Scouting in Poland
Zwiazek Harcerstwa Polskiego (ZHP)
The Polish Scout Association
Member of the World Organization. Founder, 1919-1946. Member since 1995.
The European Scout Office Reports on Poland’s Return to the World Organization of the Scout Movement
Zwiazek Harcerstwa Polskiego (ZHP – The Polish Scout Association) is a Scout and Guide organization with a total membership of almost 450,000 (210,000 males, 240,000 females) operating in a country with a population of 38 million people. There are 600 districts and 25 regions in the association. ZHP, after a transformation in the early nineties, has regained the respect of Polish society. It has established relationships with State and local authorities while safeguarding its independence. ZHP has a strong tradition of forest camping, and traditional Scout activities are combined with modern ideas to reach the educational objectives of the association. ZHP has very well developed special skill activities, such as Sea Scouting, parachuting, ballooning, scuba diving. Last year the association started a programme entitled "My Homelands" which offers a framework for the activities of every unit. The first part of this programme concluded at the World Camp of Polish Scouting and Guiding in August 1995 which gathered six thousand Scouts and Guides including 400 from abroad. The part of the programme which is being implemented now is a project called "Water is Life", focusing on developing better understanding and protection of the natural environment. ZHP is a "Scout and Guide National Organization" in accordance with the Statement on Relationships between WAGGGS and WOSM.
Reprinted from Eurofax 41, February 1996. Eurofax is the monthly newsletter of the European Region of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). 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.
A Short History of Polish Scouting
Even before Poland was reestablished as a independent nation at the end of the First World War, Polish Scouting had its beginnings. In 1910, Andrzej Malkowski translated Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys and the first Scout units were formed. Polish Scouts and Guides participated actively in the struggle for Polish freedom. Poland became a free and independent nation in 1919. A single Scout represented his country and carried the red and white Polish Flag at the 1st World Jamboree in London, England. In 1920, Poland became a founding member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement.
World War II began in September,1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and Russia. Polish Scouting went underground and many Scouts served in the ranks of the Home Army and the Polish Underground. The Polish government was established "in exile" in London and Poles took their place with the Allies. Poles in exile from their homeland formed Scout units wherever they settled. There were units in many lands and even in German concentration camps and Soviet labor camps.
With the end of the war, a Communist government took power in Poland and many Poles chose to remain abroad. They brought with them and continued their Scouting tradition. With the takeover of Scouting in Poland by the Communists in 1946, the World Organization ceased to recognize the Polish Scouting Association. Polish Scouting continued in exile and in spite of the Communists, continued underground in Poland throughout the Communist period. With the end of Communist rule, Polish Scouting emerged as a free organization. In 1995, Polish Scouting was again recognized member of the World Organization of the Scouting Movement.
A Note on ZHP (Zwiazek Harcerstwa Polskiego), the Polish Scouting Association
From the ZHPWEB, published by Zwiazek Harcerstwa Polskiego (ZHP), the Polish Scouting Association Abroad.
Scouting in Poland as related by a Polish Scout now a college student in the city of Poznan:
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.
Copyright © Lewis P. Orans,