What is the German equivalent to Boy/Girl Scouts?

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I've seen some kids in what look like Scouting uniforms (boys and girls). What are these groups? I tried looking it up but it seems there are dozens of different groups. I'm not sure which are the dominant ones around here. I really enjoyed Boy Scouts growing up and would like to find something similar for my kids.

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7 hours ago, AlexCLE said:

I've seen some kids in what look like Scouting uniforms (boys and girls). What are these groups? I tried looking it up but it seems there are dozens of different groups.

 

Confusing, huh? It's not really surprising that there have been continuing divisions and splitting off of groups since the post-war reformation of the German Boy Scout movement though if you consider how misused the original German Boy Scouts organisation was during WW I and between 1933 - 1945 when, apart from a few exceptionally brave and determined groups who struggled to survive, it was simply absorbed (read converted) into the HJ (Hitler Youth) movement.

 

There are about 250,000 members of all ages of the scout movement in Germany today but, for a variety of historical reasons, they are distributed among 140 (!!) different organisations. The largest, with ~ 95K members, is the (DPSG) Deutsche Pfadfinder Sankt Georg, a Catholic church sponsored organisation. There are ~30K members of Evangelische (Protestant) church sponsored organisations as well as interkonfessional (ecumenical) and secular ones.

 

Almost all follow the basic Scouting aims and codex as set down by Sir Robert Baden-Powell, (such as training young people through fun, adventure and good example to be socially aware, open, caring and responsible adults), and are affiliated to, (what was the World Movement of Scouting now rebranded as), the World Organisation of Scout Movements. Most German organisations refer to their Scout Troops as Pfadfinder Stamme, although there are, naturlich, exceptions.

 

Scout.org | World Organisation of the Scout Movement

RdP - German Girl and Boy Scouts Umbrella Organisation

 

The following, including some English or B-W pages, are the main national organisations roughly in order of size although, with B-W being a predominately catholic region, this order may reflect their local dominance too.

 

Katholisch:

Deutsche Pfadfinder Sankt Georg:

On the DPSG | Deutsche Pfadfinderschaft Sankt Georg - German Boy Scouts (Katholische) page scroll down to the box 'Stamme suchen' and enter your PLZ number to find your local troop/s.
German Catholic Scout Organization - What we do

Compared to their German pages the English pages are limited in scope, (maybe aimed at international site visitors?), however if you click on Downloads there you will find a few useful PDFs (in English).

 

Evangelische:

Home - Verband Christlicher Pfadfinderinnen und Pfadfinder | Mehr als Abenteuer (evangelische)

Welcome to the “Verband Christlicher Pfadfinderinnen und Pfadfinder” (VCP) – the Association of Christian Girl Guides and Boy Scouts

 

Interkonfessional:

BdP | Bund der Pfadfinderinnen und Pfadfinder e.V. (interkonfessional)

Willkommen - Landesverband Baden-Württemberg BdP (interkonfessional)

 

Secular:

Deutscher Pfadfinderbund - German Boy Scouts (secular)

Deutscher Pfadfinderbund (secular) German Boy Scouts - Links to local groups

Bund Deutscher PfadfinderInnen | BDP Bundesverband

BDP in english | BDP Bundesverband | Association of German Scouts (non-uniformed, secular)

 

To look for local troops on some sites you need to go to the Kontakt section and then Gruppe vor Ort, Ortsgruppe or Ortsstamme. On others check the Links button for clues. But, hey, they are looking for Pfadfinder and an old scout like you should 'Be Prepared' to follow any tracks at all. ;)

 

I hope this helps and that your kids enjoy the experience as much as I did.

 

2B

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I was a scout for many years (DPSG Stamm Reutlingen-Nord) and when I wanted to take up scouting after moving to the UK I was quite taken aback by the differences. First of all, all the UK leaders seemed ancient. (Most of our leaders weren't much older than 20.) Then I found the organisational style almost military. We only wore our uniforms for official occasions (a town hall reception or church procession, for instance), in the UK they seemed to wear them for every meeting. The meetings were a lot more structured. There were no Hey-Duggee-style badges to be earned - we had a US scout on visit here in Germany once and found the concept on the whole frankly baffling.

On the whole, I found scouting here a lot more relaxed than in other countries. I can only speak for the DPSG though, I don't know what the other organisations are like.

Don't let the affiliation to the Catholic church put you off though. The most active members of our Stamm (3 sisters and two brothers) came from a (Musilm) family from Syria. And one (Protestant) girl was taken out of our troop by her Dad because "we didn't pray enough" (in fact, we didn't pray at all, other than helping organise one or two masses in church per year) :lol:

Oh, and from the Pfadfinder level (about 13-14 years of age) the groups are mixed sex. (Our Stamm once shared a camp with British Girl Guides and we girls felt really sorry for them in their skirts and blouses, our shirt and jeans seemed a lot more practical on a meadow in North Wales.)

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My kid is 9 and is participating in Pfadfinders in Stuttgart.  They meet on Friday afternoons 4.30 - 6.00 in Botnang. I'll send you contact info on PM.  It's open to boys and girls and do a lot of stuff. Last summer the kids and parents all went canoeing on the Enz. 

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Thanks for all the info, I'll start digesting it. Do any of the groups start around 6 years old (akin to Cub Scouts)? My older two are 5 and 7 now.

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If you're looking for the American scouting experience (in English) in particular, there are Cub Scouts (Boy Scouts USA) and (USA) Girl Scouts in Stuttgart (and elsewhere in Germany, for those further afield!).  For Cub Scouts, visit the blog of Stuttgart Pack 324 , and/or the Transatlantic Council webpage.  For Girl Scouts, visit the Stuttgart Girl Scouts webpage or USA Girl Scouts Overseas website.  Although many packs/troops are populated by US military-affiliated kids, as a rule one needn't be military-affiliated -- or even American -- to join and participate.  

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p.s. US Cub Scouts starts at age 6 or first grade (whichever is sooner); US Girl Scouts starts at age 5.

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I wondered if there was any Germany equivalent of the Air Training Corps / Army Cadets? I can imagine that there may be some British groups up near Gutersloh etc but we're a little far away in Heidelberg. Of course, my (German) wife would probably have a heart attack if I even suggested our son have anything to do with the Bundeswehr/Luftwaffe, but I had a great time when I was in the ATC. 

 

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I'm involved in the sport of gliding/soaring in Germany and have not heard of any activity similar to ATC that exisits in th UK.

I recall there being an ATC squadron at my old school (which I kept well clear of) & they used to go on a Summer camp at some RAF location & got the opportunity to fly in a glider - once.

 

In Germany there are the Sportsoldaten (the sport includes gliding) but we are talking about candidates with proven ability & not the ATC that you are referring to.

 

To sum up: if your son is interested in aviation try visiting a few gliding clubs in your area (provided hes age 14 or over).

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32 minutes ago, HEM said:

I recall there being an ATC squadron at my old school (which I kept well clear of) & they used to go on a Summer camp at some RAF location & got the opportunity to fly in a glider - once.

 

Nah, I was in the ATC, we flew (ourselves, with supervision) powered chipmunks 2-3 times a year plus gliding 1 per year plus the option of a week long residential gliding school including solo which I did.  In addition there were loads of things like getting a ride in various heicopters and I even got a flight up to Edinburg on a so called tan-op.  There were of course more options for the more serious cadets including some proper powered flight I think up to PPL but that was dangerously close to having to sign up to the RAF so I didnt go that far.  Flying when on RAF bases was on top of that, and was normally one flight per camp.

 

it could be that you are thinking of CCF (combined cadet force), which as far as I remember was a kind of mix of army and air so they did less of both.

 

Not bad for an all in cost of I think it was 50p per week.

 

38 minutes ago, HEM said:

To sum up: if your son is interested in aviation try visiting a few gliding clubs in your area (provided hes age 14 or over).

 

On this bit we agree 100%.

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25 minutes ago, HEM said:

There is even a gliding club in/near Heidelberg: Aero-Club Heidelberg

 

 

There's at least half a dozen gliding clubs around Heidelberg. Pretty much can't go five km around here without stumbling over one.

 

1 hour ago, HEM said:

In Germany there are the Sportsoldaten (the sport includes gliding) but we are talking about candidates with proven ability & not the ATC that you are referring to.

 

 

Technically the Luftsportjugend has some military affiliation; it is not a club one can join though, but more a joint activity of the state associations of around 1,000 local aero sports clubs.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I used to enjoy the multiple discipline aspect of the ATC, such as marksmanship, radio skills etc etc. as well as gliding and flying. I didn't even mind the marching. Having an NCO coming around flicking you on the ears to see if you flinched was a bit weird though! But actually the gliding clubs are also quite interesting, not only for my son but also for me. I did a trial flight with a club near Bath just before coming to Germany and never picked it up again. Perhaps now is the time. I just hope my German is good enough.

 

 

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