Scouts’ Day in Vietnam Date in the current year: May 31, 2024

Scouts’ Day in Vietnam Scouts’ Day in Vietnam is celebrated annually on May 31. On this day in 1993, former Scout leaders met in Hanoi in hopes of re-establishing the Vietnamese Scouting movement. Although they did not succeed, it was the first Scouting gathering in northern Vietnam in almost four decades.

The first Scout troops in Vietnam were created in lycées (secondary schools) for the children of French expatriates (Vietnam was part of French Indochina at the time) and upper-class Vietnamese children.

In 1930, thirteen years after the founding of the Scouting movement by Robert Baden-Powell and eight years after the establishment of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), two athletes and teachers from Hanoi established the Vietnamese Scouting Association. In addition to regular Scouting activities, its program had a heavy emphasis on athletics.

From Hanoi, the Scouting movement spread to other regions of Vietnam. In 1938, French Scout commissioner André Lefèvre organized the first training center for Scout leaders from Indochina, and the first Indochina Jamboree took place in 1941 in Vietnam. It was attended by Scouts from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

During the Japanese occupation of French Indochina in World War II, the attitude of Japanese military authorities towards the Scout movement depended on the political sentiments in a particular occupied territory. In Vietnam, for example, French Scouting was banned, but Vietnamese Scouting was permitted. The Japanese would use Vietnamese Scouts to control Saigon’s French population.

After World War II, the Vietnamese Scouting movement wasn’t particularly active due to the First Indochina War. The war ended with Vietnam being temporarily partitioned into North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The communist government of North Vietnam banned the Scout Association and replaced it with the Young Pioneer Organization, while the Scout Association of South Vietnam continued to develop and was admitted into WOSM in 1957.

In 1975, South Vietnam lost in the Vietnam War, which resulted in the reunification of Vietnam and the subsequent abolition of the Scout Association of South Vietnam by the Viet Cong. However, some Vietnamese Scouts and Scout leaders that had fled the country established Scout troops in refugee camps throughout Southeast Asia, as well as in the countries that welcomed Vietnamese immigrants, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

In 1983, the International Central Committee of Vietnamese Scouting was created to coordinate Vietnamese Scouting organizations overseas and manage camps and jamborees. Ten years later, several former Scout leaders met in Hanoi to discuss revitalizing the Scouting movement. Although they did not succeed, their meeting is regarded as the first Scouting gathering in northern Vietnam since 1954.

In 2018, Pathfinder Scouts Vietnam was founded in southern Vietnam. Although the organization is not officially recognized by the Vietnamese government, it was re-admitted into WOSM in 2019, marking the rebirth of the Scout movement in Vietnam.

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Scouts’ Day in Vietnam, holidays in Vietnam, Scout movement, Vietnamese Scouting Association, Pathfinder Scouts Vietnam