The Hongkong Telegraph.
Wednesday, December 30, 1931.
BOY SCOUTS IN HONGKONG.
COMMISSIONER'S TALK TO ROTARIANS.
A suggestion that the Hongkong Rotary Club might be able to assist the local Boy Scouts' movement by finding an Hon. Secretary, this being the chief difficulty here, was made at yesterday's weekly luncheon, when the Rev. G.T.Waldegrave, Commissioner, Boy Scouts' Association, gave a talk on "Scouting in Hongkong."
The speaker also stated that the biggest results of the movement were seen among the Chinese boys, saying he thought it a great tribute to the Chief Scout and the Chinese because it meant grafting Western ideas on Eastern minds.
In addition to the speaker, the Chairman welcomed the following guests, all of Hongkong. Professor W.Brown, Mr. G.Pickering and Mr. C.H.Tam.
The Chairman said:- The first thing I have to say today is to report to you that I went to Blake Gardens last Wednesday to present the Shield to the winning team of the School Basketball League Final. The game was keenly contested and the spectators there were most enthusiastic, and numbered about 1,600.
The space of the ground Iaid out in the garden by our Club is large enough for two courts so that two games may be played there at the same time. The playground is well laid out but the garden itself is more like a refuse dump and the entrances to the garden are in a very bad condition. It is extraordinary that a public garden should be allowed to get into such a dilapidated condition. I think the Government may be requested to spend a little money there and make the place look more respectable.
Room for Improvement.
Before handing over the Shield I told the audience that, through the efforts of the members of our Club Blake Garden had been converted into a playground, and that thanks were due to the Y.M.C.A., particularly to Rotarian McPherson, for taking charge of the ground and making arrangements for games to be played there.
I hope members of our Club will find time to pay a visit there and see the place for themselves. There is plenty of room for improvements and for more playing grounds, and this is an opportunity for our members to make further efforts in that direction.
Scouting in Hongkong.
The Rev. Waldegrave pointed out that the Wolf Cubs were the junior branch of the movement. When scouting was started it was found that the elder boys objected to having a band of small boys hanging around them and so the Wolf Cubs were started, their ages ranging from 8 to 12. Scouts ages ranged from 11 to 18, and Rover Scouts 17 and upwards.
The Wolf Cubs were the most delightful little people and he thought their training was the most charming part of Scout work. It was, he said, one glorious game, with good results visible all the time, and there was always something really amusing happening in the work.
Dealing with Scouts, the speaker explained that they were the original stock. They were full of activity and were given such work as exploration, camping, and various other kinds of training, and they all looked eagerly forward to the time when they could become a Rover. The Rover Scouts were the older boys, and they were taught to put their training into actual practice as citizens.
After dealing with the functions of the Court of Honour in the administration of the movement, the Rev. Waldegrave referred to the Sea Scouts, saying that they were ordinary Scouts except that they specialised in sea craft and wore an appropriate uniform.
Deep Sea Scouts.
Referring to Deep Sea Scouts the speaker said he thought there had been some misunderstanding over them as their idea was to help the movement and not to be helped. He explained they were formed by Scouts who had joined the Royal Navy or Merchant Service. It was found that a great number of Scouts who went to sea continue to be interested in the movement, but travelling passports which were issued were not always sufficient to put them in touch with Scouts at ports which they touched.
They were, therefore, organised as Deep Sea Scouts in order to keep them linked with Headquarters and they were now given well known means of recognition which ensured them of receiving a welcome from bona fide Scout Organisations with which they might come into contact. There were many men afloat who were members of the movement, and in the China Fleet there were at least 45. Accommodation had been provided for them at the new Sailors' and Soldiers' Home and they were doing invaluable work as instructors and examiners in the Scout movement.
The speaker dealt with the training now required by Scout Officers, which qualified them for their work, and referred to the great help in this direction the Sai Wan Camp had been.
He spoke of the difficulty of getting examiners, and the administration difficulty of securing continuity of secretaryship, suggesting that Rotarians might be able to help in those respects. The latter point, he said, was their biggest difficulty, as there was no Colony Secretary for the time being, and pointed out that in at least one of the China ports - he thought it was Tientsin - the Rotary Club there undertook the responsibility of supplying a Secretary when the post became vacant.
In conclusion, the speaker spoke of the success that Scout work had attained among the Chinese, remarking that the biggest results were seen among the Chinese boys. He added he thought it was a tribute to the Chief Scout and the Chinese because it meant grafting Western ideas on Eastern minds.
He ended by expressing his thanks to the Council for the fine work they were putting in on behalf of the movement, and to His Excellency the Governor, saying that without such support their work would be much more difficult. He also thanked the Rotary Club for the opportunity of telling them something about Scouting in Hong kong.
Appeal for Volunteer.
In thanking the speaker, the Hon. Mr. R.H.Kotewall said that as a member of the local Scouts' Association he knew from personal experience the difficulties that were encountered, especially with regard to the secretarial work, and appealed for someone to volunteer to do the work in the knowledge that he would be helping to train the citizens of tomorrow.