Cercetaşii României (Romanian for "Romania's Scouts" or "Romanian Scouts"; in full Organizaţia Naţională Cercetaşii României - "National Organization of Romanian Scouts") is the primary national Scouting organization of Romania. Founded in 1914, it became a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) in 1993.
The coeducational Cercetaşii României has 2,417 members as of 2008.
The translation of Baden-Powell's book Scouting for Boys into Romanian was published in 1915. That same year saw the official founding of the Cercetaşii României; on the occasion, Lord Baden-Powell sent a message of congratulations, with the admonition that Scouting should be adapted to the local situation.
During World War I, Romanian Scouts were very active in defense activities (see Romanian Campaign (World War I)). Ecaterina Teodoroiu guided a patrol of Scouts and Guides and was employed as a nurse, before joining the Romanian Army and dying a heroine. Many Scouts who helped the transporting of the wounded were killed during the air attacks. On September 29, 1916 Baden-Powell sent a message expressing regret to the Scouts for the death of their fellows. At the end of the war, the Boy Scouts marched in the front of the Victory Train, under the Triumphal Arch in Bucharest.
In 1920, 67 Romanian Boy Scouts and their leaders were present at the first World Jamboree in London, England. Before World War II, the Scout Movement developed further: many patrols were formed in towns and in villages, many camps, socials, expeditions and spectacles were organized, and a great number of magazines, literary writings and pedagogical studies were published for Scouts and their Chiefs. At the time, one of the devoted Boy Scouts was the philosopher Mircea Eliade.
In 1930, the first Romanian Scout Jamboree took place, in the presence of Hubert Martin and many delegations of Scouts and Guides from other countries. Cercetaşii României had 45,000 members at that point, and the Guides Movement had 14,000. The organizer and Chief of the Guides Movement was Princess Ileana, the daughter of Queen Marie.
Later, when the extremist movements (fascism and communism) divided the young generation, the Scout Movement remained an oasis of democracy, tolerance, peace and fraternity. Romanian Scouting preserved its apolitical character, but in 1937, it was replaced by a totalitarian organization, Străjeria, as part of the dictatorial measures initiated by King Carol II (alongside the creation of the National Renaissance Front). After the World War, there were attempts to restore the Scout Movement in Romania, but the emergence of the communist regime brought a ban on all alternative youth movements (see Pioneer movement in Romania and Union of Communist Youth#Pioneers).
After the Revolution of 1989, former Scouts and others, despite the difficult conditions, acted for the revival of Scouting in Romania. Cercetaşii României was again established in 1991, and in 1993 gained recognition by the World Bureau of the WOSM. In 2006, there are more than 2,000 registered Scouts.
The Scout Motto is Gata Oricând, translated as Always Ready in English; the Romanian noun for a single Scout is Cercetaş.
The membership badge of Cercetaşii României features a stylized snowflake.Promit pe onoarea mea să fac tot ce este posibil pentru: a servi patria mea România şi credinţa mea, a ajuta pe aproapele meu în orice moment, a mă supune Legii Cercetaşului.