Focus 2009

Scout Argentina - ARS15-06-2009

Argentine Scouts

Project Argentine Scouts
Date: From 14 August 1915
Place: 5 provinces of Argentina
Province: ABA, ABB, ACO, ALP, ARO

Argentina's Don Bosco Scouts

The Salesian Scout Movement came about officially in Argentina on 14 August 1915, through the inspiration of Salesians Fr José Vespignani and Fr Lorenzo Massa. It came about as a proposal for using free time well and to form young people to service as human beings and young Catholics in Don Bosco's style. It was a combination of Cubs, Scouts and Rovers for all age groups.

In 1915: Preventive System plus the Baden-Powell Scouting Movement

Looking at the needs of young people in 1915, Fr Lorenzo Massa saw this as a practical solution for the problem. This young Salesian Rector at the St Francis of Sales Oratory in Almagro saw that young people needed another answer to their problems to take them off the streets, and along with Fr Joseph Vespignani, he founded the Don Bosco Scouts, one of the first and most significant Salesian experiences that combined two approaches especially designed for educating the young: the Salesian Preventive System developed by Don Bosco and the Scouting Movement of Robert Baden-Powell.

In the early years Fr Joseph Vespignani drew up the Honour Code for the Don Bosco Scouts. It was not long before the movement spread throughout the nation. Some members of the national Government sought to incorporate this into the main scouting movement. Fr Vespignani argued that it was really a separate movement springing from within the Salesian Festive Oratories. On 10 December 1917 the Minister for Education signed a decree declaring the Don Bosco Scouts of Argentina a spearate and independent movement from other like organisations.

The Scouts today: “Always ready” to be good Christians and honest citizens

Today the Scouts are the largest of the Salesian youth groups and are found in all five Argentine provinces. They came from a time of social and spiritual crisis, and also a secular and anticlerical period. Buenos Aires was no different. But the Salesians sought to save young people from this tendency of living without God.

The Movement's main pillars:

  1. Scouting community, the Scout group is a setting for formation and education.
  2. Groups or patrols: appropriate to the needs of each individual. It is about friendship and personal relationships.
  3. The movement proposes: education to faith for young people

Manual activities, arts, sport, competitions, music are all essential elements of this Scout movement. Special emphasis is given to service and holistic formation of the members.

The movement looks to offering an experience of Salesian Youth Spirituality through its scouting values, and is a part of the Salesian Youth Movement along with other groups, associations and movements from the Salesian world.