As you remember of our previous post (How WFIS was founded) there was only 2 regions in 1996, English Region and the German Region. But how did we go from 2 to 5 regions? In this post we tell you how we have grown and become strong.
The English Region of WFIS wider the Membership via the different Oversea Branches of BPSA UK, several Camps and Trainings are hosted at Stainsby Training Centre. New Members in Ireland, Canada, USA and Ghana joined in the English Region.
On the other hand, the German Region had a challenge to be able to start working. It was not until January 1997 that the committee for the German Region was founded and the first by-laws written. Many bi- and multi-lateral meetings, camps and events followed soon and deepened relationship among WFIS members. More associations soon joined.
First common event was a camp for all leaders in Rädel near Berlin, Germany in May. Approximately 80 scout leaders participated in that first camp in WFIS history and a stone commemorating this event with an inscription was installed at the campground (it is still existing there).
In May 1998, the first WFIS camp for all scouts and cubs, with more than 300 WFIS scouts coming together for an unforgettable four-day-event. In the same year, the first American Association joined with 200 members.
In 2000, The first international WFIS camp took place in Poland. First Association from South America joined.
As many new associations joined in the meantime from various countries, decision was made to change the organization structure and the two initial regions joined to become an European Region.
After the first years of solid consolidation in Europe (many associations joined this region), in 2002 a new region was founded: North America Region followed by South America Region in 2003. In Africa, the first association joined in 2006 and it was not until 2010 that the Africa Region was created. In the same year, South East-Asia Region was founded in 2007 and the Asia Region formed in 2008 which soon became the region with the highest number of members. In the Middle-East Region firsts associations joined in 2010. In 2011 all American regions joined together to become an American Region
As a logical consequence of this growth, several groups of “old” scouts around the globe formed the “International Scout Fellowship” (ISF) with the main purpose to support scout groups and leaders within their countries and regions.
But not only the number of associations, countries and individual members were growing, groups within WFIS strengthened their ties with participations in each other’s camps and events like Common Summer camps, Internationals Jamborees, Eurocamps, Panam camps…
During this period and parallel to the rapid growth, WFIS introduced and started many common projects and programs. Starting with an own “Woodbeads” Training based upon common standards worldwide, Pathfinderbelt and Discovery Badge standards followed for Rover and Scout Teams, Penny-Actions were introduced or annual projects such as “Year of Good Turn”, “Circle of Friendship” for wolf cubs or “Scouts discover the World” for scout groups were subsequently added. All those programs and projects became more and more popular during the years that followed.
November 2015 marked an important step – as in that months (just 19 years and 1 month after the foundation) the magical benchmark of 5 Million members worldwide was reached! And the growing trend continues… making WFIS the most successful youth organization worldwide in present times.
In June 2014 we do reached an important point in WFIS history: almost three years after the World GA in Puebla/Mexico decided to start negotiations with the United Nations (UN), the World Federation of Independent Scouts was officially announced “Non-Government-Organization“ (NGO), registered with the United Nations (see the Press Note in UN website).
2016 the WFIS celebrate the 20 Years Anniversary at the place where all began.
Participants from all over Europe and Oversea Participated at that event in Laubach / Germany.
25 Years after the first steps as Independent Federation for Scouts and Guides around the World, WFIS reached the 7 Million Members mark. 151 individual Member Associations and Federations in 65 Countries are connected in a Worldwide Family of Scouts and Guides.
And remember that you can be part of our history by participating in our 25 Anniversary Logo Contest