had more inhabitants than Zagreb. Several scouts from the kingdom of Yugoslavia took part at the inaugural meetings of the World Scout Movement in Paris, 1922 and WAGGGS in 1928.

According to a register appeared in 1923 in Scout, then journal of the Scout Parish for Croatia and Slovenia, there were 14 scout groups in Croatia then. Those founded previously in Ogulin, Osijek, Zagreb, Sušak and Bjelovar and those newly founded in Petrinja, Nova Gradiška, Koprivnica, Bakar, Ruma, Daruvar, Krapina, Krk. The terms then used were vod (patrol), jato (pack), četa (troop), stjeg (group), and for members: skaut, planinka (girl scout), brđanin (rover), brđanka (female rover), poletarac (cub scout), vođa (leader), četovođa (troop leader), skaut master (Scoutmaster).

In 1923, the King himself became patron of Yugoslav scouts. But, shortly after that, in 1929, all associations not bearing Yugoslav in their names were banned. Nevertheless, Croatian scouts continued existing until the end of World War II, bearing Croatian in their name, with a chess-field as their emblem and declaring clearly against the Monarchy. Croatian scouts were expelled from WOSM in 1938. In territories freed by partisans, Young Pioneers appeared in World War II, leading to the ban of Croatian scouting in 1946. As early as 1950, members of the pioneer organization, pioneer-scouts, were selected to be trained to lead camps and excursions. The first training was organized from May 19-25, 1950. This date, May 19th, is celebrated as Scouts Day in Croatia. These trainings were organized by regions. The most detailed documentation is left of Bjelovar region training, held from June 13-19, 1950 in Pandurski Jarak near Koprivnica, with 26 leaders present.

The Zagreb training was held in Brežice near Krka in 1950. Berislav Orlović, Ljerka Paver-Kovačević, Kamilo Ferenčak, Mladen Bjažić and Danko Oblak were some of the leaders present. It is interesting to know that the trainees studied from the Russian manual Vožatago, which was in fact a modified scout’s manual. Scout units were founded across the country in autumn 1950, based on these trainings. First scout groups founded were: pioneer-scout troop Mladi Partizan (Young Partisan) and scout troop Ivo Lola Ribar in Split; pioneer scout troop Bijela Strijela (White Arrow) and the troop at a male grammar-school in Zagreb. Antun Mladen Štern founded the Munja (Lightning) patrol in Osijek’s Hall of Culture in 1953 which grew into Ivo Lola Ribar scout group on November 27, 1953.

In 1951, in all then Yugoslav republics, republic scout associations were founded. The first one was Zveza Tabornikov Slovenije (ZTS) in Slovenia, and the second one Savez Izviđača Hrvatske (SIH) in Croatia.

The Scout Association of Yugoslavia was founded on November 24, 1951 at a meeting held in Zagreb. The scout movement grew stronger and stronger all the time until the aggression against Croatia in 1991. Scouts organized themselves once more to help defending their country. They were engaged in army education, civil service, evacuation, and in defending their country in battle. Many scouts gave their lives for their homeland.

Former SIH direction was changed on June 2, 1991. New plans and programmes and the new Statute were made, all contacts with the Scout Association of Yugoslavia were broken off.

On July 19, 1993 the Scout Association of Croatia became part of WOSM again as one of the first Croatian associations granted membership in an international organization.

Courtesy of the Scout Association of Croatia (SIH) and Aleksandar Lukic.

Badge of the Croatian Contingent
18th World Jamboree
Netherlands, 1995

Links to Scouting in Croatia

Home Page of Savez Izvidaca Hrvatske, the Scout Association of Croatia.
Scout Association of Split: Split is the economic and administrative center of Middle Dalmatia, with about 200,000 inhabitants. It is also the jumping-off point for exploration of the coast and islands of the Adriatic Sea. The site was first settled when, at the end of the third century AD, the Roman Emperor Diocletian built his palace here. The importance of Diocletian’s Palace far transcends local significance because of its level of preservation and the buildings of succeeding historical periods built within its walls, which today form the very heart of old Split. The Scout Association of Split consists of several different Scout Groups. It includes: Scout group "Split," Scout group "Meje," Scout group "Marjan," Scout group "Klis," Scout maritime group "Spinut," Scout maritime group "Jadran," and Scout maritime group "Brodosplit."
Scout Center Fuzine is the camp and lodge for the Scout Association of Split. It was one of the sites for Sunrise City in 1995.
Maritime Scout Group "Jadran"in Split has a very creative home page with some interesting graphics.
Lepoglava Scout Group.includes the following units: Druzina "Hijavata," Druzina "Javor," Druzina "Cumulus," KMB "Zlatorog," Druzina "Rangers" in Lepoglava, Croatia.
Scout Group "N. B. Debo" in Zagreb is the coordinator of "Sunrise City." Their page was created by one of their patrols, the "Funny Tangerines" for the "Jamboree on the Internet (JOTI)."
Sunrise Cityis a project of the Scout Group "N.B.Bebo" in Zagreb, Croatia. It began in 1993, with 159 children, victims of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 131 members of the Croatian Scout Association, together with 60 volunteer adult leaders from Croatia and abroad. Sunrise City is a series of special Scout camps for children aged from 11 to 15 who are victims of the war. The goal is to rehabilitate these traumatized children using the Scout methodology! The project is part of the "ReadyNet" of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM).

A Chronicle of Scouting in Eastern Europe

With the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe and Russia, Scouting has returned to many lands where it had previously taken root. These pages chronicle the return of former members and the addition of new members to the World Organization of the Scout Movement. They also report the growth of Scouting in the other nations of Eastern Europe.

Scouting organizations around the world are assisting in the growth of Scouting in both Eastern Europe and Russia. They have been identified by country where information is available.

Currently, the "Chronicle" reports on the progress of Scouting in 19 countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The Chronicle Home Page provides links to each.

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Please write to: Lewis P. Orans

Copyright © Lewis P. Orans, 1996
Last Modified: 7:39 PM on 12-9-96