The China Mail.
Hongkong, Friday, October 30, 1914.
BADEN POWELL'S SCOUTS.
WORK OF ST. JOSEPH'S TROOPS.
The annual report on the first year's work of the two troops of St. Joseph's Boy Scouts, prepared by the Scoutmaster of the senior troop, Mr. A.J.Edwards, is a record of progress. We take from it the following extracts:-
The troop was formed as the result of a meeting of the scholars of St. Joseph's College presided over by the Rev. Brother Adrian on which occasion Major F.J.Bowen gave a splendid address on "Boy Scouts." At the conclusion of this meeting 48 boys expressed their desire to join the movement. Within a very short time the troop number 100. About the same time the "Old Boys" held a meeting and formed a senior troop under the name of St. Joseph's Body Guard.
On Saturdays during the colder season many instructive and interesting exercises were carried out in the district. I would like to point out here that the object of these schemes is not to implant into the mind of the Scout a military desire. The Chief Scout in his regulations to Scoutmasters clearly lays down this idea and whenever the exercise appears to be of a military nature it is practiced with one idea only, i.e. to teach the Scout to think for himself and to train him to become self-reliant and observant. In addition to these half day exercises, the troops held several all day schemes. At the end of one of these all day outings a small sports competition was held, many useful prizes being contributed by kind friends of the movement. Church parades have been held during the year at the Cathedral, St. Joseph's Church, Garden Road and Rosary Church, Kowloon. During the year many night exercises were held which had the effect of making the Scouts practice self reliance and observance in a practical manner.
In August the Troop was entirely reorganised. The charter incorporating the local troop with the London Association made it imperative that the Scouts should be British subjects. This naturally weakened us numerically, but, by no means diminished the enthusiasm of the boys. At the present time there are 48 boys in the Senior Troop and 30 in the Junior Troop making 75 in all. The troop is open to any British subject and in accordance with the expressed desire of His Excellency the Governor any English Boy on application for enrolment is requested to join the Cadet Corps.
During the recent mobilization the Senior troop slept at their Headquarters evening for about six weeks. They were instructed at the Military Hospital in a course of stretcher bearing and ambulance work and are ready for any call that may be made to them. Major Dorgan, R.A.M.C., the examining officer, in his examination expressed himself an highly satisfied with their work: 33 of the Troop gained certificates of proficiency at this test. Life saving badges were obtained by seventeen Scouts and many more are quite fitted to pass the test.
Early in September the "Official Inauguration" of the troop was held. The ceremony was performed by H.E. Major-General F.H.Kelly, C.B., who was accompanied by Bishop Pozzoni, Major F.J.Bowen, Colonel Watson, and Irwin, Major Mellardy, Brother Aimar and members of the "Board of Control."
During the year a fund for providing a Band and Hall for the Scouts was started. Handsome donations were received from an anonymous friend. Mr. Ho Kom Tong, Mr. Ellis Kadoorie, Mr. Ho Fook, Mr. Ho Tung, and many other friends with the result a bugle and Fife and drum band has been formed and is making rapid progress under the charge of Mr. A.Miller, who gives much time to train the Scouts. The Hall scheme is commencing to assume a practical form. We have been fortunate enough to obtain a suitable site granted to us by the military authorities through the instrumentality of Major McHardy, who has always shown the greatest interest in the welfare of the troop. This plot is in every way suitable and only a nominal sum is required for rental. The boys have undertaken to prepare by levelling, etc., in readiness for the erection of the building and also will carry out much of the interior work themselves. On their behalf I venture to approach the sympathisers of the movement to help us to finish our scheme.
The St. Joseph's College Old Boys Association who have always taken a real interest in the Scouts have formed a "board of control" to supervise the movement and I foresee in the near future a far greater success than in the past.
The Scoutmaster expresses thanks to Major Bowen, the Chief Scout, his Lordship Bishop Pozzoni, the French Fathers at Nazareth, Pokulam, Major Meffardy, Scoutmaster G.E.Roylance, Assistant Scoutmaster J.M.Braga and the Patrol leaders, to Dr. A.E.Coleman who kindly undertook to train the Junior Troop in first aid, to Mr. F.J.Brookes and Mr. F.Bell and others who at various times have rendered valuable assistance in training the Scouts.
The following qualifications have been obtained during the year:- 70 Scouts have qualified as Tenderfoots; 48 as second class Scouts; 33 ambulance badges; 17 swimming and life saving badges; 15 clerk's badges; 15 cook badges; 12 musician badges; 9 buglers. Many Scouts are ready to pass tests for additional proficiency badges.
In the coming days the Scouts will be taught carpentering and "hobby" feature of scoutcraft will be introduced. Our first year is over, we have made mistakes, and (???) been misunderstood, but I (???) (???) that in the future under the guidance of our Board of Control together with the cooperation of each and every Scout we shall press forward in the spirit of the founder of the movement and "Be prepared" for any call that may come to us.
Mr. H.Dixon, chairman of the Board of Control, appends the following appeal: It is proposed to erect the St. Joseph's Scouts Hall, a plot of ground has been leased at a purely nominal rental, and the entire cost of the building is $3,500. Monthly subscriptions on donations are invited from friends to defray the cost of the building. The Scouts will endeavour to raise money by means of concerts, torchlight displays, etc., to aid in defraying the cost of the hall. An initial amount of $500 is already available. Subscriptions payable to the Hon. Treasurer, Mr J.C.Ribeiro, Hongkong and Shanghai Bank.