Sports on Scout Stamps

Sports activities have always been a major part of Scouting and so many are seen on Scout stamps, especially the more recent ones, although the large numbers of these showing some sports do not always give a very true picture of the amount of participation by Scouts in these sports.  Unfortunately, the designers of Guide stamps give the impression that girls hardly ever take part in any sports or games at all.  The most common Girl Scout sport stamps are boating and hiking.

Antigua Ras al Khaima Norway 657

In 1925, Hungary issued a "Sports Charity" set with one stamp depicting a Scout.  In fact, it was the first stamp to depict a Scout and also the first Scout sports stamp.  Since then, well over thirty different sports have been shown on Scout stamps, but they seem to reflect the ideas of stamp designers who want to show exciting activities that look pretty rather than the sports more commonly enjoyed by the majority of Scouts.  The range includes some strange choices, such as skiing in Upper Volta to the tug-of-war in Grenada.

Hungary B85 Upper Volta Grenada Solomon Islands

All Scouts enjoy water activities, although they are not usually a major pursuit (Sea Scouts excluded) but this is not the impression given by the many Sea Scouts Stamps from around the world.  Did you know that sailing is the most common sport depicted on Scout stamps, and together with other water sports such as canoeing, rowing, rafting, etc., account for over half of all issues of Scout sport stamps?

Next in popularity with designers is mountaineering and climbing, which again gives us attractive stamps of a minority Scouting sport.

Bhutan 86c Bhutan 135

What about football [soccer]; surely the most popular of all? Or how about swimming, fishing, cycling and athletics, all of which are poorly represented on stamps.  Perhaps the strangest of late is the Sea Scouts cricket match stamp from Turks & Caicos Islands.  Don't be surprised if the next issue turns out to be an Air Scouts water polo match!

Philippines B11 Grenada Turks & Caicos Islands Philippines CB1

SOSSI JOURNAL, Volume 42, Number 6,June 1993.
{Edited from TE Kupu November 1991, New Zealand Scout & Guide Philatelic Club.}
Updates and modifications by Keith Larson.