Project Aloysian Scout

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Early in my Army career I committed myself to authorship by writing a little handbook for the use of my men, called Reconnaissance and Scouting. Later on when I came up for examination for promotion in the subject of Reconnaissance the examiner asked whether I was the author of the handbook on the subject, and he had the decency to pass me without any further question.

So to any candidate for examination who is doubtful about his ability to pass in any particular subject, my advice is to write a book about it and let it be known to the examiner that you are the author. Material for the book can, of course, be obtained from the many other existing books on the subject”.

So wrote Robert Baden-Powell in his “Lessons from the Varsity of Life”.

As many know, despite his tip on passing exams, Baden-Powell was no doubt one of the most remarkable men the world has ever seen. He was full of zest for life. And his interest in knots, tents and campfire lives in the hearts of millions of people around the world today – in the form of the scout movement that he created.

Baden-Powell spent many years in India as an officer in the army. What sets him apart from many of his contemporaries was his keen sense of observation of the various things that happened around him while in India. His books are a treasure-trove of what India was in the late 1800s. His many sketches, watercolours and the military anecdotes including that of a young Winston Churchill as a junior army hand at Meerut transport us to an amazing world of yester-years. And is there a scout anywhere that hasn’t helped build a monkey bridge? A monkey bridge – Baden-Powell claimed that he learnt it from the villagers of India – is as much part of today’s scouting as the humble reef knot.

But scouting is much more than art, craft and teamwork. Every “grown-up” scout that I have come across swears that he learnt great lessons of life from scouting. I too was a scout once. At St Aloysius High School. Two of my children are in scouting today – one a Venturer doing Queen’s Scout, and the other a Scout Patrol Leader. I honestly believe that, if creating social awareness in a human being is important, the world needs to introduce scouting to every child.

Some friends suggested that we set up a little project – Aloysian Scout – to raise awareness about scouting to more young people at St Aloysius High School. Several ex-Aloysians have decided to join hands and donate scout badges from different parts of the world to the school – with the hope that St Aloysius High School will have a collection of at least 5,000 scout badges from around the world by the end of 2008.

I have made a small contribution of about 150 Australian scout badges to the Aloysian Scout project. Some images are provided here.


Author: Bert Naik- Australia

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