Hongkong Daily Press.
Hongkong, Thursday, December 17, 1931.
Page 7 & 14
HONG KONG BOY SCOUTS.
ANNUAL REPORT DISCLOSES SATISFACTORY POSITION.
HIS EXCELLENCY TO PRESIDE AT THE GENERAL MEETING.
As announced in our columns yesterday, the annual general meeting of the Hong Kong branch of the Boy Scouts Association will be held in the Chamber of Commerce Room, the City Hall, at 6.15 p.m. on Tuesday 22nd December. His Excellency the Governor, Chief Scout for Hong Kong, has kindly promised to take the chair.
The following is a resume of the report for 1931, which will be presented by the Rev. G.T.Waldegrave Scout Commissioner for Hong Kong.
Writing from actual experience as well as from information glossed from the reports sent in, we are bound to admit that while there has been a decided advance along certain lines, in other directions there has been a halt and in at least one case a retrograde movement.
We concluded the report for 1930 by an appeal for more Scouters as well as for non executive officers, and we regret to say that it is owing to the lack of response that all round progress has not been possible. It may be that would be helpers ght shy of the possibility of being called on to don the distinctive Scout hat, for here bare knees should be no obstacle, but at any rate non executive officials such as Presidents, Secretaries, Treasurers, Examiners and so forth need not wear Scout kit, though of course should they decide to do there is no doubt that the whole Scout fraternity would rise and greet them as indeed brother scouts with arms even more widely open than now, when we do realise how much we owe to them for their splendid support.
In all Sections there has been a slight reduction of numbers, though in some cases it is more apparent than real. Our census is taken at the request of Imperial Headquarters at the end of September, before Groups have got into full swing, and the difference between one year and the next may depend on for instance a Trooping Season in the case of garrison boys, the departure of a family from the Colony in another (in one case this meant the loss of some six boys from a Troop) and so on. The height of Group membership comes about April or May, and drops at the end of the summer term.
In this Section is the most serious decrease. This can be partly explained by the fact that many Rovers are holding Scoutmaster's and Assistant Scoutmaster's posts, and are therefore included under the head of Scouters, but the real cause is that Rover Leaders are particularly hard to find, and though Rovers have a large say in the running of their crews, yet they do undoubtedly need the advice and leadership of an "old hand," not necessarily skilled in Scoutcraft, but possessed of that knowledge of men and affairs, which is expressed by the display of sound common sense. It should be added that except in rare cases, Rover Leaders should be at least thirty years of age.
Though there are definite signs of improvement and greater appreciation of the aims and methods of Scouting on the part of Scouters and Scouts due to the short weekend training camps organised for the officers and also for the senior scouts, of the total number of troops too few are yet being run along the right lines.
The Wolf Cubs are wide awake, as anyone who was present at the Swimming Sports in October must have realised. As one helper who is instructing a pack of cubs in signalling said "Cubbing is the most delightful part of all Scouting. The Cubs are so keen, they don't have to be told twice, and one can as it were feel the way being moulded in one's hand."
The other sections of our local activities are dealt with under their respective headings, but we must here pay willing and whole hearted tribute to His Excellency our Chief Scout, our President the Hon. Dr. Kotewall, our Hon. Treasurer the Hon. Mr. T.N.Chau whom we warmly congratulate on his nomination to the Legislative Council, and all those other members of the Scout Council who have given such splendid support to us who are closer in touch with the boys; nor must we forget those many other friends who by donations of various sorts, by kindly interest and still more kindly actions have shown that they do realise the genuine value of Scouting for Boys as a world force.
As soon too as the two District Associations are fully supplied with their own executive committees and necessary staff, much small detail work of a comparatively elementary nature will be dealt with and we hope settled without any further reference to the Colony Commissioner or the Council being necessary, except in case of special difficulty or appeal.
The Statement of Accounts presented by the Honorary Treasurer shows our financial position. We still need more annual subscribers, a means of income which after all is the surest in the long run, for once we have wiped off the Saiwan debt it will be possible to budget fairly accurately for the needs of each year. As regards Saiwan the Association owes a very deep debt of gratitude to the Hon. Mr. T.N.Chau and Mr. Tang Shiu Kin who have just raised the splendid sum of seven thousand dollars towards the Saiwan Fund, each of them himself subscribing one thousand.
This leaves us with about another seven thousand dollars yet to be paid off, and we sincerely hope that we may really call Saiwan Camp our own during the next few months.
Badge Work and Examinations.
The very important task of Badge Secretary has been ably carried out by Mr. K.B.Carey, who has gone to very great trouble in arranging and recording the results of the various badge tests and examinations, also in keeping the back of badges up to date. Mr. Carey is unfortunately not a permanent resident in the Colony and therefore Iabours under the difficulty of not always being able to lay hands on an examiner for some special subject, while reference to one or other of the H.Q. Staff for advice is not always possible at short notice.
Literature and Propaganda.
We have to deplore the fact that it has not been possible to make a fresh start on the "Silver Wolf," our local Scout Magazine, which had a somewhat struggling existence for some years, with one meteoric rise to eminence for the short period. Time and financial considerations are to blame for this, for some means of circulating Scout news officially is undoubtedly valuable, but whatever is to be undertaken must be done well, and no one has recently found with sufficient time to take this important work in hand.
The monthly official Imperial Headquarters publication "The Scouter" is distributed gratis to all Scouters in Hong Kong and it has been suggested that a leaflet of local Scout Notices and Official news might be inserted at the time of distribution. The production of this while not particularly heavy task would take a certain amount of time, so that any help given to carry out this scheme if adopted would be much appreciated.
During the year we were able to welcome a party of Japanese Scouts under Count Futara, Chief Scout of Japan, who formed a contingent going to a Scout Jamboree in Siam. Photographs were taken on board ship and there has been an exchange of correspondence.
A close link has been forged with the Portuguese Scouts in Macao whom Hong Kong Troops visited there and welcomed later in Hong Kong.
The Girl Guides.
On various occasions representatives of Guides and Scouts have been able to meet and discuss ways and means of further cooperation. We congratulate the members of our Sister Organisation on its live and flourishing condition and commiserate with them in their having to hold back from opportunities of extension for the same cause as that which handicaps us, the lack of suitable officers.
Hong Kong and Southern District Association.
The number of Groups remains the same, there having been no additions, though the 3rd Group (Central Rovers) is practically in theyance. There are several members of this Rover Crew, but they hold scoutmaster's and assistant scoutmaster's posts as well and their time is fully occupied, while nearly all those not in such positions have felt the Colony or resigned.
The Wolf Cub Packs show considerable vigour, and several Scout Troops which for some time have been somnolent are now waking up and putting in keen work. This is undoubtedly due to the beneficent results of the various Training Camps and Courses which have been held during the year. We should however like to see representatives of all the Troops at these camps and courses. It is noticeable that the least effective troops are those in which the splendid opportunities offered by the Assistant Commissioner for Training and his staff have been allowed to pass unheeded.
There has been a fair amount of camping, and the District was well represented at the Patrol Leaders' and Seconds' Training Camp at Saiwan held in the early summer months.
Kowloon and Northern District Association.
Under the Rev. E.A.Armstrong who has unfortunately left the Colony the Scout life of the District has decidedly quickened, and this in spite of the fact that four troops have either ceased to exist or are still dormant, three of these being school troops and the cause in each case being the lack of officers.
Those troops however which have kept going have made great strides, and are genuinely keen; and the same applies to the Wolf Cubs.
Mr. S.A.Sweet, who succeeds Mr. Armstrong as District Commissioner, and Mr. Dormer, Scoutmaster of the 1st Kowloon (St. Andrew's Church) Troop, like Mr. Armstrong have been through special training for officers at Home, and this has had a great deal to do with the advance that has been made.
This District urgently needs instructors and examiners in the various subjects, and a hearty invitation is given to Kowloon residents to see if some of their spare time cannot be devoted to furthering the growth of the Scout Brotherhood on the Mainland.
The one Group of Sea Scouts continues to flourish. A severe loss was sustained when Mr. W.E.Ball returned to England at the expiration of his term of service out East, and we are grateful to Mr. F.R.Willcocks for stepping into the breach for a time, until exigencies of the Service necessitated his resignation. The results of Mr. Ball's leadership appeared when the Sea Scouts won the Prince of Wales Banner for the year, and also carried off the Bird Challenge Cup at the Swimming Sports, though this later was largely due to the magnificent performance of one Sea Scout who won three events and was only beaten in a fourth race by one fifth of a second.
Two of the Sea Scouts have qualified for cadetships in the Chinese Navy, one actually having been in training for several months. The Groups held the usual annual cruise camp at Taipo in August, and experienced great kindness from the residents, especially during the typhoon which necessitated a hurried striking of the camp, the removal of the Troop vessels to a better shelter and the boys to something more durable than canvas.
Our sincere gratitude is due to Mr. E.Cock for annually subjecting the Group vessels to a searching examination and also for lending his splendid new yacht "Sealark V" to the Group for their camp last August.
We also wish to thank Mr. Scrivens, late of H.M.S. Tamar and many other Naval friends for their keen interest in and kindness to the Group, often at great personal inconvenience giving instruction and conducting examinations.
Deep Sea Scouts.
Some twenty of these have been enrolled locally, though more than double that number, men from H.M. vessels, have given very valuable assistance to the Association, especially at Saiwan where they took in hand and entirely overhauled the water supply pipe and also put in hand much other necessary work of a constructional nature.
Saiwan Camp and Training.
At last Saiwan has begun to justify itself, though much work has yet to be done before that delectable spot is all that we wish it to be and well equipped.
The Rev. N.V.Halward was appointed Assistant Commissioner for Training and also a Deputy Camp Chief, thus relieving the Commissioner of much of the responsibility of this very important branch of scout activity. Under him real advance has been made and shows every prospect of continuing. As regards the constructional work at Saiwan we should like to pay tribute of appreciation and gratitude to Mr. A.J.Lane, who with Mrs. Lane generously subscribed to our needs, mostly in kind as well as in time and trouble, and also persuaded some of his contractor acquaintances to assist with material.
Mr. Halward writes:-
With the necessarily slow but gradual development of Saiwai Camp it has been found possible during the past year to embark upon a series of Training Courses and Camps with a view to importing to Scouters in the Colony some aspects of Scout lore and craft which issue forth from Gilwell Park, the chief Training Centre for the Scout Movement.
A short and successful Course for Scouters was held in January consisting of three theoretical instructions and concluding with practical demonstrations at a weekend camp held at Saiwan.
Perhaps the most encouraging event during the year was the holding of a weekend camp in April for Patrol Leaders and Seconds. Nearly 50 boys attended and despite inclement weather the programme was carried out and thoroughly enjoyed by all.
The Training Staff of the year was composed of the following Scouters without whose valuable assistance very little would have accomplished by the Deputy Camp Chiefs: The Rev. E.A.Armstrong, and Messrs. Christian, Sweet, Ashton Hill, Dormer and Pockson.
The Prince of Wales Banner Competition.
This was held along the lines hitherto followed, but it is probable that in future the conditions of the contest will be slightly different, though the two rallies will still be important events in connection therewith.
The results were as follows:-
1st. - 1st H.K. Sea Scouts
2nd. - 15th H.K. (Wah Yan) Troop
3rd. - 5th H.K. (Roving Fifth)