Last Saturday was the 157th birthday of Scouting’s’ founding father, Lord Baden Powell. To honour his memory, I sheep-shanked the dogs to the clothesline then lit the BBQ using a magnifying glass and an old bird nest.
As boys, my brother joined the Gladstone Dolphin Sea Scouts and had great time, while I was kept away from the place, which was a bit unfair because I just loved tying things up and starting fires.
To avoid emotional scarring I used to sneak glances at my brothers’ copy of ‘Scouting for Boys’ which taught me: how to identify enemy aircraft (MiG’s were a bit scarce in Gladstone’s skies), build a raft (it sank), send an emergency message using Morse code (completely useless on a sinking raft) and how to track animals (proficient in dog, cat and Guinea pig).
I eventually learned the correct way to build and start proper fires that didn’t end with frantic calls to emergency services, and even picked up a little first aid; particularly the treatment of minor burns.
Todays’ Scouts can also earn proficiency badges for IT, Electronics and Plumbing; skills I fully intend to exploit if a Scout troop ever knock on my front door during Bob-a-Job week.
Time and technology may have marched steadily onward since BP twiddled his toggle, but the fundamentals’ of Resourcefulness, Leadership, Teamwork, Community Service and Respect for self and others remain the hallmarks of the Scouting movement.
Plus they’re allowing girls to join and they’re signing up in droves; although I’m not too sure if any if any boys are clamouring at the doors of Girl Guides Huts demanding to be taught quilting and baking?
Still, I’m certain Lord BP would be well chuffed with Gladstone’s numerous, and thriving, Scouting groups, all keen to DYB, DYB, DYB, DOB, DOB, DOB.
Happy Birthday Old Silver Wolf.