Scouting in the Czech Republic
Junák – Svaz Skautu a Skautek
Junák – Association of Scouts and Guides of the Czech Republic
On July 20, 1996, The European Scout Office announced:
World Organization welcomes the Czech Republic
Junák – Svaz Skautu a Skautek (Junák – Association of Scouts and Guides of the Czech Republic) has been welcomed as the 141st member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement on 30 June 1996. The association has a total membership of some 70,000 (approximately 60% male) operating in a country with a population of around 10.3 million people. Junák is a "Scout and Guide National Organization" in accordance with the Statement on Relationships between WAGGGS and WOSM.
Scouting in the Czech Republic has a long and distinguished history. The Czechs were third, after the United Kingdom and Chile, to adopt Scouting. In 1910, inspired by the writings of Robert Baden-Powell, Prof. Antonin B Svojsik wrote the first handbook for Scouts already operating in the Czech lands. He followed this with an experimental camp in 1911, only four years after Baden-Powell’s own experimental camp on Brownsea Island. The following year, Svojsik organised a camp, lasting five weeks, during which the first steps were taken towards the establishment of the Scout Movement in the Czech lands, named Junák-Czesky Skaut. In the quickly developing world of Scouting, Junák-Czesky Skaut provided a model to be followed by many other developing national associations, at the time.
Czechoslovakia was established in the years following the end of the First World War and the different associations within its newly defined borders came together in one united national association. In 1922, therefore, the Czechoslovakian Scout and Guide Federation featured amongst the founding members of the World Organization. The political changes that were to characterise much of Czechoslovakia’s relatively brief existence (1918 – 1992) were reflected in the changing fortunes of Junák. On three occasions, the association was dissolved by force: first by the Nazis in 1940; it was re-registered in Prague in 1945 following the country’s liberation, with 120,000 members registered in 1946 (making it the second largest association in the World Movements at that time), but it was taken over by the Communist regime in 1948. Junák reappeared as an independent organization in 1968, following the historic ‘Prague Spring’, surviving until it was banned by order of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, in October 1970. Despite these frequent set-backs, and despite the punishments endured by those who suffered for their undiminished loyalty to the Movement, Scouting remained a constant source of hope and inspiration, commanding a special place in the hearts of the Czech nation. Members of the association are remembered and honoured for their loyal services to their homeland during the war and during the brief period of freedom which had immediately followed peace. Following the dramatic events of late 1989, when the communist regimes of many central and eastern European countries crumbled, Scouting rapidly re-emerged. On 1 February 1990, the Federation of Czech and Slovak Scouting was officially registered, paving the way for its re-admittance to the World Organization during the World Scout Conference in Paris, July 1990.
Czechoslovakia was finally dissolved at midnight on 31 December 1992, and was replaced by two independent republics, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In Scouting terms, the immediate effect was that Czech Junák (as it was then called) and Slovensky Skauting were required to apply for membership of the World Organization as the national member organizations of the newly founded Czech Republic and Republic of Slovakia respectively. Since then, the re-named Junák – Association of Scouts and Guides has been undertaking a wide-ranging review of its internal and constitutional bodies and of its Cub and Scout Promises and Laws. Members of the World Scout Bureau and its European Office have been in regular contact with Junák, offering advice and support whenever necessary.
From Eurofax 46, July, 1996. Eurofax is the monthly newsletter of the European Region. It is produced by the European Scout Office and is distributed by fax to all member associations in the European Scout Region and the Europe Region WAGGGS, and others.
LINKS TO SCOUTING IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
|Official Home Page of Junák, The Association of Scouts and Guides of the Czech Republic|
|Jiri Danda’s Introduction to JUNÁK, the Association of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides in the Czech Republic. Originally appearing in rec.scouting, this page describes the background of Junák and presents the Scout Oath and the Scout Law as used in the Czech Republic.|
|Scouting in the Czech Republic. A thoughtful and interesting description of Scouting today in the Czech Republic. The site is enhanced by photographs and a delightful narrative. Home page of the 53rd Plzen Scout Group.|
Jiri Danda, a student at the Prague Technical College, provided the following detailed chronology of the history of Czech Scouting. He points out that some troops continued their Scouting (half-hidden) throughout both the Nazi occupation and the Communist regime.
|1911||Foundation of the Czech Scout Movement|
|1912||First Scout organization established. Scouts were part of a Czech physical-education organization|
|1918||Czechoslovakia established October 18, 1918, at the end of the First World War and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.|
|1918||The first independent Scout organization is established|
|1922||Czechoslovakia a founding member of the World Organization (WOSM)|
|1939||Nazis occupy Czechoslovakia. Scouting is banned|
|1945||Scouting is reborn at the end of World War Two|
|1948||Communist coup in Czechoslovakia|
|1949||Scouting banned by the Communist government|
|1968||Scouting is briefly reborn during the Prague Spring, a short time of democracy in Czechoslovakia. WOSM membership was not reestablished. Forbidden by the Communist regime.|
|1968||Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in August|
|1970||Scouting banned again|
|1989||Scouting reborn after the fall of Communist regime|
|Czechoslovakia a full member of WOSM|
|1993||Czechoslovakia divided. Czech and Slovak Republics founded. Czech Scouting becomes an associate member of WOSM|
|1996||Czech Scouting returns to membership in the World Organization of the Scout Movement.|
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: 10:45 PM on 11-28-96