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’M not satisfied, although one might think I ought to be.
Our numbers are steadily growing– training centres increasing; Scout spirit good; and so on. But there is too much leakage, and also too little character-growth– as yet. Leakage of Cubs not going up to Scouts; of Scouts not going up to Rovers, etc.– this comes from various causes. In some cases it is difficult to remedy, but in many cases the reason is that the boys have become tired of Scouting. With an understanding Group Scoutmaster this seldom happens. But where the same old programme, or want of programme, goes on week after week, and month after month, boredom is only natural.
Where the Scouter is himself a bit of a boy, and can see it all from the boy’s point of view, he can, if he is imaginative, invent new activities, with frequent variations to meet the boys’ thirst for novelty. Note the theatres in London. If they find that a play does not appeal to the public, they don’t go on hammering away with it in the hope that it will in the end do so; they take it off and put on some new attraction.
Boys can see adventure in a dirty old duck-puddle, and if the Scoutmaster is a boy-man he can see it too. It does not require great expense or apparatus to devise new ideas: the boys themselves can often help with suggestions.
Where a Troop resounds with jolly laughter, and enjoys success in competitions, and the fresh excitements of new adventures, there won’t be any loss of members through boredom. Then outdoor camping– not merely occasional sips of it– but frequent practice so that the boys become experienced campaigners– will hold those of the best type and will give a healthy tone to their thoughts and talks.
I have little use for a cut-and-dried routine system in a Scout Headquarters building, with its temptation to softer living and parlour Scouting.