A Brief History of Scouting in Malta
During his time on the Island B-P started contributing his sketches to English newspapers, learnt sculpting, organised stage shows and opened a gymnasium which he dubbed 'The Poultice'.
With his connections with Malta and his many Maltese friends following his career, it was natural that The Scout Association of Malta would be the first overseas branch of the British Association. It was formed only months after the first Scouts appeared on the Island and within a short time of the camp at Brownsea Island in July-August 1907.
The Malta Scout Association formally applied to become a member of the British Movement on November 9, 1908 and was officially recognised a year later.
Those first few Scouts started a tradition that has kept Scouting in the very forefront of youth education in Malta. Since its early years Scouting has been the most active and strongest youth organisation on the Island.
Baden-Powell visited Malta on several occasions and took the Maltese Scouts under his wing, often writing to them with advice and praising 'the progress in efficiency and the spirit of the Boy Scouts of Malta'.
Shortly before his death Baden-Powell typed what was possibly his last letter, on July 21, 1940 from Paxtu in Kenya 'to congratulate my old friends, the Maltese on the plucky way they have stood up to the infernal bombing of the Italians ... They have the spirit of fearlessness and patience which enables them to face danger with a smile to stick it out to the triumphant finish ...'
The Scouts of Malta played a notable role in the aerial siege of the Island between 1940 and 1943. They were collectively decorated with the unique honour of the Bronze Cross 'in recognition of their courage and devotion to duty in the face of continuous enemy action in the war for freedom'.
The Scout Association of Malta was until 1966 a branch of the British Association. Malta became an independent state in 1964 and in October 1966 the Maltese national organisation became a member of the World Scout Conference.
The Maltese Scouts have been represented at all Jamborees except two, those in the Philippines and Japan. It was the Maltese Scout contingent which at Olympia in 1920 initiated the move that proclaimed B-P Chief Scout of the World.
The Scouts of Malta have maintained throughout all these years their sense of service and dedication to the ideals of the Movement as conceived by its founder.
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