Dear Commissioner

Dear Leaders in Scouting,

I am writing this letter to get some information about Scouting, its programmes and how I can get my sons involved. First I should let you know that I am a mother with three (3) boys ages five, seven and 11+. The one who is 11+ will be soon 12 and will be attending secondary school in September. I have always been following Scouting, as I have a neighbour who has two sons in the Barbados Boy Scouts Association and I love to see when they are all dressed up in their uniforms and taking part in the various activities which would grant them their badges upon completion. And I must say that I also line the route with my children when they have that big service at the gymnasium. It is wonderful to watch the hundreds of boys and their Leaders marching down the road with the flags flying. It is really a sight to behold. I just love it and my sons love it just as well. That is why I am writing because as the holidays are coming to a close, I see my neighbour rinsing out her sons’ uniforms and getting them ready for September. She has already told me that the Scout Group will normally start back to meet on the second week after the boys get back to school. I want my three boys to join the Scouting Movement. Could you please tell me a little bit about the organization and how my boys can join the movement?

Many thanks and I will continue to look at Barbados TODAY for your reply.

Yours Sincerely,

A Parent

Dear Parent,

Thanks for your letter seeking information on the Scout Movement on a whole and that of the Barbados Boy Scouts Association. I am sure you will be aware that it would be extremely difficult to offer all the necessary relevant information in a letter but I will try to get as much information to you as to give you an excellent start.

What is Scouting?

Scouting is an international youth movement with a membership of more than 28 million youth and adults in over 160 national Scout organizations in over 217 countries and territories. It is also a non- formal educational organization whose aim is to develop good citizenship among boys by assisting in the formation and development of character; training them in habits of observation, obedience and self- reliance; inculcating loyalty, patriotism, courage and thoughtfulness for others. Scouting also promotes their physical, mental, moral and spiritual development.

The Programme

The Programme is a seamless progression of training, activities and awards that covers everything that young people do in Scouting from the age of 4 to 21. The Programme is divided into four age groups called Sections.

Beaver Scouts 4 – 7 years

Cub Scouts 7 – 10Ω years

Scouts 10Ω – 15Ω years

Venture Scouts 15Ω – 21 years

The Programme is based around helping young people to grow in a number of personal development areas to ensure young people really are ‘learning by doing.’

The Association

Scouting in Barbados is administered by the Barbados Boy Scouts Association. The Association has jurisdiction over the entire island and its headquarters is located at “Hazelwood,” Upper Collymore Rock, St. Michael. The first Troop on the island was registered on 9th March 1912 at Combermere School, just five years after Scouting was founded. At present, the Association is headed by H.E. Sir Elliott Belgrave, Chief Scout & President and Dr. Nigel Taylor who is the current Chief Commissioner.

The island is divided into three districts – Bridgetown, North and South, so your sons will be able to meet many Scouts from other packs from other schools when they attend District and even national events.

The Beaver Scout Section

Your son who is five years of age can join the Beaver Scouts Section as they are the first and youngest of the Scouting family. Beaver Scouts enjoy making friends, playing games and usually meet in their colonies where they are introduced by a variety of methods to accomplish the Beaver programme. It is certain that he will enjoy the sleep-over (that is the time he most likely spend his first night away from home without his parents being present).

The Cub Scout Section

Your son who is seven years old can easily be invested when he is ready and has been prepared as a Cub Scout for this Section caters for boys aged between seven and 10Ω years who want to make friends and develop their widening interests in ways that are both educational and fun. This fun way of learning is based on The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling.

The Programme in this Section is divided into progressive stages called Arrows. The boys move upward from Bronze to Silver then to Gold Arrow with the highest achievement in the programme being the Mahogany Award. During the Cub Scout years there are a vast number of exciting Proficiency Badges to be gained.

Each Cub Scout Pack consists of small groups (called Sixes) of approximately six boys, one of whom is called the Sixer who is designated to help the adult Leader by sharing the responsibility of maintaining order and sharing information within the Six. Sixers also have an assistant called a Second who also shares the responsibilities. Guidance and supervision for this group is given by adult Leaders called Akelas and many other Assistant Leaders.

The Scout Section

I am happy that your son who is 11+ is anxious to join Scouting. He will be placed within the Scouting Section for either the Scouts or the Sea Scouts, depending on which Troop he joins. This Section is for boys aged between 10Ω and 15Ω years who want to make friends and develop their widening interests.

Activities are typically about action and involvement and mean more than just camping. Hiking, sailing, pioneering, canoeing, First Aid, motor mechanics, electronics, amateur radio and photography are just some of the things they can do.

Each Scout Troop consists of small groups (called Patrols) of six to eight young Scouts, one of whom is the Patrol Leader. Patrol Leaders share responsibility with the adult Leader for maintaining standards and training within the Troop. All Scouts are encouraged to take part in the decision making process and regular Forums provide the opportunity for them to contribute towards the planning of the Troop’s activities which are mainly outdoors.

The Programme in this Section is divided into four progressive Stages. Membership Badge, Track & Trail Awards, Course & Traverse Awards, and the Chief Scout Award.

There is another Section called the Venture Scout Section for the older boys. It is not mentioned in this response but you can contact any Scout Leader to get the information or contact the National Headquarters or the Scout Shop. I am sure those persons will be happy to assist you.

You have been presented with some information which I hope would assist you and your sons as they look forward to join this outstanding youth movement. A few photos have been included to show you the boys in action.

Good Hunting!

Barbados Boy Scouts Association

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