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Life-Saving Scouts and Guards: Sunbeams and Chums

Wellington City Sunbeams, 1933

In 1911 the Salvation Army in Christchurch, New Zealand, created the ‘Life-Saving Scouts’, a uniformed movement for boys. Then in 1915 the ‘Life-Saving Guards’ began for girls. These brigades were in line with the Boy Scouts movement that began in New Zealand in 1910.

These Life-Saving troops spread rapidly around New Zealand in 1916. A Territorial Life-saving Scout and Guard Organiser, Ensign A.H. Charker, was appointed in 1918.

The 1920s and 1930s were the greatest years of prosperity for the Life-Saving troops. The ‘Sunbeams’ and ‘Chums’, corresponding with Brownies and Cubs, were created to cater for the younger children.

The Life-Saving Scouts and Guards movement was also a fertile field for soldiership. Many soldiers and officers would testify that these movements were their first introduction to the Salvation Army.