The Hongkong Telegraph.
Wednesday, January 14, 1931.
THE BOY SCOUTS.
GOVERNOR TO ATTEND ANNUAL MEETING.
It is announced that His Excellency the Governor will attend the annual meeting of the Boy Scout's Association to be held at 5 p.m. this evening in St. John's Cathedral Hall.
The Annual Report.
The following are extracts from the Association's annual report, which reviews in detail the activities of the year:
In spite of certain unforeseen changes in the organisation made during the year, we are glad to be able to report considerable progress in several directions. The number of boys receiving training in the Movement has increased. Saiwan is beginning to justify its existence as a Training Centre, the Colony has been divided into two District Associations with distinct advantage to the oversight of the Groups, and there seems to be a fuller and keener realisation of the open air essence of Scouting.
Opening of Saiwan Camp.- From a Scout point of view the formal opening of Saiwan Camp by Mrs. W.T.Southorn, Colony Commissioner of the Girl Guides, was the most important event of the year. The Rev. N.V.Halward has been appointed Assistant Commissioner for Training and will be helped by Mr. S.A.Sweet who until recently assisted in similar work in Northumberland. While on home leave two members of the Association completed their Wood Badge Courses and there are now seven Scouters in the Colony holding that coveted mark of having successfully passed the requirements of a Scout Officers' Training Course.
District Associations.- As has been already stated, the Colony has now been divided for Scout Administrative purposes into two District Associations, Hongkong and Kowloon. This will relieve the Headquarters Staff and the Council of much detail work in connexion with the actual running of the Groups, setting them free to direct the general policy of the Branch and its finances, and also to act as a connecting link between the Districts and Imperial Headquarters. For a little time there is bound to be a certain amount of experiment, until the respective responsibilities of the Council and the District Associations have been apportioned on the best way to ensure successful and easy working, but already Headquarters has benefited by the relief afforded by the Kowloon Association. The Districts will however leave the raising of funds and the control thereof to the Council, in order to avoid overlapping. The Rev. E.A.Armstrong has been appointed District Commissioner for Kowloon, and his local Committee is already in being.
Growth in numbers had been strongest in this junior branch of the Movement, the numbers at the beginning and end of the year being 89 and 118 respectively, showing an increase of 29 Cubs. Two new packs have come into being. It may be of interest to state that one of our keenest Cubmasters Mrs. Melville Smith, who left a few years ago for England has just been appointed Cub Commissioner for one of the Birmingham Districts and frequently meets Miss Ashen the donor of the Totem Pole.
Scouts.- In actual numbers there is a decrease of 24, but this shortage is due to at least two troops having to go into temporary abeyance for lack of scoutmasters.
Rover Scouts.- These show an increase in numbers of 19. Many of the Rovers are Service men, and accordingly we are in this Branch liable to considerable fluctuation of numbers.
Deep Sea Scouts.- We have been able to welcome many Deep Sea Scouts in the Colony, mostly from among the men of H.M. Navy. This section of Scouting was designed to meet the growing desire of old scouts at sea to keep in close touch with the Movement, and members of it have already thrown themselves keenly into our local interests, doing especially excellent work at Saiwan. Deep Sea Scouting is, of course, open to members of the Mercantile Marine.
Sea Scouts.- The Group of Sea Scouts has made great progress under Sea Scoutmasters Ball. Though the numbers have been intentionally kept within certain limits, they have increased from 22 to 30. Had there been the training staff available, this number could have been much larger.
Sea Rover Scouts.- Here again there has been increased energy. Several of the Sea Scouts have gone up into the Sea Rovers, and various friends have joined the crew from outside the Group. In common with their brethren of the land they are still feeling their way, but are already proving their value.
Scouters at Home.- The Commissioner while on leave was able to attend two important Scout Conferences and also to discuss local affairs with Imperial Headquarters. He was present at the Commissioners' Dinner at which the Chief Scout invested with the Silver Wolf Decoration Mr. C.H.Blason until recently our Hon. Treasurer and an Assistant Commissioner. Mr. Blason is still carrying on Scouting as a Commissioner in Jersey.
We require the sum of Sixteen Thousand Dollars to clear off the Mortgage on Saiwan, but we need yet more to enable us thoroughly to put the property in good order, to install a more satisfactory water supply and sanitary system, and to create additional rooms for storage etc. at the foot of the garden. We are very grateful to Mr. Tang Shiu Kin for his great generosity in promising to pay for the equipment required for training purposes.
Silver Wolf.- We regret that for various reasons the publication of this magazine has apparently failed during the year. This is due to two causes, financial and editorial. It has been proved that the style and get up is too ambitious and that the work of editor is more than can be expected of already hard worked Commissioners. Even a quarterly production is enough work for one man without any additional Scout responsibilities, so that if anyone is willing to help us by becoming editor of our Magazine which in future will be produced in a simpler style, he will be received with open arms.
We are glad to have been able from time to time to welcome foreign Scouts passing through the Colony, mostly Japanese. At the time of writing this Report there are some scouts of another nationality in the Colony who have not the official Scout Introduction Passport, which would have certified their bona fides. We have strict orders from the International Scout Bureau not to recognise any so called scouts traveling without these passports and we take this opportunity of passing on the warning. We have recently received visits from the Chief Scout of Japan and a party of his Scouts on their way to Siam, and from the Chief Commissioner of Ceylon. We much regret that as the Chinese Scout Association in Canton has not yet complied with the requirements of the International Scout Bureau which includes the Scouts of 42 Nations we are not able officially to recognise its members there. As soon as Political Party and Military influences are divorced from Scouting in China, we shall be able to work in cooperation and we eagerly look forward to that happy time. It will add tremendously to the zest and possibilities of local Scouting. We are very glad that our connexion with the local Japanese Scouts keeps as close as ever, and that they share with us in our activities so far as is possible.
There is no reason why this should not be exceptionally bright, but there is one great obstacle in the way of the attainment of absolute brilliancy, and that is the lack of Scouters. There are a great number of men in the Colony who were Scouts in their boyhood, or who helped to run Scout Troops or Cub Packs before coming East. Many of them, we know, have their time already filled up with business, Chinese studies, H.K.V.D.C. and so on, but we often hear it said that there is nothing to do in Hongkong. Here quite definitely is something that is waiting to be done. Scouting requires just common sense, and a study of the Handbooks. The rest required comes with experience though the system of Officers Training makes things much easier and prevents grievous mistakes. To such old Scouts me make a special appeal for help. There are others who have not been scouts but while realising the value of the Movement, hesitate to take the plunge. To them we appeal no less urgently to "Come on in. It's jolly fine."
Accompanying the annual report are the draft regulations for internal management.