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Scouting’s foundation

There are many occasions when parents would approach a Leader from a Cub Pack or a Scout Troop and enquire on the procedure for their boys to join the national Scout Movement.

After presenting the information to the parents or guardians and out of curiosity the Leader might ask the question: “Why is it that your son wants to join Scouting?”

The answers are wide and varied. However, one of the popular ones is: “He loves the uniform.”

Well if that is one of the reasons the Association can enter the lives of the youngsters in order to impart skills and virtues which would impact their lives, then that is very fine with the national administration.

Pioneer of the Scouting Movement

The world Scouting Movement traces its origins to England at the beginning of the 20th Century. The Movement owes much to British General Robert Baden-Powell, better known as Lord Baden-Powell. His formal title, granted in 1929, 22 years after the founding of the movement, was “Sir Robert Baden-Powell, Lord Gilwell”, or sometimes, “Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell”.)

History records that this outstanding individual was knighted by King Edward VII for his outstanding military career and especially for founding Scouting.

The story of his life makes interesting reading. It is said that his father died when he was 3 years old and his mother devoted herself to bringing up a rather large family of 10.

Baden Powell and his brothers were encouraged by their mother to make their own fun. They learned about the outdoors, built boats and sailed them and went on long journeys learning to look after themselves. In summary, it seems that these children did everything which was possible to have fun.

Let us compare the boys of today with the children in Baden Powell’s household. Today’s boys have all the current technological gadgetry availing on the market. From a GPS allowing them to track, solar gadgets to be using when camping and the list will go on for a very long time. It is amazing with all these “tools” available today, many boys still complain of being bored during the vacation period.

When in 1907 Baden-Powell decided to try out his ideas of Scouting with a group of boys, he wanted a place where he would not be interrupted by newspapermen, who were always interested in what the hero of Mafeking was doing. Some friends owned Brownsea Island in Dorset, which provided an ideal location.

At the end of July 1907, B-P and some other helpers took 21 boys and his nephew to camp for a week on the island. Some of the boys were sons of B-P’s friends, and others came from the Bournemouth and Poole Boys’ Brigade-another English youth group.

The boys had quite an exciting time. They apparently had never known anything like it before, because in those days no one went camping for their holidays! The boys swam, signalled, tracked, cooked, hiked and played games.

Every evening they sat round a camp fire and listened as B-P told them about his adventures in many parts of the world. The camp was a great success and the Scouting Movement as we know it today was underway.

Tent of the future

The Scouts Association in the UK has teamed up with E.On to take camping into the 21st century. The Scout Association and E.On have developed the “tent of the future”, which showcases modern technology and features a range of gadgets to help future campers.

Key features of the revolutionary tent include:

* Vertical wind turbines that catch wind and convert it into power

* Solar panels that harness sunlight and turn it into electricity

* Solar powered baseball caps with built-in torches for bedtime reading

* A portable battery that campers can use to charge gadgets and devices

* An intelligent sleeping bag that regulates body temperature.

The tent was on display at the Essex International Jamboree, where 11,000 Scouts have been able to witness the future of camping up close.

Happy campers

E.On conducted research on camping and spoke to 1,000 young people and more than 2,000 adults. The research revealed that half of the adult campers in the UK do it because they love the great outdoors. However, it also revealed that a lack of access to electricity to charge gadgets and plug-in appliances is putting off the next generation of campers.

The research found that over a third (36%) of young people under the age of 18 won’t camp because they can’t charge gadgets and over a quarter (28%) because they can’t watch TV. One in five (22%) worry about a lack of mobile phone signal and 16 per cent worry that they won’t be able to use their hairstyling appliances.

Nearly half (47%) of the young people interviewed would enjoy camping more if they could have a charging point for gadgets. The Tent of the Future hopes to change all that and make camping 100 per cent enjoyable for everyone.

It seems as though with the love affair the UK had with camping being diminished when it comes to the younger generation E.On sought to show how energy can be tapped and used even in Scouting without taking away the basic foundation but using the modern technologies to enhance the way forward in Scouting.

Scouting in America

An American publisher, William D. Boyce of Chicago, one day in the fall of 1909 recalls stopping under a street lamp to get his bearings. London was in the grip of one of its infamous dense fogs. Out of the gloom a boy approached him and asked if he could be of assistance.

Boyce happily accepted the offer. He told the boy that he wanted to find a business office in the centRWE of the city. I’ll take you there, said the boy. When they reached the destination, the American put his hand in his pocket for a tip.

The boy quickly stopped him. No, thank you, sir, he said. Not for doing a good turn.

And why not? asked Boyce.

Because I am a Scout. And a Scout doesn’t take anything for helping.

A Scout? And what might that be? Boyce asked.

The English Scout told the American publisher about himself and other English Scouts. Boyce was interested in what he heard. After finishing his errand, he had the boy take him to the British Boy Scout office.

There the boy saluted and disappeared and to this day has never been identified. At the headquarters Boyce met Robert Baden-Powell. Boyce was so impressed with what he learned about Scouting that he decided to introduce it to America.

Boyce and a group of other prominent Americans interested in the welfare of boys incorporated the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910, in Washington, D.C. That date has since been observed as the birthday of American Scouting.

No one knows who the Scout was who performed his Good Turn for Boyce, but he has not been forgotten. In Gilwell Park in London, American Scouts had a statue erected in his honor. The statue bears the inscription:

“To the Unknown Scout Whose Faithfulness in the Performance of the Daily Good Turn Brought the Scout Movement to the United States of America.

“To the Unknown Scout Whose Faithfulness in the Performance of the Daily Good turn brought the Scout Movement to the United States of America.”

Famous Quotes from the founder of Scouting

Loyalty is a feature in a boy’s character that inspires boundless hope.

The good turn will educate the boy out of the groove of selfishness.

Trust should be the basis for all our moral training.

We never fail when we try to do our duty, we always fail when we neglect to do it.

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