The Hongkong Telegraph.
Monday, January 13, 1930.
SCOUT TRAINING CENTRE.
EFFORTS OF COMMISSIONER LAUDED AT OPENING.
In the handsome uniform of the Colony's Guide Commissioner, Mrs. W.T.Southorn, wife of the Hon. the Colonial Secretary, officially opened the new Scouts Officers' Training Camp at Saiwan Bay, on Saturday afternoon.
On her arrival, Mrs. Southorn inspected the smart Guard of Honour which had formed up to await her. Following this inspection she saw the whole of the troops, which were massed for the occasion. Presentation of the Prince of Wales' Competition Banner was then made to the 5th Hongkong Troop, who won the trophy during the past year. The Ashen Totem Pole was then handed to the 4th Hongkong Wolf Cub Pack, after which warrants were presented to officers of the movement. Mr. C.Champkin, who will act as Deputy Commissioner during the absence of Commissioner Waldegrave, and Scoutmaster Christian, were the recipients of the latter.
The Camp Fire.
If there was one thing at the camp which could not fail to impress the visitor, it was the huge camp fire which was built up for the occasion. This was arranged most systematically, and more than one guest must have thought how pleasant it would be to have a boy who could lay a fire so well.
Lighting this pile, Mrs. Southorn said:
"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 of God, Mankind, and Self, which should ever dwell in the hearts of us all, and especially of those who shall abide in these bounds."
The lighting of the fire was the signal for the firing of rockets and the hoisting of the Scouts' Flag to the top of the staff. The assembled scouts then sprang to the three fingered Scout salute, and burst into cheers as the flames leaped out from the fire.
Mortgage to be Paid.
Reference was made to the mortgage, which must be met by the Association, on the Saiwan Bay site, in the Commissioner's address. The land, he said, was their own, but the mortgage was still there and they still needed money. He had received a contribution of £10 from a contingent of Japanese scouts passing through on their way back from the Jamboree at Arrowe Park, and he hoped that all the good friends of the Association would assist them.
Mrs. Southorn's Address.
Mrs. Southorn addressed the gathering as follows:
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.
Visited Chief Scout.
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 tea 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.
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).
I sometimes wonder if the dwellers in Hongkong 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 and said: "Thank God - at last I've seen something of which there be enough and to spare." (Laughter).
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).
Address by Dr. Kotewall.
The Hon. Dr. R.H.Kotewall said that it was a pleasant and easy task to propose a vote of thanks to Mrs. Southorn, and referred to the gratitude that all must feel towards her for her efforts on behalf of the Scout movement. Another name which meant much to the Association was that of their hard working Commissioner, who was leaving soon on a well earned holiday.
Of Sir Cecil and Lady Clementi, Dr. Kotewall said that from the time of their arrival in the Colony they had closely identified themselves with the Scout movement, and it was to be regretted that they could not be with them at the opening of the camp. They would all wish them happiness in their new sphere in Malaya.
The last address was delivered by Mr. C.Champkin, the Deputy Commissioner, who said that he had been associated with the Scout movement sufficiently long to appreciate the practical interest and sympathy of Mrs. Southorn.
The Scout movement, he said, had an object in combating the evils of slackness and misdirected energy and, in doing so, spread the gospel of directed and useful effort.
Following the Deputy Commissioner's address the guests adjourned to the camp bungalow for a delightful tea.