During his lifetime Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the worldwide Scouting movement, wrote many books and articles directed to Scouters.
Each Sunday I’ll publish a selection from his writings in the hope that you’ll draw inspiration and understanding from his timeless ideas.
I AM writing this in the train, crowded up with eleven others in the carriage; no room for luggage, no porters, or taxis at the station to carry it if I had; and I am starting off on a trip of at least a week.
I take with me my “grip,” as the Americans call holding a few small necessaries but no other clothes. The Standard suit that I am wearing will suffice for all the different occasions of my trip. Besides travelling by train I expect to go into camp for a day or two. I have to attend a conference and also a rally. I hope to stay with friends for a couple of nights and possibly to get a few hours’ fishing. Before the war I should have wanted a lot of luggage with me to provide the necessary mufti — evening clothes, fishing kit, and uniform.
As it is I go in my Standard suit, which does equally well for every one of these functions — the Scout uniform.
As our uniform has passed muster at Buckingham Palace when one of our Commissioners appeared in it recently to be decorated by the King for his work with the Scouts, it is surely good enough to be accepted anywhere else.
But — well, I had to comment in The Scout the other day on the slovenly get-up of some Scouts I had seen, and I am perfectly certain in my own mind that their Scoutmaster (though I had not seen him) does not dress himself correctly or well.
Smartness in uniform and correctness in detail seems a small matter to fuss about, but has its value in the development of self-respect, and means an immense deal to the reputation of the Movement among outsiders who judge by what they see.
It is largely a matter of example. Show me a slackly-dressed Troop and I can “Sherlock” a slackly-dressed Scoutmaster. Think of it, Scoutmasters, when you are fitting on your uniform or putting that final saucy cock to your hat. You are the model to your boys and your smartness will reflect itself in them.