History of Sri Lanka Scouting

 
In 1912, just 5 years after initiative in formation of Scouting in England in 1907 by its founder Lord Baden Powell, Francis George Stevens, District Civil Engineer, planted the seed of Scouting in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) by forming the first-ever Scout Troop at Christ Church College, Matale in the Central Province with a group of 8 boys.
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Francis George Stevens
Founder of Scouting in Sri Lanka
Born, England 2nd June 1891

The First Scouts were:

  •    Thambo Nadarajah
  •    R.B. Kotuwegedara
  •    A.M. Hameed
  •    John Karunarathne
  •    Peter Bolin
  •    R.B. Kapuwatta
  •    M. Sahabdeen
  •    Peter Gunawardane
Image

Stevens founded the first recorded Scout troop at
Christ Church College, Matale.

 

1912-1922 – F.G. Stevens the Founder of Ceylon Scouting, considered as the 1st Colonial Commissioner of Ceylon.

1913 – Scouting commenced at Dharmaraja College in Kandy.

1914 – F.G. Stevens formed the 1st Colombo Governor’s Own Troop at Christ Church, Galle Face, Colombo, and Mr. John Young became the Scouter and B.A.R. Pius as its Secretary

1914 – Started Scouting in the Southern Province by F.G. Stevens at Mahinda College in Galle.

1914 – Scouting was popularised by publishing a column in the “Ceylon Independence” newspaper by F.G. Stevens, and later printed “The Ceylon Scout” newspaper by him, supported by Rev. W.J.T. Small, Rev. C. Richard, C.T. Symons and S.J. Symons.

1914-1918 – Scouts offered their services during the First World War.

1915 – Scout Census was carried out, and total scouts and leaders increased to 248.

1917 – 1st All-Ceylon Rally at Havelock Race Course in Colombo.

1917 – The news bulletin for Scouts ‘The Outdoor Life’ was published.

1917-1919 – Dharmaraja College Scout Troop, Kandy, wins the ‘Kings Flag’ for 3 consecutive years, 1917, 1918 and 1919.

1918 – 2nd All-Ceylon Rally, Barracks, Kandy

1918 – Sea Scout Section started

1919 – 3rd All-Ceylon Rally, Kandy

1920 – Started Rover Scout Section by forming 15th Colombo, the first Rover Crew

1921 – Founder of Scouting and world’s Chief Scout Lord Baden Powell and his wife Olave St. Clare Soames visited Sri Lanka for the first-time.

1921 – 4th All-Ceylon Rally at Havelock Race Course, Colombo, graced by Lord & Lady Baden Powell.

1921 – Scouting started in Prisons.

1922-1925 – C. Brooke Elliot, the 2nd Colonial Commissioner of Ceylon.

1922 Mar 23 – 5th All-Ceylon Rally in Kandy.

1922 – Eastern tour of the Prince of Wales

1924 – 1st Wood Badge Course for leaders at Pedro Scout Training Center, Nuwara Eliya.

1924 – Awarded the First-ever Wood Badge to Mrs. T.K, Irvin and A. Wijesinghe who completed the training.

1924 – 6th All-Ceylon Rally in Colombo. Farewell Ceremony of the British Governor William Manning.

1925-1930 - Vernon Grenier becomes the 3rd Colonial Commissioner of Ceylon.

1930 – Scout Headquarters moved to an old guard room in Colombo.

1930-1942 – J.H. De Saram becomes the 4th Chief Commissioner and the first native Commissioner of Sri Lanka.

1931 – Formed De Saram Scout Colony in Kaluthara.

1932 – All-Ceylon Scout Craft Exhibition held at Katugastota, Kandy.

1934 – The 2nd visit of Lord & Lady Baden Powell to Sri Lanka. They were well received at the Colombo Harbour Jetty.

1942-1948 – K. Somasundaram becomes 5th Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka.

1942 – 15 Acre land in Thawalampitiya, Mirigama was allocated for Scout Training by the government. Thanks to Mudliyer Lee Dassanayake then Assistant District Commissioner of Gampaha who mediated with the government.

1942 – Report of the Commission appointed to review scout activities during the 2nd World War was published.

1945 – The Scout Headquarters was opened at Galle Face, Colombo.  

1945 – 1st National Rover Moot was held at St Anthony’s College, Kandy.

1945 – ‘The Founder Sri Lanka Scouting’ F.G. Stevens retires from services, and left Sri Lanka to his native country, United Kingdom.

1948-1954 – Col. C.P. Jayawardene becomes the 6th Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka.

1948 – Chip a Job Week inaugurated.

1948 – Sinhala and Tamil edition of Scouting for Boys published.

1949 – 2nd national Rover Moot in Colombo

1950 – 3rd National Rover Moot in Galle

1951 – 4th National Rover Moot in Negombo

1952 – 1st National Scout Jamboree to commemorate 40 years of Scouting was held at Koombikele, Bullers Road, Colombo (near the premises of present BMICH, Colombo), with the participation of more than 5,000 scouts, including foriegn Scouts from India, Burma (now Myanmar), Malaya and Australia.

1952 – 5th National rover Moot in Anuradhapura

1953 Feb 22Sri Lanka accredited with international membership of World Scouting

The Boy Scouts Association Ceylon Branch was succeeded by the Ceylon Boy Scouts Association. The proclamation was made by the Director of World Scout Bureau Colonel J.H. Wilson who arrived in the island to grace the occasion. Mr. Wilson announced this historical proclamation at a grand ceremony held at Bussa in Galle where the Founder’s day Commemoration Coroboree was held.

1953 – 6th National Rover Moot in Gampaha

1954-1967 - E. W. Kannangara becomes the 7th Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka.

1954 – 7th National Rover Moot in Jaffna

1955 – 8th National Rover Moot in Kandy

1956 – 9th National Rover Moot in Badulla

1957 - Gerald Victor Fernando was appointed as Field Commissioner for the Far East (presently Asia-Pacific Region) by the World Bureau of Scouting. He served in this position until his death in 1961.

1957 – 10th National Rover Moot in Colombo

1957 – Sri Lankan Scouts participated in the Jubilee Jamboree in England.

1957 Mar 27 – Ceylon Boy Scouts Council (Incorporation) Act No 13 was passed by the parliament legalizing ‘Ceylon Boy Scout Association’.

1958 April 17 – Lady Olave Baden Powell visited again Sri Lanka whilst on an official tour in the region, and visited Colombo and Jaffna to review Scout and Girl Guide programs.

1958 – 11th National Rover Moot in Gampaha

1959 – 12th National Rover Moot in Ampara

1960 – 13th National Rover Moot in Matale

1961 – 14th National Rover Moot Kurunegala

1962 – The 2nd National Jamboree commemorating the ‘Golden Jubilee of Scouting in Sri Lanka’ was held at Havelock Race Course, Colombo. To commemorate this, the first-ever postal stamp was released by the postal department, Also a commemorative statue of a Scout was installed near Public Library at Victoria Park (presently Vihara Maha Devi Park) in Colombo.

1962 – The Scout news bulletin ‘The Outdoor Life’ was renamed as ‘Sri Lanka Scout’ and became the official newspaper of Sri Lanka Scout Association.

1962 – 15th National Rover Moot in Ratnapura

1963 – 16th National Rover Moot in Trincomalee

1964 – 17th National Rover Moot in Nuwara Eliya

1965 – Mr. Vincent Perera, the Mayor of Colombo renamed the “Lower Lake Road” where the National Scout Headquarters is located, as “Baladaksha Mawatha”

1965 – The first "Baladaksha Handa" Radio Program was broadcasted by Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (Radio Ceylon) under the patronage of Headquarters Commissioner W.J. Dias Gunerathne.  

1965 – 18th National Rover Moot, concurrently held with the 1st Asian International Rover Moot, at Peradeniya in Kandy, led by Mudliyar Lee Dassanayake, the Deputy Chief Commissioner.

1966 – The Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Cub Scouts in Sri Lanka and in the world was commemorated at Vihara Maha Devi Park, Colombo.

1966 – 19th National Rover Moot in Jaffna

1967-1972 – Fitzroy H. Gunesekera becomes 8th Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka.

1967 – 20th National Rover Moot in Kegalle

1968 Oct 27 – Lady Olave Baden Powell who visited Sri Lanka again to review Girl Guide programs, met Scout officials for discussions, and stayed till 2nd November.

1968 – 21st National Rover Moot in Colombo

1969 – 22nd National Rover Moot in Panadura

1970 – 23rd National Rover Moot in Akkaraipattu

1971 – Brought amendments to the Parliamentary Act No 13 of Ceylon Scout Council.

1971 – 24th National Rover Moot in Kandy

1972-1977 – C.M.P. Wanigatunga becomes the 9th Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka.

1972 – 25th National Silver Jubilee Rover Moot in Galle

1972 August 13-14 – A Grand Scout Rally was held at Bogammbara Grounds, Kandy, to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee (60 years) of Scouting in Sri Lanka.

1973 – Kingsley C. Dassanaike was awarded the “Bronze Wolf” by the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) for the exceptional services to world Scouting.

1975 Mar 14-16 – The 1st National Cuboree was held at St Aloysius College Grounds and at Galle Fort premises with a participation of more than 6,000 Cub Scouts.

1975 – 26th National Rover Moot in Kandy

1977-1982 – Hemapala Ratnasuriya becomes the 10th Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka.

1978 – 27th National Rover Moot in Matale

1980 May 14 – The National Scout Headquarters was constructed and re-located at Sir Chittampalam A. Gardiner Mawatha (formally Parsons Road), Colombo 2, and was declared opened by His Excellency J.R. Jayawardena, the President and Chief Scout of Sri Lanka.

1982-1987 – Theodore Seneviratne becomes the 11th Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka.

1982 - Special Commemorative Stamp in honour of the 125th Birth Anniversary of B.P. was released by the Postal Department.

1983 Feb26 - Mar4 – 3rd National Scout Jamboree held at Walisinghe Harischandra Grounds, Anuradhapura.

1984 Sep 21-23 – 2nd National Cuboree held at Royal College Grounds, Colombo.

1986 Nov 7-9 – 3rd National Cuboree held at Richmond College Grounds, Galle.

1987 – Scout Rally organized to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Sri Lanka Scouting in Matale.

1987 - The 1st Indaba gathering of Cub Scout Leaders in Matale.

1987 – The ‘JIM’ Camp organized by the Scouts of Dharmaraja College, Kandy, in respect of the Centenary Year of the College.

1987-1990 – Rex Jayasinghe becomes 12th Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka.

1990 Feb 14-20 – 1st SAARC Jamboree was held at Vihara Maha Devi Park, Colombo with the participation of 789 local Scouts, and foreign Scouts from India (268), Pakistan (138) Bangladesh (50) and Maldives (29).

1990-1994 – J. Lionel Silva becomes the 13th Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka, as Rex Jayasinghe, Chief Commissioner died just before 1st SAARC Jamboree

1990 Sep 8 – Chief Commissioner J. Lionel Silva renames Mirigama Scout Training Centre as “Lee Dassanayake Scout Training Centre”.

1990 – “Sri Lanka Scout” official newspaper, after a few years of silence, recommenced in Sinhala and Tamil Languages, and started issuing once in 3 months.

1991 Apr 26-28 – The 1st National Indaba for Scouters, held at Lee Dassanayake Scout Training Centre, Mirigama.

1992 – 4th National Jamboree, commemorating 80 years of Scouting in Sri Lanka held at Welagedara Grounds, Kurunegala.

1993 Sep 24-26 – 4th National Cuboree held at Kaluthara Vidyalaya Grounds, Kaluthara.

1994-1997 – M. Mazzahim Mohideen becomes the 14th Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka.

1994 Feb – Declared opened 3 newly constructed upstairs cabins, funded by Canada Foundation at Lee Dassanayake Scout Training Centre, Mirigama,

1994 - “The Sri Lanka Scout” newspaper commenced its printing in all 3 languages as a single bulletin.

1995 Oct 11-13 – 5th National Cuboree at St. Anthony’s College Grounds, Wattala.

1996 Mar 22-24 – National level Training Camp for Differently-abled & handicapped Scouts at the School for the Deaf, Ratmalana.

1996 – 1st Western Provincial Scout Jamboree

1997-2002 – K.H. Camillus Fernando becomes the 15th Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka.

1998 Feb 16-23 – 5th National Jamboree at Pallekelle, Kandy. To this regard, 2 scout postal stamps were released on 18th Feb.

1998 – 1st Asia-Pacific Workshop on Information Technology, Colombo, and the first Web page hosted by University of Moratuwa.

1998 – The 1st Coral Camp in the island at Old Lighthouse premises

1998 – The 1st Tree Hut Camp

2000 Apr 26-30 – 6th National Cuboree at Marist Stella College grounds, Negombo

2001 Feb 22-25 – 28th National Rover Moot at Pallekele, Kandy

2001 Mar 8-11 – 1st National Agoonaree of Sri Lanka for differently abled and handicapped Scouts was held at Mahinda College, Galle.

2002-2007 – H.S. Weerakoon becomes the 16th Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka.

2002 – 6th National Scout Jamboree and commemoration of 90th Anniversary of Sri Lanka Scouting at Balapitiya, Galle.

2002 – Centenary Wood Badge Advance Course at Pedro Training Centre, Nuwara Eliya.

2003 Aug 10-14 – 1st National Strategic Plan Workshop at Kundasale, Kandy.

2004 – 29th National Rover Moot in Kurunegala

2005 Feb3 - Mar3 – 20 Community service projects were carried out by the scouts from various districts in the island, in support of Tsunami victims, covering Galle, Matara and Hambantota districts.

2005 Sep30 - Oct2 – 7th National Cuboree at Bogambara Grounds, Kandy

2006 Feb 21-26 – 7th National Scout Jamboree and 4th SAARC Friendship Camp held in Nuwara Eliya Race Course.

2007-2012 – C. Batuwangala becomes the 17th Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka.

2007 Apr 27-29 – 8th National Cuboree at Vincent Dias Grounds, Badulla,

2007 May 26 – A commemorative Scout stamp was issued by the postal department in respect of the Centenary year of World Scouting.

2008 Feb28 - Mar3 – 2nd National Strategic Plan Workshop and its first review meeting in Galle.

2008 Mar 21-23 – The 1st Workshop for Scouts on National Strategic Plan at Lee Dassanayake Scout Training Centre, Mirigama.

2009 Jan 23Dawn of Scouting for Girls under Sri Lanka Scout Association

For the first time in the history of Scouting in Sri Lanka, 291 female Cub Scouts invested together with 109 male Cub Scouts, all from the 12 districts of Sri Lanka, at a solemn ceremony held at the Seethawaka National School, in Avissawella. This was indeed a breakthrough, as for the first time, Girls were invested as Scouts after initiating ‘Girls in Scouting’ in 2008 by the Sri Lanka Scout Association (SLSA).

girls in scouting 001   girls in scouting 002

2009 Feb 20 – Terrorist attack by air on National Scout Headquarters in Colombo caused a severe damage to the building.

2009 Sep 2 – Laid foundation stone for a new National Headquarters building in Colombo-2

2009 Sep 24 – Opening Ceremony of Pilamont Auditorium, a two-story building at Lee Dassanayake Scout Training Centre, Mirigama.

2009 Sep 25 – National ceremony of the first-ever investiture of girls in the Scout Section at De Mazonod College, Kandana.

2009 – The formation of Sri Lanka Old Scouts and Old Guides Association

2010 – The commencement of construction work of the new National Scout Headquarters building.

2010 – 3rd National Strategic Plan workshop at lee Dassanayake Scout Training Centre, Mirigama

2010 Dec 26-31 – 8th National Scout Jamboree held at Angunakolapelessa in Hambantota District.

2010 – 9th National Cuboree at Dutugemunu Vidyalaya, Lunama, Hambantota in concurrent with the 8th National Jamboree.

2011 Feb 14-22 – ‘From North to South Cycle Tour of Scouts’ commenced from Point Pedro in the North-most to Point Dondra in the South-most of Sri Lanka with the participation of 100 scouts. This was organized in preparation of Centenary Year of Scouting in Sri Lanka 2012.

2011 Apr26 to May30 – the 116th Wood Badge Advance Training Couse with the participation of first batch of Lady Scouters, in charge of Girls in Scouting, at Pedro Scout Training Centre, Nuwara Eliya.

2011 – North-South Friendship Camp Programs were held in preparation of the Centenary year of Scouting in Sri Lanka 2012

2011 – Religious ceremonies to bless the newly-constructed National Scout Headquarters were held. All-night Seth Pirith Sajjayana and offering of Alms to Maha Sanga, and also religious ceremonies of Hindu, Christian and Islamic.

2011 – The opening ceremony of the National Scout Headquarters and commencement of official work at the new headquarters. 

2011 Dec 14-18 – 30th National Rover Moot at Dambulla in Matale.

2012 Jan 8 – The Commencement of Centenary year of Scouting in Sri Lanka with a religious program at Temple of the Holy Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa) in Kandy, under the patronage of Hon. Sarath Ekanayake, the Chief Minister of the Central Province.

2012 – Highlights of the Centenary celebrations: the Centenary Scout Walk, issuance of a new stamp and the release of a new Coin to the monetary value of Two-Rupees.

2012 Mar31- Apr7 - The Centenary National Jamboree & the 29th Asia-Pacific Scout Jamboree hosted by SLSA at Gam Udawa & Kandalama sites in Dambulla, Matale in the Central Province with a participation of 8,000 Scouts including overseas participants from 23 countries.

2012-2017 – Professor Nimal De Silva becomes the 18th Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka.

2013 – 10th National Cuboree, St. Anthony's College, Wattala. Sri Lanka.

2013 – 31st National Rover Moot at Thelijjawila, Matara.

2014 – 8th Asia-Pacific Regional Scout Leaders Summit 2014 at Gold Sands Hotel, Negombo.

2014 – 1st Kandy Dharmaraja Scout Group established a Guinness World Record by creating the World’s Largest neckerchief and woggle.

2014 Aug 1-7 – Colombo Centenary International Scout Jamboree (CCISJ 2014) at Madampe.

2014 Oct 7 - Formed ‘Singithi Scouts’ section for the kids of 5 ½ to 7 years of age.

2015 May 20 – His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka took Oaths as Chief Scout of Sri Lanka

2016 Feb 20-26 – 9th National Scout Jamboree, Jaffna

2016 May 1 – 11th National Cuboree, Richmond College, Galle, Sri Lanka. Celebrated 100 years of Cub Scouting in Sri Lanka and in the World

2016 Nov 3-6 – 32nd National Rover Moot at La Salle Kids’ Campus Grounds, Mannar

2017- July 1 – "Pothaka Ran Dahara" the National Activity Programme for Cub Scouts was held at R. Premadasa International Stadium, Colombo, participating many Scout Districts 

2017-2020 - Merrille Goonetilleke becomes the 19th Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka.

2017 Aug 17 – Janaprith Fernando was the first Sri Lankan elected to the World Scout Committee, the highest governing body of World Organization of the Scout Movement. He will serve as a member of this committee till 2020

2019 Feb – 33rd National Rover Moot at Diyagala Boys’ Town, Ragama

2019 April 6-8 – 12th National Cuboree was held at Siyane College of Education, Veyangoda

2020 Jan 13 - Major General Milinda Peiris assumed duties as the 20th Chief Scout Commissioner of Sri Lanka at a special ceremony held this morning at National Headquarters amidst Religious Observances of all four religious faiths. He is the Vice Chancellor of the Kotalawala Defense University of Sri Lanka.

Major General Milinda Peiris assuming duties as the 20th Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka.

CC Ass Du 019  CC Ass Du 050

 

2020 Jan 17 – His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the President of Sri Lanka takes oath as Chief Scout of Sri Lanka.

ChiefScout001  ChiefScout002

 

2020 Feb 14-18 – Messengers of Peace (MOP) District Coordinators Workshop, organized by Sri Lanka Scout Association in collaboration with Asia Pacific Region of WOSM was held at Sri Lanka Foundation, Colombo 7 with the participation delegates from WOSM/APR

 

2020 Feb 21 – International Mother Languages Day organized by the Bangladesh High Commission and partnered by Sri Lanka Scout Association, and the BP Commemoration Day took place at the Independence Square in Colombo under the patronage of Hon. Mahinda Rajapakse, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

 

2020 Feb 21 – Founder' Day was celebrated at National Scout Headquarters ahead of the official BP Day of 22nd February. The BP statue was garlanded and floral tributes were paid in memory of BP.

 

2020 Feb 21 – Scouts of Sri Lanka joined in global ‘Earth Hour 2020’ between 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm SL time by uploading 2-minute videos by the district teams to 2 Facebook Groups on “Raise your voice for Nature Challenge” with a caption.

 

2020 April 3-5 – With the spreading over of COVID-19 Pandemic, a special edition of Jamboree on the Internet (JOTI) was conducted online by WOSM with a strong commitment to keep Scouting activities alive from homes. Apr 3-5

 

2020 Apr/May – Webinar Series on 10 main initiatives of ‘Better World Framework’ of WOSM were mediated by Sri Lanka Scout Association and conducted by a recognized panel to educate Scouts, and also to keep scouting alive during pandemic.