Saturday, 22 February 2014

Scouting for boys

Well, well... or dyb dyb (and yes, that IS the way to spell it as it's short for 'do your best', the Scout Master's injunction to all young Scouts to which they heartily reply 'dob dob', short for 'yes of course, sir, we will do our best and certainly not allow our woggles to go wonky...)

But I digress. As I do rather a lot.

Today, February 22nd, is a very special day in the history of Scouting, Guiding, Beavering and Cubbing to say nothing of Brownieing and Rainbowing. Because on this very day in 1857 Big Chief Baden-Powell himself was born. Happy Birthday Skip.

Powell was an army officer, veteran indeed of the Boer War where one of his less auspicious claims to fame involves the invention of the concentration camp. A firm believer in fresh air and clean living,  B-P refused not only to sleep in the martial bed but shunned the martial bedroom entirely, preferring to sleep on the balcony in all weathers and at all times of year.

'We say to a boy, come and be good' he writes in his manifesto of the scouting movement. 'Well, the best class of boy - that is, the hooligan (yes, he really did say that!) replies I'm blowed if I'm going to be good'. (The term 'blowed' might well be a euphemism or a more polite substitution but is in any case not to be understood in the modern sense of the word, just to avoid any confusion). 

'But we say to him,' Lord B-P goes on, 'come and be a red Indian and dress like a scout, and he'll come along like anything.'

And they still do (come along like anything) 100-odd years later. And if that isn't a cause for celebration then I don't know what is. 

So, is your son or daughter a Guide or a Beaver, Rainbow or Scout? I never quite made it myself, giving up after Cubs. Wasn't even a sixer, either. Did make seconder though. And had fun in the gang show. 
Thanks B-P. Long may such innocent fun continue.

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