Boy Scout Base Camp at the Indiana State Fair is making a comeback from August 4-20! The site needs lots of manpower to promote Scouting to potential and current families. Earn volunteer hours with your unit, family, or friends and help by sharing what you love most about the program. Volunteers will get free fair admission so that they can explore before or after their shift. Learn more and register.
One of the little secrets of scouting is that Baden Powell would not have had the fame and international renown if it were for a little known journalist of the era.
The journalist was the son of an extremely important family in Great Britain. His paternal grandfather was the Seventh Duke of Marlborough. The journalist was known for his daring and desire for excitement. He ranged through Africa during the colonial wars of the late 1800’s. He later became Lord of the Admiralty during World War I, Chancellor of the Exechequer (like the Secretary of the Treasury), and twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, known for his desire to fight Nazism and Communism.
His name was Winston Churchill.
Shortly after his second time as prime minister, Churchill wrote this remembrance of Lord Baden Powell, who had died over 10 years earlier.
“B. – P. ”
THE THREE most famous generals I have known in my life won no great battles over the foreign foe. Yet their names, which all begin with a B, are household words. They are General Booth, General Botha and General Baden-Powell To General Booth we owe the Salvation Army; to General Botha, United South Africa; and to General Baden-Powell, the Boy Scout Movement.
In this uncertain world one cannot be sure of much. But it seems probable that one or two hundred years hence, or it may be more, these three monuments that we have seen set up in our lifetime will still proclaim the fame of their founders, not in the silent testimony of bronze or stone, but as institutions guiding and shaping the lives and thoughts of men. I remember well the first time I saw the hero of this article, now Lord Baden-Powell. I had gone with my regimental team to play in the Cavalry Cup at Meerut. There was a great gathering of the sporting and social circles of the British Army in India. In the evening an amateur vaudeville entertainment was given to a large company. The feature of this was a sprightly song and dance by an officer of the garrison, attired in the brilliant uniform of an Austrian Hussar, and an attractive lady. Sitting as a young lieutenant in the stalls, I was struck by the quality of the performance, which certainly would have held its own on the boards of any of our music-halls. I was told:
“That’s B.-P. An amazing man! He won the Kader Cup, has seen lots of active service. They think no end of him as a rising soldier; but fancy a senior officer kicking his legs up like that before a lot of subalterns !”
I was fortunate in making the acquaintance of this versatile celebrity before the polo tournament was over. Three years passed before I met him again. The scene and the occasion were very different. Lord Roberts’ army had just entered Pretoria, and General Baden-Powell, who had been relieved in Mafeking after a siege of 217 days, was riding in two or three hundred miles from the Western Transvaal to report to the Commander-in-Chief. I thought I would interview him on behalf of the Morning Post and get a first-hand account of his famous defense.
We rode together for at least an hour, and once he got talking he was magnificent. I was thrilled by the tale, and he enjoyed the telling of it. I cannot remember the details but my telegram must have filled the best part of a column. Before dispatching it I submitted to him. He read it with concentrated attention and some signs of embarrassment, but when he had finished he handed it back to me, saying with a smile, “Talking to you is like talking to a phonograph.” I was rather pleased with it, too. In those days B.-P.’s fame as a soldier eclipsed almost all popular reputations. The other B.P, the British Public, looked upon him as the outstanding hero of the War. Even those who disapproved of the War, and derided the triumphs of large, organized armies over the Boer farmers, could not forbear to cheer the long, spirited, tenacious defense of Mafeking by barely eight hundred men against a beleaguering force ten or twelve times their numbers.
No one had ever believed Mafeking could hold out half as long. A dozen times, as the siege dragged on, the watching nation had emerged from apprehension and despondency into renewed hope, and had been again cast down. Millions who could not follow closely or accurately the main events of the War looked day after day in the papers for the fortunes of Mafeking, and when finally the news of its relief was flashed throughout the world, the streets of London became impassable, and the floods of sterling cockney patriotism were released in such a deluge of unbridled, delirious, childish joy as was never witnessed again until Armistice Night, 1918. Nay, perhaps the famous Mafeking night holds the record. Then the crowds were untouched by the ravages of war. They rejoiced with the light-hearted frenzy of the spectators of a great sporting event. In 1918 thankfulness and a sense of deliverance overpowered exultation. All bore in their hearts the marks of what they had gone through. There were too many ghosts about the streets after Armageddon.
One wondered why B.-P. seemed to drop out of the military hierarchy after the South African War was over. He held distinguished minor appointments; but all the substantial and key positions were parceled out among men whose achievements were unknown outside military circles, and whose names had never received the meed of popular applause.
There is no doubt that Whitehall resented the disproportionate acclamation which the masses had bestowed upon a single figure. Was there not something “theatrical”, “unprofessional” in a personality which evoked the uninstructed enthusiasms of the man-in-the-street? Versatility is always distrusted in the Services. The voice of detraction and professional jealousy spoke of him as Harley Street would speak of the undoubted cures wrought by a quack. At any rate, the bright fruition of fortune and success was soon obscured by a chilly fog through which indeed the sun still shone, but with a dim and baffled ray.
The caprices of fortune are incalculable, her methods inscrutable. Sometimes when she scowls most spitefully, she is preparing her most dazzling gifts. How lucky for B.P. that he was not in the early years of the century taken into the central swim of military affairs, and absorbed in all those arduous and secret preparations which ultimately enabled the British Expeditionary Army to deploy for battle at Mons!
How lucky for him, and how lucky for us all! To this he owes his perennially revivifying fame, his opportunity for high personal service of the most enduring character; and to this we owe an institution and an inspiration, characteristic of the essence of British genius, and uniting in a bond of comradeship the youth not only of the English-speaking world, but of almost every land and people under the sun.
It was in 1907 that B.-P. held his first camp for boys to learn the lore of the backwoods and the discipline of Scout life. Twenty-one boys of every class from the East End of London, from Eton and Harrow, pitched their little tents on Brownsea Island in Dorsetshire. From this modest beginning sprang the world-wide movement of Boy Scouts and girl guides, constantly renewing itself as the years pass, and now well over two million strong.
In 1908 the Chief Scout, as he called himself, published his book, Scouting for Boys. It appealed to all the sense of adventure and love of open-air life which is so strong in youth. But beyond this it stirred those sentiments of knightly chivalry, of playing the game – any game – earnest or fun – hard and fairly, which constitute the most important part of the British system of education. Success was immediate and far-reaching. The simple uniform, khaki shorts and a shirt – within the range of the poorest – was founded upon that of General Baden-Powell’s old corps, the South African Constabulary. The hat was the famous hat with the flat brim and pinched top which he had worn at Mafeking. The motto “Be Prepared” was founded on his initials. Almost immediately we saw at holiday times on the roads of Britain little troops and patrols of Boy Scouts, big and small, staff in hand, trudging forward hopefully, pushing their little handcart with their kit and camping gear towards the woodlands and parklands which their exemplary conduct speedily threw open to them. Forthwith there twinkled the camp fires of a vast new army whose ranks will never be empty, and whose march will never be ended while red blood courses in the veins of youth. It is difficult to exaggerate the moral and mental health which our nation has derived from this profound and simple conception. In whose bygone days the motto “Be Prepared” had a special meaning for our country. Those who looked to the coming of a great war welcomed the awakening of British boyhood. But no one, even the most resolute pacifist, could be offended; for the movement was not militaristic in character, and even the sourest, crabbiest critic saw in it a way of letting off youthful steam.
The success of the Scout movement led to its imitation in many countries, notably in Germany. There, too, the little troops began to march along the roads already trampled by the legions. The Great War swept across the world. Boy Scouts played their part. Their keen eyes were added to the watchers along the coasts; and in the air raids we saw the spectacle of children of twelve and fourteen performing with perfect coolness and composure the useful functions assigned to them in the streets and public offices. Many venerable, famous institutions and systems long honored by men perished in the storm; but the Boy Scout Movement survived. It survived not only the War, but the numbing reactions of the aftermath. While so many elements in the life and spirit of the victorious nations seemed to be lost in stupor, it flourished and grew increasingly. Its motto gathers new national significance as the years unfold upon our island. It speaks to every heart its message of duty and honor: “Be Prepared” to stand up faithfully for Right and Truth, however the winds may blow.
An organization sponsoring one or more scout units is a Chartered Organization. This is an organization who has entered into an agreement with Crossroads of America Council to follow the BSA system. Part of that agreement requires the Chartered Organization to appoint a member of the organization or a staff member of the organization to serve as the Chartered Organization Representative.
So that begs the question: what is a supposed a Chartered Organization Representative do?
A Chartered Organization Representative is supposed to serve as the chief scouting officer of the Chartered Organization. The COR makes sure that the scout units at the chartered organization have sufficient adult leaders as committee members, scoutmasters or cubmasters, and den leaders. The COR serves as a liaison between three organizations: (1) Crossroads of America Council as a voting member at the council annual meeting and as a voting member of North Star District, (2) the Chartered Organization, and (3) the scout unit.
Healthy scout units have active CORs. CORs visit unit meetings often enough to be aware of the unit’s needs and strengths but is not necessarily an active unit leader day-to-day. (CORs can serve concurrently as unit chairs, but not cubmaster or scoutmaster.) Active CORs have a specific role at the District level, so that the unit is providing resources to district and the district is responsive to a unit’s needs.
If your COR is not able to fulfill those duties personally, you should inquire whether a new COR is the best practice. If the Chartered Organization has a limited of persons who are eligible to serve as COR, you should work with your Unit Commissioner on finding the optimal solution for your COR.
Remember that the Chartered Organization has entered into a contract to appoint a COR who is able fulfill those duties. With that in mind along with “A scout is trustworthy [and] helpful . . .,” all CORs should be considering what their passion is that would make a meaningful contribution to District.
Please prepare your COR to expect to be asked to do some work for District. This can be specific tasks, such as serving as Camporee staff for a day or two a year or serving as an event staff for 500 Festival Parade activities of units. This can also be to accept a district committee position.
Since past practices ignored the proper role for CORs, there is a wide-spread reluctance to ask the COR to actively serve scouting. As a District, we are moving to Best Practices in many different ways. Asking CORs to actively serve, having the Chartered Organization to appoint new CORs, or having the Chartered Organization work with their Unit Commissioner to find a solution is one of those steps toward Best Practices.
Since “A scout is . . . help, friendly, [and] courteous . . .,” we are asking for your help to the implementation of this Best Practice as painless as possible. We understand that change can induce stress. This is a start of a process that will last for an indefinite period of time. The vision is clear and simple: have contributing CORs at the unit- and district-levels. The path to the vision is more obscure. Your input on how to make it successful is most welcome. Thank you in advance for your constructive input to make the path toward Best Practice less obscure.
Frank is often insightful. This is one of his more provoking articles. Not everyone will agree with his conclusion. His premise is incontrovertible: everything we do is for the boys.
What is your troop’s policy on these issues?
The Month of May in Indy has started!!! That means race cars, tourists, . . . and monthly scouting meetings.
Second Presbyterian Church is unable to host our meetings indoors, due to the church’s big May events. Our plan originally was to meet at the church’s picnic area for a truly scout-like meeting. Unfortunately, weather forecasts are for 95-100% chance of rain during the meeting time. The area would be very muddy.
We are now planning on moving the meetings for the District Committee at 7:00 pm and the District Commissioners at 6:00 pm t to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in the Main Building. Due to security concerns, St. Luke’s has implementated a new policy for access to the main building. All persons must enter through Door #6, on the north side of the building.
Turn left immediately inside Door #6 to find the rooms at the end of the corridor. The hallway you are seeking is on the far north end of the building.
Commissioners will meet in room N101/102.
Committee will meet in the room N103/104
Did you know that #Basecamp17 at the Indiana State Fair is right around the corner? Running the site to promote the Scouting program to potential and current Scouting families takes serious manpower and we could use your help! Register today to volunteer at Base Camp with your family, unit, or friends. Volunteers will have free fair entry so that they can explore before or after their shift. Learn more and register.
Congratulations to each of the following Eagle Scouts, who made rank at the specified Board of Review:
At a separate sitting of the Eagle Board of Review on April 21, 2017, Michael Knapp from Troop 180 (recently of T’Sun Gani District and now of North Star District).
Congratulations once again!
As the academic year winds down, many scouting units are thinking about leadership transitions and upgrades.
Transitions occur when Cub Leaders leave their packs to follow their son(s) to a boy scout troop. They occur when Scoutmasters retire when their son(s) reach Eagle of 18 years old. They occur when a scout leader has health issues.
Leadership upgrades occur when a handful of scout leaders seek to fill the many vacancies in their unit’s committee. Upgrades occur when leaders switch roles to refresh their own excitement and engagement or move into positions better suited to their individual talents: a banker moves into a treasurer’s role, a teacher moves into a scoutmaster corps role.
Some units are in communities where there are few adult volunteers available or few scouts to recruit. We informally call these areas “scouting deserts.”
District is looking to build teams of experienced scouters who can help offset some of the problems with scouting deserts. These experienced scouters are being asked to serve as part of our new “oasis teams.”
In our ideal vision an oasis team would be a semi-permanent team of scouters who would work together for a year or so. In that period of time, they would work together to rebuild or refine existing units or serve as an organizational committee for new units. In the vision, the oasis team would consist of 4-6 members per team. They would serve as a temporary unit committee or supplementation to a beleaguered unit committee.
The oasis team would assure that the unit has an annual calendar of activities and meetings; a unit budget that identifies the cost of a year’s program to a scout’s family; a fund raising plan to make sure all scouts can afford scouting; and a succession plan for the unit’s families to take over full time management of the unit with 4-6 months.
The transition plan would have the annual calendar and budget done in the first 60 days with the Oasis Team taking the lead. The plan would have the Oasis Team identify successor for each key position in days 61 through 120 and implement a training plan to have those successors 100% trained by Day 120. The successors would shadow the oasis team member who is mentoring the new volunteer. From days 121 to 180, the oasis team would switch roles. The oasis team mentors would shadow the new volunteer’s first steps in the role. At the end of six months, the oasis team would be replaced with a New-Unit Commissioner to advise the entire unit.
Ideally, North Star could use three Oasis Teams right now. That means we would like 18 experienced scouters.
Please contact Jeff Heck if you know a candidate for serving in this role. We would love to build these teams and begin implementing them before the end of May 2017.
Visit this special link. Buy a few car washes to support Troop 343. Find out how the program works from the customer side, then contact Crew Car Wash or other local vendors to find new and creative ways to raise money for your unit.