Who Are We ?  

Corpo Nacional de Escutas (CNE)

We are the national catholic scout association, founded in 1923 in the city of Braga.

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The History of the Association

The Corpo Nacional de Escutas (National Scouts Corp - Portuguese Catholic Scouting) was founded in the city of Braga on May 27th, 1923, by Archbishop Manuel Vieira de Matos and Dr. Avelino Gonçalves. Their first contact with the Scout Movement was in Rome, back in 1922, when they attended a parade of 20.000 Scouts, on the occasion of the International Eucharistic Congress.

D. Manuel Vieira de Matos

Dr. Avelino Gonçalves

After getting well documented about Scouting, they returned to Braga and got together with a group of 11 brave local citizens to have the first meeting on May 24th, 1923. They studied the possibility and opportunity of establishing a group of Portuguese Catholic Scouts. And so was founded the Corpo de Scouts Católicos Portugueses (CNS - Portuguese Catholic Scouts Corp), having the statutes been approved on the 27th of May.

In January, 1925 met in Braga - for the first time - the National Office, composed of: D. Manuel Vieira de Matos, General Director; D. José Maria de Queirós e Lencastre, National Commissioner; Dr. Avelino Gonçalves, Grand Inspector; Captain Graciliano Reis S. Marques and Álvaro Benjamim Coutinho, Board Members.

The association spread from north to south of Portugal and, as a way of communicating between all groups, was issued in February, 1925 the "Flor de Lis", the official journal. Later, in January, 1945, became a magazine.

In 1925 some members of the association went to Rome and met with Pope Pius XI. The Pope addressed them words of encouragement and esteem for the progress and expansion of the Movement in Portugal.

The 1st National Camp was held in August, 1926, in Aljubarrota, and helped spreading Scouting among the portuguese youth. Several regional offices started this year, and in the next year more offices were established. The 2nd National Camp happened in 1928, in Cacia.

When Baden-Powell visited Portugal in 1929, 700 catholic scouts participated in a parade do salute the Chief. In this same year, CNS was accepted as member of World Bureau of Scouting, and 26 scouts participated in the 3rd World Jamboree in Arrowe Park (England). Baden-Powell himself addressed the President of the Republic of Portugal in a letter, regarding the presence of CNS scouts in the Jamboree: "… they distinguished themselves in camp for their intelligence, discipline, efficiency and most of all for the kindness and charming spirit of friendship for their brothers in scouting and any other person they contacted."

In 1934 was published the first regulation allowing women to enter the CNS as Cub Leaders. In this same year, Baden-Powell visited Portugal again but, due to his illness, he didn't came out of the ship, saluting about 2000 scouts from the deck. Also this year, a new Regulation was issued and the association gained a new designation: Corpo Nacional de Escutas (CNE). The change was made in the word "Scout" thereafter substituted by the word "Escuta".

In 1950 the National Headquarter moves from Braga to Lisbon and in the following years Leaders go abroad for Wood Badge courses (namely in Gilwell Park). In the following National Camps, participant numbers rise to the thousands of scouts.

In 1976 young girls are allowed to join the CNE, being considered by some the starting of co-education in the association.

CNE has today over 70.000 members in over 1.000 groups distributed in 20 Regions.

In 2002 we had our 20th National Camp.

In 2003 we hosted RoverWay2003, an international camp for rovers from Europe.

How we are organized into Regions

CNE is organized in 20 Regions, each one having it's own Regional Office. This geograhpical distribution is made according to dioceses borders.

  • Açores (Islands)
  • Algarve
  • Aveiro
  • Beja
  • Braga
  • Bragança
  • Coimbra
  • Évora
  • Guarda
  • Lamego
  • Leiria
  • Lisboa
  • Madeira (Islands)
  • Portalegre e Castelo Branco
  • Porto
  • Santarém
  • Setúbal
  • Viana do Castelo
  • Vila Real
  • Viseu

Some of the Regions have many groups and because of that each one of them is itself organized into areas (called "Núcleo").