The Scouts Movement in Israel is part of the World Organization of the Scouts Movement and operates within the framework of the Israel Boy and Girl Scouts Federation. The Scouts Movement was established in 1919 and was the first youth movement in Israel and remains its largest and most influential one. It operates through non-formal educational regions (Scout Chapters), educating fourth through twelfth graders, both secular and religious, with social and Zionist values. Currently, the Movement consists of approximately 230 Scout Chapters or Troops throughout the nation, from Kiryat Shmona in the north down to Eilat in the south.
The Movement’s main goal is educating youth to become ethical and responsible adults. Its mission is to prepare young people for all of life’s challenges, while contributing to and taking initiatives within the communities in which they live and act.
The ideal of an adult figure for a Scout is defined as a good and constructive citizen. This ideal stands as the basis of the Scouts’ education, representing the embodiment of the Scouts’ vision, practicing the Scouts’ values and acting in the spirit of the Scouts’ promise. Love of the country and of the people is deeply rooted in this Scout’s heart, who works to strengthen the ties between Jewish heritage and life in the State of Israel. The adult Scout is sensitive to social problems, acts to change and improve society, and protects human dignity and freedom as well as the right of every individual and group to maintain their way of life according to their faith. In addition, the adult Scout figure is expected to act with tolerance and acceptance of others, forming common grounds and providing mutual support among the many varied and equal communities in Israeli society.
As a result of this philosophy, the Scouts Movement constitutes a safe space, in which every Scout is encouraged and able to develop his or her personal capabilities to the fullest and use them to act for the common good.
growth of the movement in the last decade
of Scout alumnae join the IDF, many for combat and education positions
of the movement activities are taking place in the social and geographical periphery in Israel
The Movement’s varied activities have always offered social and educational solutions that help meet national challenges arising from unique social and historical circumstances. Just as in the past, when Scout members volunteered in different movements to help populate the country and accept immigrants from abroad, today, the Movement focuses on establishing community groups, strengthening the periphery, integrating special populations — such as youth with special needs (Tzamid Scouting), youth at risk and new immigrants from the diaspora, — as well as strengthening the Jewish-Israeli connection in Israel and abroad (Global Tzofim Tzabar).
The Scouts Movement is a governmental, non-partisan movement. Its values are universal human values that reflect the values of the State of Israel. The Movement’s educational efforts foster social involvement, Jewish-Israeli identity, democracy, helping others, friendship and collaboration, equality and love and protection of nature, all in the spirit of the Scout’s ten fundamental values.
The non-partisan nature of the Scout Movement is truly unique. The Movement maintains its independence by not receiving support from any partisan entity. Its financing is based on government support in accordance with the Youth Movements Regulation and the Pre-Army Service Year Regulation, as well as parental payments for participation in Scout activities. As a result, Scout members represent the entire range of the political spectrum, all the them holding a wide range of opinions and still working together.
The tools and values the Movement provides to its members has produced generations of graduates who have held key positions in all fields of endeavor, taking on leadership roles out of a deeply instilled sense of mission.
The Scouts Movement has won numerous awards for its contribution to the advancement of the Israeli society, including the Israel Prize (2007), a Certificate of Excellence on behalf of the Ministry of Interior Defense for its activities at the Ofek Prison working with imprisoned youth (2019), as well as from the Ministry of Justice Commission’s Implementation Department Award for the activities of the integrated communes (2019).
The Scout’s Ten Values
Scouts tell the truth
Scouts are loyal to their people, their country and their language
Scouts are useful members of society, embrace work and help others
Scouts are friends of all people and partners for all Scouts
Scouts are courteous
Scouts love and protect nature
Scouts are people of discipline
Scouts’ spirits remain strong, and they smile when in distress
Scouts are not wasteful
Scouts are pure of heart and in their actions
The Movement is divided into fifteen administrative districts across the country. Each administration is responsible for the chapters within its region, including all aspects of their operations: education, administration and safety.
The activities of the chapters are organized according to age groups:
- Sophomore group: fourth through sixth grades.
- Junior group: seventh through ninth grades (ninth grade is dedicated to training and counselors’ courses).
- Senior group: tenth through twelfth grades.
The sophomore and junior class activities are held according to the non-formal education principle of “youth guiding youth,” with senior class members setting an example and guiding the younger members. Each group is structured as a troop led by troop counselors, who are senior counselors and members of the senior group.
The counselors for the senior groups are Scouts’ graduates, mainly from among chapter coordinators. They serve following their military service and are provided with dedicated training for their duties.
A number of members, known as officers, operate in each chapter, occupying positions that support educational activities. Their responsibilities include addressing the following issues: community, scouting, storage, marketing and new media, safety and accessibility.
Most of the chapters’ activities are held on a bi-weekly basis, according to a regular schedule (usually Tuesdays and Fridays).
The Scouts Movement’s educational concept is referred to as the “Scout’s Journey” and all of the Movement’s chapters work in accordance with it. The following scouting principles serve as the basis of the Scout’s Journey: small groups, nature, challenges and the five aspects of good training:
- The member’s experience – learning through experience
- The counselor’s image
- Counselor-member relations
- The activity’s contents
- The manner of leading activities.
In each activity, a variety of training methods are used. The activities emphasize the Scouts’ historic values and nurture the values of volunteerism and contributing to society. The success of the Scouts’ activities is reflected in the large number of Movement graduates who each year opt to volunteer for a Pre-Army Service Year, as well as graduates’ significant contributions in the military and later in life, as they carry on the spirit of volunteerism first learned in the Scouts.
In addition to the regular meetings, the Scout chapters take field trips in nature, initiate special activities such as “Scout Day,” organize community activities, etc. As part of its national activities, every year the Movement takes its members on field trips during Chanukah and Passover, and runs summer camps and special courses.