Hongkong Daily Press.
Hongkong, Thursday, August 3rd, 1916.
HONGKONG BOY SCOUTS.
THE ASSOCIATION A "COMPLETE FAILURE."
PRINCIPAL OBJECT FAILS.
"It is with the deepest regret that I have to inform you of the complete failure of this Association." With this somewhat startling announcement Mr. A.M.Preston, Hon. Secretary of the Hongkong B.P. Boy Scouts Association, commenced his report which was presented at an extraordinary general meeting of the Association held at the Hongkong Hotel last evening.
The report continued:-
"Founded on the 23rd July, 1915, the Association lacked from the very outset that cooperation on the part of members which is essential to such a venture. The objects of the Association briefly were, as you will remember, to control the Scout movement in this Colony, which was then without adequate organisation, and to provide a Hall for recreation. It was anticipated by this means a great improvement could be effected not only in discipline but in the general morale and efficiency of the Boy Scouts of the Colony. In order to carry out these objects it was necessary to raise sufficient money to build the Hall and a permanent inflow of subscriptions to provide for the management and upkeep of the Hall and payment of petty incidental expenses such as stationery, printing, etc. When the Association was formed there were several bills outstanding against the Boy Scouts, which the Association adopted. The sum of $3,600 was raised by public subscription for building the Hall. Plans were prepared by Mr. Rosser, Hon. Architect to the Association, and the gratitude of the Association to this gentleman for the very great trouble and time which he has gratuitously expended in this matter cannot be too warmly expressed. The first plans were submitted to the Building Committee (formed to administer the funds) and after mature consideration the Architect was requested to strengthen the proposed building, which involved substantial alterations in the plans. The Architect has prepared fresh plans and has obtained estimates. The lowest estimate, he informs me, is $4,350. A really durable Hall cannot be more cheaply built. It is felt that during the War, at any rate, it will be impossible to raise the difference. The principal object of the Association, therefore, fails.
"Furthermore, the Association has failed in other respects also. With the exception of four, no members have paid their subscriptions which became due on the 1st October laid. The bills (referred to above) are still unpaid; this, however, is of minor importance, and probably due to want of sufficient reminders. No disciplinary measures can be exercised by the Association unless all Troops of Scouts are registered. No single Troop has registered.
"The Kowloon Troop has registered itself with the Registrar of Societies as an Association, thereby severing, presumably, all connection with this Association. No explanation has been given by the Scoutmaster-in-charge.
"The English Boys have declined to join the Association upon the ground that they will derive no benefits from so doing. Mr. Crowther Smith, Scoutmaster-in-charge, proposes, with the full approbation of His Excellency the Governor, to form a Junior Cadet Corps which will take over the English boys. The training of this unit will, I understand, be much the same as Boy Scout training, with the addition of military work suitable to boys of that age.
"The St. Joseph's College Troop is the only Troop which remains. The Scoutmaster, J.M.Braga, informs me that his emission to register is due to an oversight. The senior Boys of this Troop under Scoutmaster Edwards have been absorbed by the Volunteers and the Special Police, but the remainder form a very flourishing Troop and are well worthy of your continued support.
"Under these circumstances, therefore, I submit that the best course is for the Association to be wound up. This will not mean the end of the Scout movement in the Colony. The St. Joseph's College Troop will carry on in Hongkong and the Kowloon Troop in the New Territories, under the supervision of the Commissioner (Rear-Admiral Anstruther) as heretofore. The alternative course is to endeavour to raise the money required to erect the Building designed by Mr. Rosser.
"In the event of the meeting being favourable to the dissolution of the Association, it is suggested that the interest on the Building Fund amounting to $80.93 should be used in payment of the debts adopted or incurred by the Association and the repayment to the four members (mentioned above) of their subscriptions, and that the balance of the Building Fund should be returned as far as possible to the donors, and any balance handed to charity."
The following resolutions were also submitted to the meeting by the Hon. Secretary:-
1.- That it has been proved to the satisfaction of the members of this Association that this Association cannot carry out the principal objects for which it was formed, and that it is advisable to wind up the same, and that accordingly the Association be wound up.
2.- That the fund collected by public subscription for the erection of a Hall be refunded as far as possible to the donors; that the balance which cannot be refunded, either by reason of its having been anonymously given or otherwise, be given to some charitable object.
3.- That the debts incurred or adopted by this Association and the subscription already paid by members be paid and/or repaid out of the interest accruing on the said fund.
4. - That a vote of thanks be passed in favour of Mr. F.Endell Rosser, the Honorary Architect, for his great services to this Association.
All the resolutions were passed at the meeting, which was presided over by Rear-Admiral Anstruther, without dissent. It was also decided that the funds subscribed towards the building fund should be invested in war funds for the duration of the war, and that any interest accruing should be used for paying off the debts of the Association.