Rodger Morris (rlm@SUNED1.NSWSES.NAVY.MIL)
Mon, 14 Nov 1994 18:17:18 PST
In Spain, the Exploradores de Espana, a recognized member of WOSM,
established in the year 1912, were disbanded by executive emergency decree
of Francisco Franco in 1939 "for the duration of the present temporary
emergency", or words to that effect. Since few things are so permanent as a
"temporary emergency", the ban was not lifted until 1976, one year after
Franco, a devout Roman Catholic, set up the Phlange, which was similar in
make-up to the fascist Italian Ballila and German Hitlerjugend movements.
Membership was compulsory. However, Franco bowed to a personal request from
the Pope in the 1960's and allowed the establishment of "El Movimiento
Catolico de Espana" (The Catholic Scout Movement of Spain".
The Exploradores de Espana went underground, often with the connivance and
covert assistance of local authorities. Children went camping as "camping
clubs", then posted sentries and pulled their uniform shirts and
neckerchiefs out of the bottoms of their backpacks and did Scouting
activities. When the sentries sounded the alarm, the shirts and neckerchiefs
went back into the bottoms of the backpacks until after the police left.
To put this into perspective, violating this emergency decree carried a
mandatory 20 year prison term without regard to the youth or age of the
This era is known in Spain as, "La Epoca Clandestina de Escultismo en
Espana" (The Clandestine Epoch of Scouting in Spain). One group that kept
Scouting going in Southern Spain was the Kangaroo Patrol. Founded as a
regular Scout patrol in April of 1927, the Kangaroos were selected as the
honor patrol chosen to carry the Spanish national colors and greet Lord
Baden-Powell at the docks of Cadiz harbor on his around the world Scouting
tour of the late 1920's.
The Kangaroos fought on both sides during the Civil War of 1936 - 1939.
Then, in the immediate aftermath of the war, even the Franco supporters and
loyalists amongst the Kangaroos agreed that Franco was wrong to ban
Scouting. They patched up their differences and helped keep Scouting alive
in Southern Spain for the next 37 years. Other dedicated individuals
performed the same services in isolation in other areas of Spain during this
same period of time.
In April of 1985, in recognition of their 55 years of service to Scouting,
the Scouts de Espana (the Exploradores de Espana with a new corporate name)
awarded the "Lobo de Plata" (Silver Wolf) to the Kangaroo Patrol at the
"Campamento de San Jorge" (The Encampment of St. George).
I was privileged to represent the Boy Scouts of America at that ceremony as
an invited guest of the Scouts de Espana. I posted some months ago how all
the Spanish Scouts and Cubs, Ventures and Rovers were presenting beautiful
hand-made gifts. The 11 year old Scout and I who were representing the BSA
did not know what the Silver Wolf was. As a result, we were caught
unprepared. Rather than give nothing to the Kangaroos on their special day,
we gifted them with my dirty, dog-eared, cover-held-on-with-tape Scout
Handbook with the inscription:
"From the world's largest Scout Association to the world's best.
Congratulations on 55 years of Scouting.
The Boy Scouts of America.
It wasn't much, but it was all we had. Fortunately, the Kangaroos and
theSpanish Scouts took it in the spirit in which it was offered. I am
pleased to offer this piece of Spanish Scouting history to this forum.
Yours in Scouting,
Rodger Morris, firstname.lastname@example.org
Scoutmaster, Troop 852, Ventura County Council, BSA
National Woodbadge 416, Philmont, 1973
"I used to be a Beaver..."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City