The China Mail.
Hongkong, Tuesday, February 7, 1933.
Scouts Association Steady Progress
Annual Meeting To Be Held Today
A definite advance in local Scout work is contained in the Boy Scouts Association (Hong Kong Branch) report for the year 1932.
The annual meeting of the Association is being held at Sandilands' Hut this afternoon at 5 p.m., when the report will be submitted.
The number of Scouts has risen by 56, but there has been a reduction in the numbers of Wolf Cubs and Rover Scouts, the former due to Cubs going up into Scout Troops, and no boys of the right age being available to keep up the numbers in the Packs concerned; the reduction in the number of Rover Scouts being caused by a deliberate check to enrollment of Rovers until such time is suitable Leaders can be found for that very important but difficult section of the Scout Movement. This Branch of the Boy Scouts Association is by no means the only one which is finding the Rover section a definite problem. Such Rovers as we have are quietly carrying on useful work in connection with their respective Groups.
The most satisfactory advance has been made in connection with the Scout Troops. Several new Troops have been started both in Hong Kong and in Kowloon, and in most cases the benefit of the Training Courses for Officers is clearly proved. We have received other applications for permission to start troops, but the Registration and Warrants Sub Committee has exercised great care in taking these requests into consideration and not everyone has been granted.
We should like to pay tribute to the hard work accomplished in the new Troops by senior Scouts who have transferred from other Troops, and given valuable assistance to their Scoutmasters in training the recruits. We are led by this to entertain high hopes that we may find in these Scouts officers for the years to come.
No Banner Competition Rallies were held during the year, that in the Spring being superseded for the time by the Empire Day Rally and Inspection held by kind invitation of General Sandilands at Flagstaff House.
The Swimming Sports were held in October. On St. George's Day some 100 Scouts met at Saiwan and in the course of a short Ceremony renewed their Scout Promise.
There has been a good deal of camping of one sort and another, especially hike camps. It is part of the testing of a First Class Scout that he shall either by himself or with one other Scout perform a hike, sleeping out at least one night. Many of these were taken during really cold weather, which speaks well for the keenness of the boys concerned.
We are desirous that each Group shall as far as possible own its own camping gear, tents, etc. There are still too many Groups of quite long standing who have not yet provided themselves with even a patrol tent. Many Scoutmasters do not yet seem to realise that camps require careful preparation even on the part of the most experienced.
The Sea Scouts have had a very successful year. The Troop has been up to full strength right through, no sooner has one Scout left than another has come forward to join; and at one period there was a waiting list. The sudden death in Canton of one of the most promising of our old Scouts cast a deep shadow over the end of the year. We consider that in view of the possibility of openings in the Chinese Navy and Merchant Service in the future this Group has a splendid opportunity for valuable work.
The Deep Sea Scouts or rather the China Fleet Troop are thriving and as usual have proved themselves of great assistance both at Saiwan and as instructors and examiners. There are several Deep Sea Scouts in the Merchant Service but they are unable to combine as well as their Naval brethren though they frequently foregather.
The work at Saiwan progress slowly but steadily. More sites for tents have been leveled, the water pipes overhauled and relaid, steps and paths about the rocks and garden have been constructed and best of all more Scouts are now coming regularly for various Scouting practices and games. We are very grateful to many friends who have given us assistance in work or in material.
Training Courses for Officers have been held during the year, but in the form of lectures only with a very little practical demonstration. No actual weekend camp was possible this year.
Our relations with the Girl Guides continue to progress in due family fashion. We congratulate them on the acquisition of the Sandilands Hut at their Headquarters, and are very grateful to them for the immediate offer made to us that we should use it on such occasions as it might be suitable for us, for instance on the day of our Annual Meeting when the proper atmosphere helps so much.
We should like to conclude with an expression of sincere thanks to His Excellency the Chief Scout of Hong Kong for his keen interest in our welfare, to our President The Hon. Dr. Kotewall, Vice President Mr. E.Cock, Hon. Vice Presidents, Officers and Members of the Council, Executive Committee and Sub Committees who have given freely and generously of their time. We are extremely sorry to be losing our Hon. Secretary Mr. A.S.Mitchell, who is about to leave Hong Kong, but we are glad to be able to report that a friend who is about to settle down in the Colony after retirement is prepared to take on this important post in a few months' time. We are appointing Messrs. Thomson and Co. our Accountants, work which they have offered to undertake for what is really only a nominal remuneration and this will be a great relief to our Hon. Treasurer, The Hon. Mr. T.N.Chau who though a very busy man always seems to be able to "raise the wind" for us, with the help of Mr. Tang Shiu-kin and other supporters. We regret that both Mr. Champkin and Mr. C.G.H.Christian, the latter on leaving the Colony, have resigned their Assistant Commissionerships after much valuable work on our behalf.
Mr. E.S.Cunningham a Hong Kong resident and old Scout, has undertaken the onerous duties of Badge Secretary, and the whole system of the Badge Examinations is being developed into an arrangement of Boards each of which is responsible for a group of Badges dealing with kindred subjects, the Rev. N.V.Halward, Assistant Commissioner for Training, taking this in hand.