The Other Ones - Scouts in Exile
Victor M. Alexieff

The Scout movement based on the ideals and principles of Lord Baden-Powell is a voluntary, non-political, educational organization.  The national association of the Scout groups using the B-P methods are united through membership in the World Organization of the Scout Movement, and also the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.  Stamps and other philatelically related materials related to the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Girl Guides are of prime interest to many collectors.

Besides the above mentioned organizations, however, there are:


The "other ones" referred to here, are those youth organizations that differ from B-P's Scouts and Guides in various manners; are who are not members of WOSM or WAGGGS mentioned before.  Specifically, Scouts-In-Exile are one of "the other ones."  Many collectors of bonafide Boy Scout/Girl Guide philatelic material have sub-collections of Scouts-In-Exile material.  They make an interesting postal history addition to ones collection.

In some countries Scouting, which was organized and operated according to traditional lines, was suppressed by a change in government.  This usually happens when a totalitarian regime comes into power.

After World War I, Scouting was banned by the Soviets in: Russia, Armenia, Ukraine, and Byelorussia.  Just prior to World War II, both Mussolini and Hitler disbanded Scouting.  Fortunately, in the cases of both Italy and Germany, Scouting has been revived and is doing quite well.

During the later days of WW II, Scouting flourished in the Displaced Persons Camps (DP Camps).  Scouts furnished, among other services, postal delivery.  Some of the more desirable Scout postal items are found in the DP Camp mails.

At the conclusion of WWII, the Soviets absorbed Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and immediately banned Scouting.  The establishment of Communism controlled Eastern Europe resulted in the ending of Scouting in Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Poland, and Romania.

In the last couple of decades other countries came under totalitarian control and banned Scouting.  Such was the case in Burma, Mainland China, Cuba, Laos, Viet Nam, and Afghanistan.

During, and immediately after, each of the above time periods, there was an exodus of people that were not in sympathy with the new government.  Those immigrants brought with them, to their new homes, their ethnic customs, traditions, religions, and Scouting.  Thus, we have Scouts-In-Exile -- Nationalistic groups of Scouts who are dedicated to the same principles and ideals of their original associations, but located outside their country of origin.

Many of these exile Scout groups were members of WOSM or WAGGGS.  However, in the mid-forties, they were denied further membership.  The one exception is the Association of Armenian Scouts, whose membership was retained at the explicit wish of B-P.

A number of the exile Scout groups have their own National and World organizations.  They hold regional and World Jamborees, issue training materials, and furnish leadership.  Other groups have been absorbed into local communities or lost their unique Scouting completely.

In a number of countries, the exile Scouts cooperate with the local organizations in joint activities.  Of note are joint activities between: Estonian/Swedish, Latvian/Australian, Polish/Argentinian, Ukrainian/Canadian, and other Scout groups.

Philatelically, much material has been issued, and is still being issued by some of these exile groups.  Although a few of the "stamps" issued have been used to deliver the mail, most are not postally valid. Never-the-less, the stamps and seals are avidly collected.

SOSSI Journal, Volume 37, Number 9, September 1982