Hongkong Sunday Herald.
Hongkong, Sunday, January 12, 1930.
Vol. VII. No. 236.
Page 1 & 9
SCOUTS' TRAINING CENTRE
OFFICIAL OPENING OF SAIWAN CAMP
MRS. SOUTHORN ON NATURE
A Cold But Happy Time
CHINESE GUIDES MAKE AN IMPRESSIVE SHOWING
"I light this fire as a symbol of the Spirit of Brotherhood and Self Sacrifice, of Honest Endeavour and Kindly Service, the Spirit of Reverence for God, Mankind, and Self, which should ever dwell in the hearts of us all, and especially of those who shall abide in these bounds," were the words stirringly uttered by Mrs. W.T.Southorn as she lit the huge Camp Fire by way of opening the Scouts' new training camp at Saiwan Bay yesterday afternoon.
AN IDEAL SITE SECURED
In spite of the rain in the earlier part of the morning and the cold which set in later, there was quite a good gathering at Saiwan Bay yesterday afternoon on the occasion of the official opening of the Scout Officers' Training Camp and Scouts' Camping Ground - the "Gilwell" of Hong Kong.
The plot of ground which had been acquired for the purpose by the local Scout Association is commonly known as Barker's Island. There are a small bungalow, a yardarm and several outhouses on the summit of a miniature hill, while at the foot there is ample ground for camping out. In fact, it is doubtful whether a more suitable ground could be found in Hong Kong for that purpose. There is also an excellent beach to bathe from, and if the undergrowths and rank weeds were removed, which they will be in time, Saiwan Bay is the ideal ground for a training centre for Scouts.
Scouts and Guides Busy
Long before the time set for the opening ceremony, scouts and guides in great number assembled on the ground, while scoutmasters were busily directing operations. Little boys and girls in their smart uniforms worked like a swarm of busy bees.
The arrangement were well made. A launch left Blake Pier at 2 p.m. bringing the Brownies, Cubs and Guides to the ground. For those who preferred to make the journey overland, a string of sedan chairs were in waiting at the tram terminus at Shaukiwan. Owing to the cold only a few visitors made use of these conveyances, preferring to walk to their destination in order to get "warm up."
Mrs. Southorn in Uniform
Just before Mrs. Southorn arrived, the order to "fall in" was given Scouts and guides rallied with alacrity. They formed up in a hollow square, and a Guard of Honour was drawn from each troop. Among the guides was quite a number of Chinese girls in their national costume and quite a smart and business like appearance they presented, too.
Mrs. Southorn arrived, dressed in her uniform of the Colony's Guide Commissioner. She inspected the Guard of Honour and then all the troops of Scouts and Guides.
Presentation and Warrants
After this was done, the opportunity was taken of asking Mrs. Southorn to present the Prince of Wales' Competition Banner to the 5th Hong Kong (Roving Fifth) Troop, who had won the Trophy for 1929.
The Ashen Totem Pole was presented to the 4th Hong Kong (Murray) Wolf Cub Pack, winners for 1929.
Mr. C.Champkin and Scoutmaster Christian were then given their warrants and sworn in by the Commissioner. Mr. Champkin will be the Deputy Commissioner when the Rev. G.T.Waldegrave goes on Home leave, which will be in another few days.
Round The Camp Fire
The whole gathering then went up to Barker's Island and on arriving at the centre of the ground, a pile of firewood was seen. These were arranged in proper scout manner. Scouts, guides and visitors gathered around it, while Mrs. Southorn set it ablaze, and in the words mentioned above, she declared the Camp open. Three rockets shot up from somewhere unseen and simultaneously the Scout's Flag went up the flagstaff. All present then saluted and cheered.
The Rev. G.T.Waldegrave, Commissioner of the Scout's Association then addressed the gathering. He said that the day was the most important in the whole history of Scouting in the Colony. After dreaming of it for many years, they had at Iast acquired the land for their own, but there was still the mortgage to pay off. The first contribution he had received toward the fund was £10 from a contingent of Japanese Scouts who passed through Hong Kong on their way back from the Jamboree at Arrowe Park. They still needed money and he hoped that all those friends who had helped the Association in the past would come forward with more friends to help them. Although he did not want it to be published (with a twinkle at the Sunday Herald representative) he must say that the more they received the happier they would be (laughter).
Mrs. Southorn's Address
Mrs. Southorn was then asked to speak. She said: When I received the invitation to open Saiwan Camp, I felt quite, thrilled. It is a great honour for the Scouts to ask a Guide to inaugurate this beautiful meeting place, and it is but another sign of that friendly and cooperative spirit which exists here between ourselves and the "Big Brother" organisation.
For this friendly spirit we owe a great deal to the unfailing kindness of your indefatigable Commissioner, Mr. Waldegrave - and I take this happy occasion to thank him and all of you for asking me here today - for all your friendship in the past. May this bond lengthen and strengthen. (Applause.)
I once heard a Scout described as a person who endeavoured to make the world a pleasanter place for women to live in - but I should go further than that, and say that a Scout tries to make the world a pleasanter place for everyone to live in - and that endeavour should apply to Guides too. When I look round this delightful Camp today, my thoughts travel 10,000 miles to the Chief Scout and the Chief Guide, and I know how glad they would be to witness this scene - Friendship between the Scouts and Guides - and a new camp the meeting place. Nothing could be dearer to their hearts.
The first time my husband and I went to stay with the Chief Scout at his lovely Hampshire home, Pax Hill, he was not there when we arrived, but about 7 o'clock he came back from Gilwell, that great Scout Camp - as fit and gay as a schoolboy. No one would have suspected him of over three score years and ten as he stood telling Lady Baden Powell and ourselves all the delights of his day at the Camp - as fresh as if he had just started instead of having had a terrifically strenuous day. At last Lady Baden Powell said he looked as if he had caught cold - this he laughingly denied, and suddenly, seizing her by both hands, he whirled her round, and round - and when both stopped breathless he said that was a good way to get warm.
City Folk Pitied
It is this spirit of perpetual youth that makes Scouting and Guiding so attractive. As we grow older we are apt to get into a groove - to lose our spirit of adventure - our day dreams. But in Scouting and Guiding we find them anew - and nowhere so readily as in the open country.
A modern poetess says:-
"Oh, you poor folk in cities A thousand, thousand pities!"
True, but then the vast majority of people have to dwell in cities to learn their lessons or to earn their daily bread.
But they can spend their spare time in outdoor, instead of indoor pleasures - and nowhere so well as in a camp like this. (Applause.)
"Enough and to Spare"
I sometimes wonder if the dwellers in Hong Kong realise their enormous privilege in living amid such amazing natural beauty. Where in the world can you find mountain and sea so magically combined ? Do you realise that millions of our fellow creatures have never had the joy of seeing the sea? I am reminded of a friend of mine who took a party of very poor old women from a small town in the Midlands of England to the seaside for a day. Not one of them had ever seen the sea. The poorest and oldest of all gazed silently at the vast expanse of blue water - then she said with a deep breath:-
"Thank God - at Iast I've seen something of which there be enough and to spare." (Laughter.)
Nature Never Betrays
It is a very great privilege to be able to wander up hill and down dale - to study woodcraft - to learn the ways of birds and beasts - the names of flowers and trees. Nothing in the world can excel the delights you will get from Nature. Wordsworth says:-
"Nature never did betray The heart that loved her."
And you remember what the gipsy said to George Borrow - "There's the wind on the heath, brother, if I could only feel that I would gladly live for ever.
I can only wish that the peace and beauty and inspiration of Saiwan may be reflected in the hearts of all those who come here. You have scope for work and play - for the carrying out of practical work, and for the dreaming of dreams. May the influence of Saiwan penetrate far beyond these green and everlasting hills. (Loud applause.)
DR. KOTEWALL'S SPEECH
The Hon. Dr. R.H.Kotewall, C.M.G., LL.D., in his capacity as President of the Association said:-
Mr. Waldegrave has assigned to me a pleasant and easy task - the task of proposing a vote of thanks to Mrs. Southorn. I know that I need but mention the name of this good lady to awaken in you a most friendly feeling, and a sense of gratitude for all that she has done for the Boy Scouts Association by her never failing encouragement and support. (Applause.) She has just given us tangible evidence of her goodwill by coming all this distance and in this weather, to open this Camp. She has lit a fire - the Fire - which, besides being symbolic of the great principles it stands for, has imparted to our physical being a grateful warmth. She little realises, however, that her gracious and bright presence has also engendered in our heart a glow of cheeriness equally grateful and certainly more lasting. Mrs. Southorn brings sunshine wherever she goes. It is therefore with unfeigned heartiness that I tender to her the warmest thanks of the Association. (Applause.)
Sir Cecil and Lady Clementi
We are very sorry indeed that His Excellency the Governor and Lady Clementi are unable to be with us today. From the time of their arrival in the Colony both Sir Cecil and Lady Clementi have closely identified themselves with the Boy Scouts movement - in which term I of course include the Girl Guides - the former as our Chief Scout and the latter as President of our sister organisation. They have at all times been most solicitous for our welfare, and their impending departure will be a severe loss to us. We wish them happiness and success in Malaya. (Applause.)
There is yet another name which I cannot forbear to mention. It is that of our hard working Commissioner who will soon be leaving us on a well earned holiday. We all know how much the Association owe to Mr. Waldegrave, but perhaps few of us know the extent to which we are indebted to him for the Camp which Mrs. Southorn has just declared open. But for his patience, his enterprise and his wonderful power of translating dreams into realities, the training camp would probably be only a pious hope even now. It is up to us, the friends and supporters of the Association, to do all we can to raise funds to pay off the mortgage of this property so that we may, in a small way, help to lighten Mr. Waldegrave's burden. We wish him a very pleasant voyage and a very pleasant holiday. (Applause.)
"God Save the King"
Prefacing his speech with a remark which provoked much Iaughter, Mr. C.Champkin said:-
I see that your programme in notifying that Mr. Champkin will also speak is solicitous enough to bracket the information with a pious hope that God will save the King. (Loud Laughter.) I do not doubt that when His Majesty is informed of this day's work he will graciously approve of your very proper afterthought, (more laughter) - but I am somewhat at a loss to know why I should be expected to speak at all.
To Pull His Weight
I suspect that Mr. Waldegrave, who has accorded me the honour of nominating me as his deputy during the current year, has concluded that since I do my Scouting for the most part vicariously the least that can be expected of me is that I should pull my weight on an occasion of this kind. I am glad indeed to do so. I endorse most heartily all that has been said by my old friend Dr. Kotewall. As a former deputy commissioner, I am already closely enough associated with Scouting in this Colony to appreciate fully how much we owe to the practical interest and wide sympathy that Mrs. Southorn shows in our affairs. (Applause.)
Combating Social Evils
This camping ground will do much to advance the objects of Scouting. It will make those objects better known - and it is well that they should be better known, for there is nothing but good in them. We have a private object in the consolation and help of each other during those impressionable years when the accomplishment of ideals seems not so very difficult nor so very far away. We have a public object in combating the social evils of slackness and of misdirected energy by preaching and practising the gospel of directed and useful effort and of sane and healthy living; and always we have the greater end in view - to keep alive in this Colony the soul of citizenship. (Applause.)
The First Scoutmaster
A profound philosopher - so profound that we do not know whether his name was Cicero or Kikero - said that the very foundation of a Commonwealth was the proper education of its youth. He was the first Scoutmaster of which we have any record. We may well see in this splendid camp that Mrs. Southorn has opened for us a broad way to education in Scouting and we are very grateful to Mrs. Southorn and to all those who have come here on this windy day to wish us well.
"Dig in for Tea"
Tea was then served in the bungalow to the visitors, and only a few had theirs brought to them by a host of willing working scouts. Others joined in the fun by "digging in" and helping themselves. It was certainly fine fun and one noticed that even sedate old gentlemen like Sir Henry Pollock and Mr. Justice J.R.Wood were enjoying themselves like sand boys.
After tea the whole party gathered and sang "God Save the King" before they wended their way homeward bound.