Freemasonry and the Scout Movement
By George W. Kerr
It may be surprising to many members of the Craft that there is any relationship between Masonry and Scouting. The one being for men and the other for our youth. However, the large number of male Scout Leaders, many of whom hold a similar attitude to life as do the Masons and possessing the same basic aims, the similarity can easily be recognized.
If the Purpose/Aims and Principles of Scouting were to be translated into adult terms, it can clearly be seen that they are nearly identical with those of the Craft. Because of this, many people have suggested that the Founder of Scouting, Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell, was a Mason. It has been confirmed by his late wife, Lady Olave Baden-Powell, and also his daughter Betty, that he was not a member of the Craft.
His younger brother, Major David Baden-Powell, was a member of the Craft. Perhaps, this influenced his understanding of the aims of Masonry, as illustrated by his presentation of a Volume of the Sacred Law, personally inscribed and signed, to the Baden-Powell Lodge, No. 488, United Grand Lodge of Victoria, Australia. This was presented to note their Consecration in September 1930 by the then G. M., M .W. Bro. Lord Somers, who later succeeded Baden-Powell on his death in 1941, as the Chief Scout.
It is fascinating to analyze and compare the aims and ideals of the two "brotherhoods." The term "brother" is universal. Every boy who becomes a Scout is received into the "Worldwide Brotherhood of Scouting" upon accepting the Scout Promise. Thus the connection to man taking his Obligation being welcomed as a "Brother Mason." This also applies to the male adult Leaders who must also accept the Promise. A study of the wording reveals the conjoined significations:
- Promise a Duty to God
- Accept Loyalty to the Queen
- Help other people at all times
A Mason must
- Believe in a Supreme Being
- Obey the laws of God and Man
- Extend Charity and Brotherly Love
Countless Scout Leaders have proven to strengthen the quality of life in our jurisdiction and indeed around the World as Scouters and as Masons. The Kindred Lodges Association is the inclusive title used by a group of Lodges around the World whose membership is largely composed of present and former Scout Leaders and similar Youth organizations. The origin dates back to 1952 at a gathering of Scouter/Masons held at Scout House in London, England. They proposed that a meeting of Lodges with a similar dual membership would be of great interest to all. Since the regular biannual meetings have been held some at Freemason's Hall, Great Queen St., London and throughout the U.K. The "host" Lodge prepares a programme, which has included 17th Century Degree Teams, Prestonian Lectures, Masonic Choirs & Orchestral Concerts, etc. In all usually over two hundred attend, with most in uniform and Masonic clothing.
Quite a colorful gathering.
The Association comprises Lodges around the World including 28 in England; 1 in Scotland; 1 in Ireland; 2 in Wales; 10 in Australia; 1 in New Zealand; 1 in Germany; and Scouter/Masonic Clubs in New York and in Canada. There are also many individual Scouter/Masons not with a "Youth" Lodges who are affiliated members.It is interesting to note that two Lodges within The Grand Lodge of Canada in The Province of Ontario - Spry Lodge No. 385 in Beeton and Spry Lodge No. 406 in Fenelon Falls are named after M. W. Bro. Daniel Spry, Grand Master 1882/1883, whose Grandson Major General Daniel C. Spry became the Chief Executive of Scouts Canada in 1946 and Director General of the World Bureau of Scouting in 1953. He was also the youngest General of the Canadian Army in World War II.
Lodge Baden-Powell U.G.L. of N.S.W.
A special cloth emblem, in limited numbers, has been produce by Lodge Baden-Powell, to commemorate the meeting held on January 4, 1988 for the Freemasons who attended the 16th World Jamboree in Cataract Scout Park.
The emblem features the Square and Compasses, the Scout emblem and depicts the Main Gateway at the entrance to Cataract Scout Park. The Gateway, constructed by The United Grand Lodge of New South Wales, serves as a reminder the Freemasonry is interesting in assisting today's youth to grow to responsible manhood and citizenship.
Our future is our bond with our Youth.
This article was originally written by Bro. Kerr for the Ontario Mason, and is reprinted from "The Philalethes"with permission.