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.
IN the Headquarters Report of one of our Oversea branches it is stated that a large percentage of decrease in numbers of Scouts occurs in about the third month of their service in the Movement, and Scoutmasters are warned to look into their method of handling Scouting to make sure that it meets the expectation of the lads.
I don’t know how far such defection goes on among our Scouts in Britain, but I do know that very much the same thing happened in the army some years ago, when a considerable proporton of the recruits took to deserting after about three months of service.
In my own regiment I looked into the matter from the young soldier’s point of view, and I realised that he had figured to himself all the romance and swagger of thelr soldier’s life before he enlisted, and afterwards found that he was condemned to a long period of drill and discipline in recruit’s clothing and practically imprisoned within the barrack walls.
It was at that time that I tried the experiment of Scouting among young soldiers, and I got them to learn their soldiering for themselves through interest instead of having it dinned into them by interminable drill and routine.
In a very short while desertion ceased and the men became efficient in half the time.
They found that soldiering was, after all, a game instead of an infernal affliction.