Scouts’ Day in Ukraine Date in the current year: April 12, 2024

Scouts’ Day in Ukraine Scouts’ Day, also known as Plastun Day, is celebrated in Ukraine on April 12 every year. This date was chosen to commemorate the creation of Plast, the oldest and largest Scouting organization in the country.

The history of the Plast National Scout Organization of Ukraine, commonly called Ukrainian Plast or simply Plast, can be traced back to the times when the western Ukrainian region of Galicia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was founded by Galician biologist and educator Oleksander Tysovsky, who translated Robert Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys into Ukrainian and started a Scouting group in the Lviv Academic Gymnasium, where he worked as a teacher, in 1911. Alternative Scouting groups were founded by Ivan Chmola and Petro Franko around the same time, independently from Tysovsky.

On April 12, 1912, about 40 Scouts from Tysovsky’s group took the oath of allegiance to God and Ukraine. This day is regarded as the official founding anniversary of Plast. The name “Plast” derives from plastun, a member of a Cossack foot scouting and sentry military unit in the Zaporizhian Sich and later in the Black Sea Cossack Host and the Kuban Cossack Host.

By the beginning of 1914, Plast groups had been established in all large cities of Galicia, but there was no central organization. On February 12, 1914, representatives of various Plast groups came together in Lviv and created the Central Plast Administration. Following its establishment, Plast groups began to emerge in Zakarpattya and Bukovina. After the formation of the Ukrainian People’s Republic in 1917, the Plast movement began to spread to what is now central Ukraine.

After the Soviet victory in the Ukrainian War of Independence in 1922, Plast was banned in the part of Ukraine that became the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Its development was hampered in parts of Ukraine under Romania and Poland, but Plast continued to flourish in Carpathian Ruthenia, a region of Ukraine under Czechoslovakia.

During World War II, Western Ukraine was occupied by the Soviet Union and annexed to the Ukrainian SSR. Throughout most of the Soviet era, Scouting was banned in Ukraine and the rest of the Soviet Union, but Plast continued its development in exile. Plast groups were organized by ethnic Ukrainians in Argentina, Austria, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other countries.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Scouting began to reemerge in Ukraine. In addition to the revival of Plast, other Scouting organizations were created, the biggest ones being SPOK (an acronym for “independence, decency, optimism, quick-wittedness” in Ukrainian) and Sich. None of the three organizations managed to get admitted into the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) individually, so they came together to form the National Organization of Scouts of Ukraine (NOSU).

The NOSU was founded in 2007 and became a WOSM member in 2008. It should be noted that, despite being the co-founders of the NOSU, Plast, SPOK and Sich remain independent Scouting organizations, and membership in any of them is not a prerequisite for joining the NOSU.

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Scouts’ Day in Ukraine, Plastun Day in Ukraine, observances in Ukraine, Scouting in Ukraine, Ukrainian Scouting organizations