HUNGARIAN SCOUTS IN EXILE
Hungarian Scouting was founded in 1909. It was officially abolished in Hungary in 1948. In 1989 it was again legalized. Our organization started operating in the displaced persons camps in Germany and Austria in 1948 as the Paul Teleki Scout Association. In 1948, we renamed ourselves as the Hungarian Scout Association. In 1989, we returned the Association's original seal to Hungary and gave it to the new Hungarian Scouts Association.
In the early fifties, the DPs (Displaced Persons, refugees from the Second World War and the new Communist regimes in Eastern Europe) started emigrating to various overseas countries. Our first overseas troop was founded in 1950 in Rio De Janeiro (unfortunately the troop has since disbanded). Our 2 troops in Caracas, Venezuela are still active. After Brazil and Venezuela, troops were founded in the USA, Canada, Australia, and other countries. The organization grew from about 1000 members in the early 50's to over 6000 members in the late seventies. Today, we are 4500 strong and have 70 troops on our rolls. We have active five districts worldwide: I. Europe (Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Great Britain), II. South America (Brazil and Argentina), III. (USA and Venezuela), IV. Australia, and V. Canada. Our largest district is the III. We have four councils in the 3rd district - New York (with troops in New York City (2), Passaic, NJ (2), New Brunswick, NJ (2), Philadelphia (2), and Washington (1)). The Cleveland council has troops in Cleveland (4), Chicago, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh. Our California council has troops in San Francisco (2) and Los Angeles (4). Our Venezuelan district has 2 troops in Caracas.
Typically, we have a Boy Scout and Girl Guide troop in most cities that have substantial Hungarian populations. We are either closely affiliated or actually operate most Hungarian weekend schools around the world.
We held celebrations of our 50th anniversary and had Jamborees in the USA (Fillmore, NY), Europe (Germany), and Australia (near Melbourne).
We base on our work on carrying out our obligations at four levels (God, our adopted countries, our fellowman and the Hungarian nation).
Our ties are close not only with the Hungarian Scouts Association (in Hungary), but with the Hungarian Scout Associations in Slovakia, Subcarpathian-Ukraine, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Each of these countries has significant Hungarian minorities who have re-established the Scouting movement. Since the advent of democracy (1988) we have trained almost 500 scoutmasters and assistant scoutmasters for these brother associations.
The World Organization of the Scout Movement, maintain ties and provide support to the re-emerging Scouting movements in the countries of their birth.
REBIRTH OF THE MOVEMENT IN HUNGARY
Scouting in Hungary was reorganized in 1989. For many, it was surprising to see how quickly and energetically it was done. But there is a very simple secret behind this quick resurgence. Scouting was well organized and popular in Hungary until it was banned in 1948. Even in those decades when Scouting was banned, former Scouts kept the spirit of Scouting and ran children's programs in a more or less Scout way, often taking the risk of imprisonment. The émigré Hungarians in the west were able to keep the organization going. For them, Scouting gave an excellent opportunity to teach their children about the homeland of the fathers, which they had to leave.
Hungary was a founding member of the International Scout Bureau in 1922 and later the Guides organization, WAGGS, which was in fact established in Parad, Hungary, in 1928. Also, in 1920, the magazine "Hungarian Scout" was first published. In 1924, at the Copenhagen Jamboree, Hungarian Scouts attending their last jamboree, came third in the competition of the nations behind British and American Scouts. They were especially good at water sports, which was indeed astounding, as Hungary is a land-locked country.
The first National Jamboree in 1926 already had 10,000 participants. Hungary hosted the 4th World Jamboree in Godollo in 1933. 26,000 scouts from 54 nations camped together. The camp chief was Pal Teleki, the member of the International Committee who later became Prime Minister of Hungary. For the first time there was a sub camp for Scouts taking part in aviation.
Due to the amazing events to take place in 1989, civic organizations could be organized or reorganized. The Hungarian Scout Association has been reorganized and registered with 20,000 members. The Hungarian Scout Association has been recognized by the World Organization of Scout Movements in 1990 as a full member.
A new feature of the movement is that it is not town oriented as it was before the war. Scout troops are organized in more and more villages, where scouting gives almost the only opportunity for many children to be part of a children's program. In the old times groups belonged mainly to schools, now they more often belong to parishes.
The association is not single sex anymore. As the educational system is co-educational, it would be strange for young people to be in a single sex organization. therefore, it was decided that the units or patrols would be single-sex but troops would consist of boys and girls patrols.
The association, for obvious reasons, has much less property than it used to. But it already has its own Scout Camp on the outskirts of Budapest. Interestingly enough, this property as a long term lease, was obtained by the Association because at the forestry commission, former Scouts lobbied for it saying it would be of better use as a Scout camp than as a golf course. This Scout camp is open to visiting Scouts. It is important to point out that the visiting scouts donated their time, energy and financial means to improve the infrastructure of the park.
The Hungarian Scouts organized in their independent associations in the Hungarian minority areas in neighboring Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine and Serbia. Scouting makes it possible for them to learn more about their own heritage, language and culture.
In 1991, 20 Scouts of the Hungarian Scout Association participated in the Jamboree in Korea and in 1995, 70 Scouts in Holland represented Hungarian Scouting.
Scouting is alive and well in Hungary. It is growing rapidly and the future looks bright. There are 20,000 Scouts in 3 sections:
Sík Sándor Hungarian Scout Park