The Hongkong Telegraph.
Wednesday, April 22, 1931.
LOCAL SCOUTS IN TRAINING.
CAMP FOR PATROL LEADERS AT SAI WAN.
On Saturday afternoon a party of Patrol Leaders, complete with Patrol flags and kit, met on Blake Pier, to journey by launch to the Boy Scouts Training Camp at Sai Wan for a special week end Training Camp.
The harbour was a little choppy, and even after boarding the launch half a dozen or so, land Scouts of course, decided upon the greater comfort afforded by tram! However, there was no need for alarm, for after leaving North Point, smooth waters were entered, and at Lyeemun a number of boys were easily transferred to the Sea
Scouts "gig" with an efficient band of Sea Scouts in command, Sai Wan was reached, the boys, stores and kits were landed and carried to the Camp in record time and without a hitch, the Sea Scouts providing the necessary rowing party from the launch to the beach.
Sites being allotted, tents were pitched, and the newly formed patrols, (formed from all troops especially for this camp) were soon friends, as though they had known each other all their lives, and all made themselves so completely at home, that one could imagine they had lived at Sai Wan always: Instead of which, until Friday Iast, some of the patrols had not seen each other possibly, and while some had seen Sai Wan from the distance, quite a number had never seen it, nor been there - such is the spirit of scouting. Upon completion of "occupation," a brief talk by the Commissioner for Hongkong on the object of the camp, the breaking of the flag, and work began, attention being first claimed with camp "gadgets," and those little things which make even camp life comfortable and homelike. Although for a week end anything elaborate is hardly necessary, quite a number of useful objects could be seen round some of the patrol tents. Being a Training Camp patrols were responsible for their own cooking, and for the preparation of dinner the camp presented a picturesque and animated scene - with six fires and six groups busily engaged in preparing dinner. After this meal had been disposed of, all gathered in the Camp Fire Circle, and round a real fire, solos, vocal and instrumental, ducts, choruses, 'dumb show' stunts, and war cries, showed the Scouts to be entertainers, and a most enjoyable hour was spent. After prayers, all adjourned to their "homes," and "lights out" and a tour of inspection by the Deputy Camp Chief found all peaceful - but only in one or two cases despite stertorous noises (?) were boys asleep. So ended the first day, in which everything had worked as per programme, and the weather fine.
Tracking and a Wager.
At 7 a.m, Sunday morning, about half the company braved the 'briny' and enjoyed a swim, to be followed by tea and biscuits, provided from the Central Cookhouse - thus creating a healthy appetite for the more serious meal of porridge, eggs and tea which was to constitute breakfast. While Camp Inspection was in progress, a heavy shower rather damped things, but not the spirits of the boys, and after prayers and flag break, knotting and lashing were carried out in bursts of sunshine. Camp Hygiene and First Aid occupied the next session, and the stretchers made with staves, scarves and anything available were quite worthy efforts, and showed the ingenuity of scouts - although in one or two cases the patient would have recovered very quickly rather than be carried on one, or would have been put beyond recovery by it! Skipping lightly to the beach, the company were soon solving the problem which perplexed "Robinson Crusoe," and after their instructions would have had no difficulty in explaining to "R.C" whether Friday was running, walking, or hop skip and jumping when he made those tracks. The Scouts were very keen on this, especially the Seals Patrol, for two of their number, beyond the hearing of the D.C.C. had rashly wagered one of their tiffin sausages that certain of the footprints on the sand had been made by a man walking backwards. "Doug" of the Kowloon Scottish, and "Sam" of the Sea Scouts had made this wager, and "Doug" had to forfeit one sausage. Fortunately there were no more competitions before tiffin so all were able to enjoy full rations.
The usual rest hour, with the usual unrest, followed this heavy meal and at 3 o'clock the patrols were given a cryptic message where to pick up a trail - which then had to be followed. Only two reached the bitter end, but one of these failed to locate the hidden message, so the honours went to the Cuckoos. In fairness to the last patrols, it might be mentioned that some of the marks had been obliterated, and made the following of the trail difficult and almost impossible.
After tea, stores were returned, the tents erected on the outlying districts were struck, the beach once again saw a happy band on pleasure bent. Some of the more hardy ones, but only a few, tried swimming but found the water too cold, so a few games were indulged in. The weather, which up to this time had been exceptionally good changed, and it was soon pelting with rain. Nothing daunted, normal duties were carried out, brailings lowered, guy ropes slackened, and at 7 o'clock sandwiches were provided, while at 8 o'clock a tired but happy band hit the long, long, (or so it seemed) trail from the Camp to the Shaukiwan Tram Terminus. During this hike, the scouting spirit was again in evidence by the singing and cheering - besides exaggerated warnings of s-t-e-p. Boys were dropped at various places on the way home, and cheers from the sheltered tram sent them on their way through the downpour; the last to leave were the boys for Kowloon - so they cheered themselves ferrywards - and all were safely home by half past nine.
The object of the camp was to give Patrol Leaders and Seconds an idea of training their own patrols, and while proving most successful in this direction, was one of the happiest camps spent by the boys - both English and Chinese. Accompanying the Scouts, were sixteen Chinese boys who were most anxious to become Scouts and form their own troop in Kowloon, and their initiation into the movement under such favourable conditions must have made a favourable impression on them, and they as "Woodpeckers" and "Crows" adapted themselves quite easily to the discipline and routine of camp life.
So the memories of another happy and enjoyable camp are left with the forty Scouts of the many troops attending, and the Scouters whose privilege it was of being with them. - R.D.