Hongkong Daily Press.
Hongkong, Friday, March 23, 1934.
THE BOY SCOUTS ASSOCIATION
Comprehensive Report Of The Commissioner
The Annual General Meeting of the Hong Kong Branch of the Boy Scouts Association will be held in the Sandilands Hut (Girl Guides Association Headquarters), at 5.15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4, 1934. His Excellency the Governor, Chief Scout for Hong Kong, has kindly promised to take the chair, and before the opening of the meeting, His Excellency will present the Prince of Wales Banner to the 10th Hong Kong Troop.
The Commissioner's Report for 1933 is as follows:-
The past year has proved in many ways one of the most satisfactory that we have had for some time. There has been greater all round activity, in general the efficiency and keenness have been more marked, with a better realisation of our aims and objects, our numbers have increased, and above all more of our Scout Officers have adopted the only methods by which a Group can properly be conducted. The causes of this are mainly the elementary Training Courses through which prospective officers are required to pass before they are granted Warrants, and the valuable assistance rendered by the China Fleet Troop of Deep Sea Scouts who have acted as Instructors and Examiners with real and efficiency.
The Deep Sea Scouts ran a series of classes in Pioneering, that is bridge building and so forth, Mr. Fitz Henry of the Government Fire Brigade held or arranged for another series in Fire Drill and Theory after which some 80 scouts passed an examination with excellent marks. Dr. Y.S.Wan organised First Aid Examinations, assisted by Drs. Kirk, Karanjia and others, each boy being put through a really strenuous test by at least two of the four examiners sitting on each occasion, while Dr. Wan also helped in arranging the Examinations for Interpreter Badge, assisted by Mr. Thomas Tam.
The usual two Rallies for the Prince of Wales Banner Competition were held in the Spring and Autumn, the one at the Diocesan Boys School by the kind permission of the Headmaster, Mr. C.B.P.Sargent, who himself is Scoutmaster of the School Group, and the other at Saiwan. The 10th H.K. (St. Paul's College) and 1st Kowloon (St. Andrew's Church) troops were first and second in each alternately, coming out with equal points. The final possession of the Banner depended on the result of the Competition Camp which was held in October at Saiwan. St. Paul's Troop won this competition, St. Andrew's being second.
The Annual Swimming Sports were held as usual in October in the V.R.C. Bath. The Bird Challenge Cup was won by St. Andrew's Troop (1st Kowloon) who beat the Sea Scouts by half a point. The Akela Cup for Wolf Cubs taking part in the Swimming Sports was also won by the same Group.
On September 30 His Excellency the Governor and Lady Peel gave the Girl Guides, Scouts and Cubs a delightful party in the grounds of Mountain Lodge.
Increase in Strength
We have mentioned an increase in strength. The census In September 1932 showed a total excluding officers, etc. of 514, though there was a slight increase by the end of the year when we took another local census to get accurate figures for the Government Grant. The September Census for 1933 gave us a total of 510, but the January 1934 numbering produced 550. This is largely accounted for by the fact that the September Census which is taken for Imperial Headquarters finds us at the end of the summer holidays with troops not yet recruiting or only just getting going again after the usual recess while in January Groups are in full swing and with their numbers on the increase. If we include officers our total numbers approximate 600, apart from examiners and instructors, who number another 50 or so.
While certain Groups fell into abeyance during the year the loss sustained by this was more than counterbalanced by the founding of new Groups. With two exceptions the failures were due to lack of Scoutmasters, one leaving the Colony, one giving up owing to lack of time, and one owing to other interests. The new Groups are widely spread over Colony, Taipo, Cheung Chau, Stanley, Mong Kok, Kowloon Tong, Victoria. Most of them are connected with schools and are being run by trained men under favourable auspices.
Saiwan Training Camp has become more than ever the hub of Scout Activity in the Colony. Saturday after Saturday finds a busy crowd there at work. We have already mentioned the Competition Camp. Many Troops have also spent days under canvas there and the Naval Deep Sea Scouts had a most successful time in the same way at Christmas by kind permission of the Commander in Chief.
Saiwan is not the only place where Scouts camp or practise Scoutcraft, for the 5th Kowloon Troop have a hut in the Kowloon Foothills the 1st Kowloon have a favourite campsite in frequent use somewhere along the Taipo Road, the Diocesan Boys School Troop have an excellent winter camping ground in the Shatin Pass area; near the Shatin Police Station. Scouts on hike tests make a practice of bivouacking for the night, the 10th H.K. and the Sea Scouts in particular, and this latter Group also runs a winter camp in the same district, in addition to their annual summer cruise. Taipo is also a favourite spot. Stanley used to be so, but is now getting too populated for the purpose. Various troops have gone further afield to Macao and Canton, while one party took trip to Swatow.
The Rover Section is still a problem, but this seems to be also the case at Home. Rover Leaders are hard to get, for if any officers need very special qualifications, they do, and it is most exacting work since the task is that of suggesting the right way rather than leading, of advising rather than planning, and yet with the full responsibility of a Leader.
The Wolf Cubs are definitely alive, but we still need to have better organisation so as to unite the various Packs into some sort of little association.
It must be remembered that Cub Training is essentially different from that of Scouts, though working towards the same end. Cubs are not Junior Scouts, though the youngest section of the Scout Movement, and if any Cubmaster in error attempts to run his Pack on Scout Troop lines, when his Cubs go up into the Scouts they will lose the sense of something new and progressive, and the feeling that having left the small boys they are being admitted into something really big.
The Sea Scouts are up to full strength and working under very favourable conditions. Their move into excellent headquarters owing to the generosity of the Committee of the Sailors' Home and Missions to Seamen has helped them on considerably, also the practical sympathy and interest shewn by the Naval Authorities. They were unable to take part in the Banner Competition right through the year owing largely to their having to move their Headquarters at the time of the first Rally. In addition to occasional camps ashore they had an adventurous week's cruise in August in the Western Waters of the Colony during which they had ample opportunity to prove themselves to be not merely "fair weather sailors."
We have already mentioned the important part played by the Naval Deep Sea Scouts in the Association's work. It was a great pleasure to the Commissioner to be able to present on behalf of the Chief Scout the Silver Acorn Medal for good services to the Movement to Payment Lt. Commander K.S.Fleming Green, R.N., China Fleet Troop Scoutmaster. This ceremony took place on Christmas morning in the D.S.S. Camp at Saiwan. We are very fortunate in having the Fleet Scoutmaster with us as he has already done important work for the Deep Sea Scouts in the Navy elsewhere. Merchant Service conditions make it practically impossible for more than a very few D.S. Ses. to be in one ship, so that it is a real pleasure to such keen scouts to be able to plunge at once into a scouty atmosphere.
Our relations with the Girl Guides continue as friendly as ever. We put Saiwan at their disposal and they the Sandilands Hut at ours for meetings and Rallies. There is frequent interchange of representatives at our respective meetings and we combine in sending cablegrams of good wishes to the Chief Scout and Chief Guide whenever occasion demands it.
We are glad to be able to report that there are clear indications that Scouting in China is gradually taking a turn in the right direction which will eventually bring it into line with the Scout policy held by all the 40 and more countries represented on the International Scout Bureau. We are grateful to His Majesty's Consul General in Canton, Mr. H.Phillips C.M.G., for giving welcome assistance both to the Canton Scouts and to us in our efforts at establishing contact.
Greetings and visits are exchanged regularly with our Scout friends in Macao, though they are still small in numbers. We sincerely thank them and them and the Portuguese Officials for many courtesies and kind assistance.