A great day at Great Tower | Scouts

28 03 2013

Nice to see HRH Kate waving the flag as a volunteer Cub Scout leader in the UK. She’s recently attended the volunteer training course we ask every volunteer to attend – worldwide.

A great day at Great Tower | Scouts.

Here she’s cooking what in the UK is called “a twist” – simple flour/water/salt dough wrapped around a stick and preferably burned to a crisp before being blathered in jam and used to burn the roof off your mouth.

Bannock bread is the Canadian equivalent.

Robert Bateman

19 11 2012

I was privileged over the weekend to be invited to attend the national conference for Scouts Canada, held in Ottawa. One of the speakers was Canadian artist Robert Bateman. He spoke eloquently on ecology, the need to get young people outside in nature, and his various projects including three schools across the country. Given his audience, he boldly pointed out that the “game of Scouting” so readily associated with Robert Baden-Powell, was actually a refining of a previous idea by Ernest Thompson Seton.

Ernest Thompson Seton (1860-1946), founder of ...

Ernest Thompson Seton (1860-1946). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seton was born a Geordie (well not technically – he was from South Shields in County Durham) and moved with his parents to Canada in 1866 where he became fascinated by First Nations (“indians” as they were known back then). He met BP in 1906, only a year before the latter launched what became the worldwide movement of Scouts. Seton himself went on to found the Boy Scouts of America. One of Seton’s more famous books “Two Little Savages” covers much of the same ground, in a similar way to BPs own later work in “Scouting for Boys“. Well worth a read, and a treasured present, I’m sure, for anyone interested in Scouting and its ideals.

English: Robert Baden-Powell Русский: Роберт Б...

Robert Baden-Powell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bateman began by confessing that the best part of being awarded no less than 12 honorary degrees was “being able to watch all the co-ed students file past”. I immediately warmed to him, and was not disappointed as the feisty 82 year old mentioned he was born on the same day as Queen Victoria… just not the same year (and a day after me I might add!)

He spoke of being a high school teacher in the 50’s and the day after Presley was first broadcast (from the waist up) being amazed at the still-swooning teenage girls he was faced with in class. He claims he earnestly told them that within a few years “nobody will have heard of Elvis Presley“. He then humbly confessed that he still regularly tests the theory, and that recently, 57 years later, grade 3/4 students still know who Elvis Presley is. “I’m still waiting” he chuckled.

It was a joy to hear, in this day and age, someone who encouraged children to go out, have adventures in the woods and live life. Statistics show, he claimed, that children today access one screen or another for 7 hours a day. EVERY day. By contrast, they spend only 30 minutes a week “in the outdoors”. Our youth are more and more disconnected from reality and instead are maxed out on explosions and over stimulation via video games and action movies. The danger here, as with any drug, is that you need to up the dose to get any future “hit”.

He quoted a friend of his – an elder from the Cowichan nation – who said “We often worry about the world we are leaving for our children. I think we need to worry more about the children we are leaving for our world!”


The Perry Bible Fellowship – Boy Scouts

26 07 2012

Thanks to an Australian friend for finding this on The Perry Bible Fellowship.

Never let it be said that Scouting doesn’t move with the times and stay relevant to the interests of the youth…

The Push for Change

26 05 2012

The Push for Change | The Push for Change.

Passions are amazing.

Possibilities are awesome.

But without action, we are only left to dream… and nothing changes.

Today I went to a retreat as a member of my local Scout Council leadership team (what can I say?) The keynote speaker was Joe Roberts. He is now a consultant, but draws from his own background as a troubled youth, living on the streets of Vancouver, a junkie. He speaks well. He’s careful to not ask for sympathy. He doesn’t need it. He’s a successful businessman. Now.

Instead his message is that there are many youth out there who have made some of the same poor choices he made, or who have by some other means been forced into living on the street. Having come through that and grown from it, he is keen to offer that illustration of positive change to others. Obviously this was a message that resonated well with the gathered Scout leaders. Scouting is all about offering positive opportunities for growth to youth.

This summer (1st of July) he’ll be pushing a modified shopping cart from Calgary to Vancouver. Symbolic of the carts pushed on the streets of Vancouver by people collecting cans for recycling to feed their habits. This one has been engineered for the event, and will collect money for the charity Roberts has co-founded. But this is only the start. A trial run for his May 2013 goal of walking coast to coast – finishing up in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where he had his epiphany and turned his life around. He is careful to acknowledge others who helped in that rebirth. His mother, and a kindly old gent called “Gus” in the DES who not only gave him the cigarette and toonie he was bumming off him, but also a pearl of wisdom: “you could be something great”.

His pitch to Scouting wasn’t for money or access to our membership as fundraisers. He’s confident of his organisation’s own ability to do that. What he was looking for was engagement with Canada’s youth. He’s aware that unless youth engage with his cause he’s largely just some old bloke pushing a cart across Canada to no great purpose. Kudos to him for that.

I wish him well, and look forward to the YouTube awareness he expects from his trial run from Calgary.

His “day job” as motivational speaker can be followed at Skid Row CEO.

The Lion and Albert

3 05 2012

So when I was a kid (physically – I still am mentally), I was in Scouts. About 12 years old, I guess.

In the UK, we used to do these annual shows called Gang Shows. Basically they were revues, and the Scouts and Guides would perform various songs, dances and skits, and the audience would pay money – largely out of sympathy.

Anyway, a very good friend of mine (who now works for Auntie Beeb) performed “The Lion and Albert” as a monologue – originally recorded by Stanley Holloway (Eliza’s dad in My Fair Lady). Here it is on YouTube with the words.

Stanley Holloway: The Lion and Albert

There’s a famous seaside place called Blackpool
That’s noted for fresh air and fun
And Mr. and Mrs. Ramsbottom
Went there with young Albert, their son.

A fine little lad were young Albert,
All dressed in his best, quite a swell.
He’d a stick with an ‘orse’s ‘ead ‘andle;
The finest that Woolworth‘s could sell.

They didn’t think much to the ocean,
The waves they were piddlin’ and small.
There were no wrecks and nobody drownded,
‘Fact, nothin’ to laugh at at all!

So, seeking for further amusement,
They paid, and went into the zoo,
Where they’d lions and tigers and camels
And cold ale and sandwiches, too.

There were one great big lion called Wallace
Whose nose was all covered with scars;
He lay in a som-no-lent posture
With the side of ‘is face on the bars.

Now Albert ‘ad ‘eard about lions-
‘Ow they was ferocious and wild;
To see lion lyin’ so peaceful
Just didn’t seem right to the child.

So straightway the brave little feller,
Not showin’ a morsel of fear,
Took ‘is stick with the ‘orse’s ‘ead ‘andle
And stuck it in Wallace’s ear.

You could see that the lion din’t like it,
For givin’ a kind of a roll,
‘E pulled Albert inside the cage with ‘im
And swallered the little lad – ‘ole!

Now Mother ‘ad seen this occurrence,
And not knowin’ what to do next,
She ‘ollered “Yon lion’s et Albert!”
An’ Father said “Ee, I am vexed.”

They complained to an animal keeper
Who said “My, wot a nasty mis’ap;
Are you sure it’s your boy ‘e’s eaten?”
Pa said, “Am I sure? There’s ‘is cap!”

The manager ‘ad to be sent for;
‘E came and ‘e said “Wot’s to-do?”
Ma said “Yon lion’s et Albert,
And ‘im in ‘is Sunday clothes, too!”

Father said “Right’s right, young feller-
I think it’s a shame and a sin
To ‘ave our son et by a lion
And after we paid to come in.”

The manager wanted no trouble;
He took out his purse right away,
Sayin’ “‘Ow much to settle the matter?”
Pa said “Wot do you usually pay?”

But Mother ‘ad turned a bit awkward
When she saw where ‘er Albert ‘ad gone.
She said “No, someone’s got to be summonsed!”
So that was decided upon.

And off they all went to p’lice station
In front of a Magistrate chap;
They told what ‘ad ‘appened to Albert
And proved it by showing ‘is cap.

The Magistrate gave ‘is opinion
That no one was really to blame,
And ‘e said that ‘e ‘oped the Ramsbottoms
Would ‘ave further sons to their name.

At that Mother got proper blazin’:
“And thank you, sir, kindly,” said she-
“Wot, spend all our lives raisin’ children
To feed ruddy lions? Not me!”

So anyway, I was reminded of this little ditty today, when a colleague shared a YouTube video with me. Filmed at the zoo in Portland Oregon, yesterday. I found it ever so slightly weird that the mother (filming, presumably) is chuckling away while this 150kg eating machine is trying desperately to claw its way through the glass to eat her offspring!

I wonder if the family is called Ramsbottom…