The Isle of Wight has been associated with Scouting from the very beginning. Three Island Groups are named in the official list of the first one hundred Groups to start up (and all are still running today).
These were 1st Newport – The Old Guard, 1st Sandown (1st Isle of Wight) and 1st Shanklin. These were all started in 1908.
The other claim to fame is that Lord Somer (the Chief Scout that followed BP) was born at Freshwater. With the current Chief, Bear Grylls, being brought up at Bembridge, we have close associations with the highest position in scouting.
The County was initially just two Districts: East and West. It increased gradually to a maximum of six which were South; South East; South West; Central; North and North West in the 1940’s before reducing to just two again, the same as the originals, East and West.
In 1937, 28 acres of land were purchased as a County Camp Site for £300. Over the years it has been the spiritual home of scouting on the Island and is the jewel in the crown as far as most Scouts and Scouters are concerned. With access to the Creek it can provide all Scouts a perfect place to spend time at one with nature.
Island Scouts also have a very close relationship to the Royal Family and many members of royalty have attended Scouting events here. These include Princess Beatrice (Queen Victoria’s daughter); Queen Mary and the Prince of Wales; Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip; Lord Louis Mountbatten; Prince Edward; Princess Anne; Prince and Princess Michael of Kent; Prince Charles and The Duke of Kent.
Just a few Chief Scouts who have visited the island include Baden Powell, Lord Somers, and of course Bear Grylls, although never in an official capacity.
Although the Island is geographically small, with a small population, we have provided the support for a number of lesser-known but important scout events. Vera Barclay, who designed the Wolf Cub program for BP spent a large part of her life on the Island, Lt-Col P. Murray (D.C. for North East Wight) was the personal assistant to BP during the Sea Cruises in the 1930s, Dr. Frank Kennedy was the doctor on the Scout Train Cruise in the 1930s. Volunteers from the Island have supported hundreds of events nationally ever since from selling programs at Coronations to staffing Jamboree sites.