Fundraising with an Unexpected Bonus

Last weekend, we took the Group to one of the local supermarkets (M & S) to raise some funds by packing the customer’s shopping bags (if they want us to!). We pack their bags and they give us a donation – at least that’s how we hope it goes!

Those of you who have read my stuff before will know that this is a great way to raise funds and that I hate doing it! This is only because I spent 13 years working in a supermarket, but I grit my teeth and do it as the positive outcomes outweigh my personal hates!

It was a great day’s fundraising and we made over £570! The big bonus, however, was meeting two old members of the Troop. These gentlemen were sitting down and just struck up conversations with us. Oddly enough, both conversations went similarly. Both asked which Group we were from and when told we were from 1st Porthill, they said ‘Oh I used to be a member there’. The first was a Scout in the 1940’s, during the war and the second in the late 1940’ searly 1950’s. Both told us about the camps they went on, the things they did and how they really enjoyed their time in the Scouts. They were also really interested to know we were still going and that so many young people are with us.

It was good being able to chat to these two gents and I wish we’d have had longer to talk to them!

Cheshire Network

I’ve just watched the below video from Cheshire’s Network (18 – 25 year olds). It’s an excellent advert to show what they get up to and is very professionally put together. Very impressive!

Just a shame that our County’s Network (Cheshire is less than 10 miles from where I live) isn’t as organised or proactive.

Harrods Stops Scouts Wearing Neckerchiefs and Woggles!

Bit of an own goal there Mr. Al-Fayed! It appears that a Group of Explorer Scouts who were in London were not allowed into Harrods as they were wearing their neckerchiefs! They were asked to remove them before they could enter, but to the Explorer’s credit they said no as it is a part of their uniform!

It seems that Harrods does have a bit of a history with this kind of thing, they banned some Guides a couple of years ago. You can read about the story here.

Seems like Harrods are furiously backtracking now and apologising ‘unreservedly’!

Still, it’s great to read one of the Leaders saying

To my horror they said we were going to have to take off our neckers and woggles.

I said, ‘definitely not’, I’m a Scout and it’s part of my identity.

Keeping the Bills Paid!

As we are all aware, life is getting more and more expensive. Running a camp site has never been a cheap task, but of course these days it is getting more expensive.

So it’s interesting to read that on of my local campsites, Barnswood, will be hosting a music type festival aimed at young people and families. Now of course there are a few NIMBYs who are objecting because of ‘noise’ and ‘extra traffic’ but if you’ve ever been to the site you’ll know it’s a wood in the middle of nowhere!

I think the camp are on to a good thing and hope that the money generated will help the camp’s running costs for many years!

The Funeral of a Scout

I wrote back in February about the sad death of Stephen Young.

This is a news item about his funeral. This is a celebration of that young man’s life.

Thanks to Lotta for bringing it to my attention.

Baden-Powell and The Nazis

On Monday 8th March, various previously classified documents from the 1930’s and 1940’s were placed in the National Archive. One of these documents concerned the relationship between the Hitler Youth, Scouting and BP. Of course all the media then blew up and started implying that Scouting was hand in hand with the Nazis! Indeed, I read a tweet on Twitter that went –

I never liked the Scouts. Nazi sympathisers it seems.

Oh dear!

However the WOSM have put out this statement

The Scout Movement victim of the Nazi regime

Geneva, 10 March 2010 — On the 8th of March, the security service of the United Kingdom submitted to the National Archives three bundles of declassified documents covering a period extending from 1937 to 1944. The World Scout Bureau acquired these documents for examination. These were essentially notes from the police declaring the coming and going of members of the Hitler Youth in the UK. Other parts are under the heading of the Nazi youth movement.

How Baden-Powell met with representatives of the Hitler Youth

Amongst all of these document pieces is a copy of a letter sent on November 20, 1937 by Baden-Powell to Joachim von Ribbentrop, German ambassador to London, thanking him for having received him on November 19, to meet Jochen Benemann and Hartmann Lauterbach, officials of the Hitler Youth. The tone of this letter is polite and diplomatic. It refers to the mutual feelings that the British and the Germans can exchange, Baden-Powell writes “I sincerely hope that we shall be able in the near future to give expression to it through the youth on both sides, and I will at once consult my headquarters and see what suggestions they can put forward”.

In one of these bundles of documents is a two-page report that Baden-Powell (hereafter BP) transmitted to the International Commissioner, where he states that “both [Lauterbacher] and Benemann are eager to see the Scouts get into closer touch with the German youth movement. He continued his report stating that Ribbentrop “sees in the Scout Movement a very powerful agency” to help bring together the two youths. To Ribbentrop, and as per the report by BP, “that the true peace between the two nations will depend on the youth being brought up on friendly terms together in forgetfulness of past differences”. This report carries no instructions from Baden-Powell to go along the suggestions proposed by Ribbentrop.

Lord Baden-Powell did not meet Hitler

In his report, Baden-Powell said that Ribbentrop would like him to go to Germany to meet Hitler. It is obvious that this meeting never took place. A week after his meeting with the ambassador, BP left for Africa. He returned to the UK for a short period in 1938 before returning permanently to Kenya October 27, 1938, where he died three years later.

In 1933 and 1937, World Scouting responds to the prohibition of Scouting by the Nazis

In January 1933, before the takeover by the Nazi Party, the Hitler Youth had expressed its hostility to Scouting, claiming that it alone could represent the youth of Germany. On the 17th of June, 1933, the Großdeutche Bund, a federation of many youth movements including a dozen Scout Movements was prohibited. On the 26th of May, 1934, a decree forbade the Reichschaft deutscher Pfadfinder, another federation of Scout Movements. The decree stated that the federation “had become a place of refuge for the young enemies of the new state.”

This solution marked the end of the Hitler Youth’s will to be recognized by the International Boy Scouts Bureau. Contacts were made during the jamboree in Hungary (August 1933) between them and the International Bureau, Hitler’s Youth sent its Chief of Staff Karl Nabersberg. He also went to the International Bureau in London in 1934, dressed in a Scout Uniform to negotiate contacts. He also sought to meet with the Scouts of France. But none of these contacts fell through and the dissolution of the Reichschaft deutscher Pfadfinder was one of the consequences.

In August, 1933, The World Scout Conference, held in Godöllo (Hungary), voted the following resolution (15/33), entitled “Political Propaganda”: “The Congress once again invites attention to the fact that any political propaganda of any character, direct or indirect, national or international, must not be permitted in any camp or scout gathering in which representatives of other nations are invited to participate.”
In 1937, the same World Conference was even more precise when it voted resolution 15/37 entitled “Patriotism”: “The Conference resolves that the International Committee be requested to do all that it can to ensure that Scouting and Rovering in all countries, while fostering true patriotism, are genuinely kept within the limits of international cooperation and friendship, irrespective of creed and race, as has always been outlined by the Chief Scout (Baden-Powell). Thus, any steps to the militarization of Scouting or the introduction of political aims, which might cause misunderstanding and thus handicap our work for peace and good will among nations and individuals should be entirely avoided in our programmes.”

Baden-Powell and the leaders of the International Bureau threatened by the Nazis in 1940

It is interesting to note that the Nazis invasion plan for the United-Kingdom, prepared in 1940 by the SS General Walter Schellenberg, foresaw the apprehension of about 2800 prominent British citizens, amongst whom was Lord Baden-Powell and the main leaders of the International Boy Scouts Bureau.

The invasion plan was accompanied by the document, “Informationsheft Groß Britannien” a book with information on British society: the administration, the education system, media, religious groups, political parties, unions, organizations of migrants , Freemasonry, Jewish organizations, police, secret services, described under the Nazi perspective.

Part of this Nazi book entitled “The education system” includes two sub-sections:”public schools” and ” The International Scout Movement”. Reading this text, a mixture of nonsense and very accurate information, makes us wonder. The Nazis believed that since Baden-Powell had been an intelligence officer in the British army, the Scouts he had created in 1907 had only been for the purpose of espionage for the benefit of England and commissioners of various international organizations had as their sole mission to prepare monthly and quarterly reports on the political economic and social life of their country for the International Scout Bureau. The portion devoted to Scouting is also an illustration of Nazi racism: Hubert Martin, Director of the International Bureau is described as “half Jewish”.

All these elements proves the lack of mutual sympathy that was between the Nazi regime Baden Powell and the Scout Movement. They should encourage today’s Scouts to reflect on their history to better understand the reality of their mission of peace, and to guard themselves against totalitarian regimes that have always tried to prohibit or restrict the Movement.

Of course, I know by now that some of the media will never let the facts get in the way of a good story! But it’s always interesting that certain sections of the media are so quick to criticise and put down the movement and very reluctant to be positive. Bad news sells of course!


Yesterday as I was reversing my car to leave work, I wasn’t looking properly and hit a colleagues car! Luckily all I did was break my fog light and did no damage to the other car (phew!).

However, what did shock me was that my colleague was genuinely surprised that I’d told her! I guess that people are not expected to be honest these days.

Favourite Games

I had an interesting email from a Polish Scout the other day, and one of the things they asked was what kind of games do we play. I thought about it and put down the following –

Elephant Hunt

All the Scouts stand at one end of the hall and two leaders stand at either side each holding a ball (soft football size). When the Leader shouts ‘Go!’, the Scouts run to the other end of the hall. The Leaders then throw the balls at the legs of the scouts (nothing higher!). If the Scout is struck on the leg then they are out and join the Leaders throwing the balls at the remaining Scouts. When the Scouts are at the end of the hall, they are safe and cannot be got out. The Leaders must stay with their backs to the wall. The last Scout remaining wins.



The Scouts all stand at one end of the hall and this is called Lifeboats. The opposite end is called Quarterdeck. The left side of the hall is Port and the right Starboard. The Leader then shouts the name of the place the scouts need to go to. On the command they then run to that place. The last one there is out. There are also other commands, such as ‘Captain’s Coming’ (all stand alert and salute), ‘ Boom Coming Over’ (everyone lies flat on the floor), ‘Midships’ (everyone forms a forward facing line in the middle of the room) and ‘Freeze’ (everyone stops moving) etc. You can make more up! The last person to complete the command is out. When there is one Scout left, they are the winner!

These are games we’ve played at my Group for years. Please don’t ask why Elephant Hunt is called that, as I don’t know, but please be assured the no elephants are ever harmed! The interesting thing is that although we’ve played it for years, members of one of our local Groups had never heard of it!

Which got me thinking, what other games are there that Groups have played that are their favourites? I’d love to hear what other Groups / Packs / Troops etc. play, so please let me know!

Competition Time!

With the publishing of the book ‘A Complete Guide to Scouting Skills’ happening this week, Chris over at Jabbering has been able to launch a competition so that 2 lucky people can get their hands on a copy!

Take a look at his page here, check out the rules and then enter by answering a simple question. The closing date is 20th March 2010.

Good Luck!