Scouts’ Day in Armenia Date in the current year: April 18, 2024

Scouts’ Day in Armenia Armenian Scouts celebrate Scouts’ Day on April 18. On this day in 1997, the National Scout Movement of Armenia was officially admitted to the World Organization of the Scout Movement.

Scouting originated in the United Kingdom in 1907 thanks to Robert Baden-Powell, a British Army officer who used his experience in military scouting to create an educational movement for young people. The first Armenian Scout troops were organized three years later in orphanages in the city of Van (today located in Turkey, it was a major city of Western Armenia back then).

When Armenia became a republic of the Soviet Union in the 1920s, the Soviet authorities banned Scouting and replaced it with the Young Pioneers, which was the only official youth organization in the USSR. Because of the ban, the Armenian Scout Movement primarily developed among the survivors of the Armenian Genocide in the countries with a significant Armenian diaspora, such as Bulgaria, Egypt, Lebanon, Romania, and Turkey.

In 1924, Kourkène Medzadourian founded an Armenian Scout troop in Paris, laying the foundation of the Association of Armenian Scouts (Haï Ari). In the following years, more Armenian Scout troops were founded in the large cities of France. Haï Ari was recognized by the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1929 as an exception, since it wasn’t based in the country it represented. In 1978, Medzadourian was bestowed the Bronze Wolf Award for his exceptional services to the Scout Movement.

In addition to the Association of Armenian Scouts, there were Armenian Scout groups in countries with Armenian communities, such as Australia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey, the United States, and others. These expatriate groups were integrated into the national Scout organization of the country they were based in.

In the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Scout movement was revived in newly independent Armenia. Although the first Scout groups were founded in Armenia during the Perestroika, it wasn’t until 1994 that the National Scout Movement of Armenia was officially created.

Three years later, Haï Ari relinquished its membership in the World Organization of the Scout Movement to vacate the spot for the National Scout Movement of Armenia, which was admitted to the organization on April 18, 1997. The anniversary of its admittance is now celebrated as Armenian Scouts’ Day. Haï Ari, having served its purpose, was dissolved in 1998.

Today, the National Scout Movement of Armenia has over two thousand members, both male and female. In addition to the World Organization of the Scout Movement, it is a member of the Eurasian Scout Region, alongside the national Scouting organizations of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine.

In addition to the National Scout Movement, Armenia has the National Union of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides. The Armenian General Benevolent Union also has Scout troops, and some expatriate Armenian Scout groups exist to this day.

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