NameBoys' Brigade (BB); 1883-; British Christian youth organisation
BiographyThe Boys' Brigade (BB) is an interdenominational Christian youth organisation, conceived by William Alexander Smith to combine drill and fun activities with Christian values.] Following its inception in Glasgow in 1883, the BB quickly spread across the United Kingdom and became a worldwide organisation by the early 1890s. As of 2003, there were 500,000 Boys' Brigade members in 60 countries.

The stated object of the Boys' Brigade is "The advancement of Christ's kingdom among Boys and the promotion of habits of Obedience, Reverence, Discipline, Self-respect and all that tends towards a true Christian manliness." Except for the addition of the word "obedience" in 1893, the contents of the object has remained unchanged from the beginning.] However, some countries, particularly those which permit girls on their membership roll, have re-worded the object for gender neutrality. For example, in Malaysia, the word "manliness" has been changed to "character".

When designing the Brigade's motto and crest, William Smith referred directly to Hebrews 6:19 in the King James Version of the Bible, "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast...".

From this verse came the BB motto, "Sure and Stedfast", retaining the old spelling of the latter word.] Today, some parts of the movement (The UK & ROI Only!) have adopted the modern spelling of "steadfast", whilst all others continue to use the original spelling.

The crest was originally a plain anchor, bearing the BB motto with a capital 'B' on either side. Upon the merger between the Boys' Brigade and the Boys' Life Brigade in 1926, the red Greek cross was placed behind the anchor to form the current emblem. The cross originally formed part of emblem of the Boys' Life Brigade.

The Boys' Brigade was founded in Glasgow by Mr. W.A. Smith in 1883 to develop Christian manliness by the use of a semi-military discipline and order, gymnastics, summer camps and religious services and classes.

By 1910, there were about 2200 companies connected with different churches throughout the United Kingdom, the British Empire and the United States, with 10,000 officers and 100,000 boys.

In May 1903, Robert Baden-Powell became vice-president.

Robert Baden-Powell who as Vice President of the Boys' Brigade used it alongside initiatives in schools, particularly Eton, to promote the idea of scouting and outdoor pursuits based on those of the military for boys.] This was done with an experimental camp on Brownsea Island Scout camp with the Boys from Eton College Eton & Harrow, together with members of the Bournemouth & Poole Boys' Brigade Units. At the time, he did not originally intend that any individual organization would later arise from this aim in the form of the various Scouting movements.[citation needed] Scouting badges (Silver & Gold) were awarded in The Boys' Brigade and there were specialised Boys' Brigade Scout sections, which operated as part of a BB Company, but met at different times, who wore a blue uniform with shorts and the distinctive Smokey Bear hat traditionally identified with Scouts. However, nowadays there is a certain friendly rivalry between the two groups. Two of the Original Boys' Brigade Scout units still exist in the names of 1st Parkstone Scout Group and 1st Hamworthy Scout Group, both formerly sub units of the 1st Poole Boys Brigade.[citation needed] The 1st Bournemouth Scout Group which was run by the 1st Bournemouth Boys' Brigade was in fact a 'BP' Scout Group and never a 'BB Scout 'Section'.

In October 1926 the Boys' Brigade united with The Boys' Life Brigade. The merger also prompted the abandonment of dummy drill rifles that had been used in The Boys' Brigade, due to the Life Brigade's objection to use of weapons or their representations. The Junior organisation of the Boys' Brigade prior to 1926 was called 'The Boy Reserves' but after amalgamation the juniors were called 'The Life Boys'. The name came from the fact that the junior reserve of The Boys' Life Brigade had been known as 'Lifeboys' (all one word). The Life Boys remained as the 'Junior Reserve of the Boys' Brigade until 1966 when the name was changed to 'The Junior Section'.

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