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Editor’s note: the country of Czechoslovakia and Scouting in this country has ceased to exist as of January 1, 1993. The reason for this was, by general agreement, the country split into 2 Independent nations of The Czech Republic and The Republic of Slovakia. Scouting is active in both new countries.

 The first founder of Scouting in Czechoslovakia was a professor of physical training at the secondary school - A.B. Svojsfk / 1876 - 1938. In 1910 he heard about Lord Baden-Powell's education of young boys. He was interested in that system of education and so in 1911, he left for England. He was enthusiastic about Scouting and he began to translate Baden-Powell's book "Scouting for Boys". In 1912 he founded his first troop and in 1913 there were 19 troops in Czechoslovakia. They were members of an organization for physical training "Sokol".

In 1914 he founded an independent organization, the name of which was "Junak - Czech Scout". In 1915 the Girl Guides began in Czechoslovakia. In 1912 A.B. Svojsik wrote the basic book of Czech Scouting "The Foundations of Scouting". In that book he combined Baden-Powell's system of education, ideas of the American writer, traveller and painter E.T. Seton (founder of woodcraft) and the traditions of our nation.

The word "Scout" he made up a Slavonic word "Junak" and as a symbol of the organization he used the head of a dog. it is the historical symbol of Czech frontiersmen.

Scouting in Czechoslovakia developed very quickly. But during the second world war, in 1940, it was abolished by German State Secretary K.H. Frank. All the possessions of the organization were confiscated. Many troops, however, continued to work as illegal organizations. After 1945 they again began to work as an official organization. But in 1951 it was again abolished - now by the communists. Junak was again an illegal organization until November 1989 except for three years after the Prague Spring (1968 - 1971).



In February 1912 Svojsik published his first Scout book named "Czech Scout" and in May 1912 "the bible" of Czech Scouting "Ziklady junictvi". (Junak - it is the name of Czech boy- Scout.) Many of the great Czech persons of his time contributed to this book. The famous painter -Mikolii Alei created our first sign - a dog (connected with our history) and the musician Karel Kova Fovic composed our Scout anthem. The history of Czech Scout movement was started.

The first Czech Scout camp of Svojsik's troop took place more than 1 00 km from Praga in 1912. The participants went all the way by foot and their luggage brought there on one big push-cart. In the next year already 15 camps took place in our land. For the first time there were used our special tents with the wooden basis called "podsada". In September 1913 the camp in Praga was held to show the people, how Scouting is useful. Czech Scouts also helped with the ordering of many events.

In June 1914 the independent organization " Junak Skaut" was established. The chairman was Dr. D. Klika and Chief Scout - Antonin Benjamin Svojsik. One month later First World War started and many leaders went to fight. But the organization grew and started with publishing its own periodical JUNAK, which is published till today (38 year). In January 1915 also Girl Guide committee was founded and Dr. Anna Berkovcovci became the Chief Guide. The same summer the first Girl Guide company "Anemones" had its camp on the banks of river Vltava.

On the 28th October 1918, the World War ended and the independent Czechoslovakia was declared. This big change gave to our nation new chance to govern himself in his land (after hundreds years under the Austrian empire).

In the revolution days Czech Scouts helped the established government with many things. They patroled over important buildings and sites, but they are best known for their delivery service. They delivered official mail in Praga. They had their own stamps, the first Scout stamps in the world, which are very rare and valuable today among stamp-collectors. On 21. December 1918 "Czech Scout mail" was restored, because of the arrival of our first President T. Garrigue Masaryk from the exile.

In the new Republic, many other Scout organizations worked. A.B.Svojsik wanted to unify them and in 1919 founded the "Union of Junak -Scouts of the Czechoslovak Republic" Svojsik was the Chief Scout and Emilie M was the Chief Guide. The President Masaryk became the protector of our movement. Also many new books were published.

In 1922 the National Scout festival took place in Praga to commemorate 10 years of Scouting. At the International Scout Conference in Paris in 1922, our Scouts were among the founding members of W.O.S.M. and elected A.B.Svojsik to the World Committee. The same year, 2 Czech Scouts were at Gilwell and after this experience they started the Gilwell courses in Czechoslovakia.

Scouting in our country grew and so we wanted to entertain also the World Jamboree in 1933. The preparations started very soon and in 1931 Czech Scouts prepared the "All -Slavonic Jamboree" as the test for the World Jamboree. It was a great festival, which culminated in the march through Praga and acceptance by President Masaryk at the Praga castle. But the World Jamboree at the end took place in Hungary.

Czech Scouts participated in all World Jamborees since the first in 1920. In 1937 at 5th World Jamboree in Holland our contingent had 314 members.

Antonin Benjamin Svojsik died on the 17th September 1938. A few days later, our Republic was occupied by the German nazis army (after the Munchen treaty). In 1939, when the world divided, Czech Scouts and Guides unified and on 22th January 1939 all Scout organizations founded the new association called JUNAK. The Chief Scout was Dr. Rudolf Plajner and the Chief Guide Viasta Koseova. On 15th March 1939, Czech part of the republic was occupied by the nazis and Slovakia became a fascist state.

In July 1940 nazis dispersed many Scout camps and on 28th October the same year JUNAK was abolished and Scouting prohibited. For the first, but not for the last time in our country. But many Scout troops worked in illegality and helped the anti fascist revolt. Many of them died in the war. They also participated in Praga revolution in May 1945. After the war they helped with the restoration of order in the liberated republic and Czech Scout movement. They published many books and journals.

In the summer 1946, Lady Olave Baden-Powell visited Czechoslovakia and she was welcome in the whole Republic by our Scouts and Guides. In times of Scout camps their participants helped in agriculture. Our Chief Guide - Viasta Koseovi became the Vice -chairman of the World Committee of WAGGGS and our Chairman - Dr. Velen Fanderlik was the member of the World Committee of WOSM. 6th World Jamboree took place in 1947 in France. The Czechoslovak contingent with its 500 members had a big success (also thanks its two Scout bands). But for the next 43 years it was the last official participation of our country at the Jamboree.

In 1948, after the communist overthrow scouting was banned by Communist Youth Movement. Many Scouts and Guides were persecuted and condemned in the communist political process to the prisons, where many of them died. But Scouts and Guides have kept the contact with each other. Some troops continued in their work within the sports organizations, the pioneer movement, the tourist organizations, with the nature conservationist and others.

In 1968 after the famous "Praga Spring" Scout organization was restored, but after the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the armies of Warsaw Pact, the third abolition followed in 1970.

In November 1989 after the "Velvet revolution" the situation in our republic changed once again and Scouts and Guides restarted to work. In 1990 Czechoslovak Scouting was re-admitted to the WOSM and WAGGGS, but its membership loss in 1993 after the splitting of Czechoslovakia into two independent states-Czech Republic and Slovak Republic. On June 30, 1996, Junak-Svaz Skautu a Skautek was welcomed as the 141st member of the World Organization (WOSM).

The number of scouts in former Czechoslovakia was: 1936 – 70,000, in 1945 – 230,000, in 1968 – 65,000 and after the 1989 – 80.000. Membership in 1998 was 57,979 Scouts and Guides in the Czech Republic.

During the summer of 1998, 1,361 camps were held and 32,177 Scouts and Guides participated in these camps.

Czech Scouts arrange many Scout events. The most well known is the "Svojaik's race", which take place every two years. In 1994 - INTERCAMP took place in our country. The same year "water" Scouts arranged their big event (some kind of national jamboree) - NAVIGAMUS.

The symbol of Junak is the Scout lilly with the head of a Chodovian dog, which is a symbol of faithfulness and freedom, placed on the Trefoil.

Program Sections:

 Vlcata and Svetlusky/ Cubs and Fireflies- ages 6 to 10

 Skauti and Skautky/ Scouts and Guides- ages 12 to 15

 Roveri/ Rovers and Rangers- ages 15 to 26

Motto: Bud Pripraven Be prepared

Scout Oath:

I promise on my honour that I will do my best:

To serve the Highest Truth and Love, faithfully at all times

To fulfill all my own duties and to observe Scout/Guide laws

To be prepared to help my country and my neighbors with all my soul and body

May God help me so.

Scout Law:

 Skaut je pravdomluvny

 Skaut je verny a oddany

 Skaut je prospesny a pomaha jinym

 Skaut je pritelem vsech lidi dobre vule a bratrem kazdeho Skauta

 Skaut je zdvorily

 Skaut je ochrancem prirody a cennych vytvoru lidskych

 Skaut je poslusny rodicu, predstavenych a vudcu

 Skaut je vesele mysli

 Skaut je hospodarny

 Skaut je cisty v mysleni, slovech a skutcich 

 A Scout speaks the truth

 A Scout can be trusted and is loyal

 A Scout is useful to society and helps others

 A Scout is a friend to all people of good will and a brother/sister to all Scouts and Guides

 A Scout is courteous

 A Scout protects nature and valuable human products

 A Scout obeys his/her parents, superiors and Scout/Guide leaders

 A Scout is of cheerful mind

 A Scout is thrifty

 A Scout is pure in thought, word and deeds

This information was provided by Paval Trantina, International Commissioner of Junak and Scout Stanislav Kubacek. The Promise and Law was translated by Jan Gorig.

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Last updated on October 18, 1999