Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"The Crest of a Wave"

Fitness in the Camp Ground circa 1953

There has been a Boy Scout Club in this small town for several decades, but last year it closed, in spite of plenty of support from the kids but parents couldn’t find the time to help!

Then last week I read that due to the “cuts” in the English government spending Scout groups are expected tp pay as much as 5000 pound a year to rent a hall from a local council that is roughly $7500!

My Dad was in the Scouts, camping 1927
The Scout movement was more use to me than the Grammar School I went to, I learned how to work and play with other teenagers, how to live together in a tent cook on open fires and prepare several gallons of porridge for the next days breakfast. How to chop vegetables without chopping my fingers, and how to peel and eye 100lb of potatoes while laughing and joking with the other boys.

Returning from Jersey at the age of 15
Learned how to wash my neck and both sides of my arms ready for morning inspection, washing being done in a local stream, and how to use a toilet built over a hole in the ground dug by the older boys.

We went on two week camping holidays, over the sea to the channel Islands, down to the Cornish Coast, and up to the Scottish Highlands near the port of Oban.

Every weekend we stayed at a small cabin in the Pennines about 30 minutes away from home, and we got there by piling into the trailer part of a truck and off we went rain or shine, and nobody ever got bounced out!

The Gang Show, see how many boys were involved!
Once a year our Troup put on a “Gang Show” based on the music by Ralph Reader, and there I leaned how to wear stage make up and in some sketches dress up as a woman, do stage falls and trips, and sing in harmony with the other boys.

And during all that time parents weren’t involved at all, other than be the audience for the shows and provide the money for the camping trips.

As time has gone by unfortunately liability issues has changed the rules when I was a member of a troop we had a leader (Akela) his assistant and a couple of Rovers (Scouts over 15 years), now though the leadership is the same there has to be so many adult volunteers per so many kids, and unfortunately parents are too busy earning a living it is very hard for them to volunteer.

And so there are now no Cubs or Scouts and no Girl Guides in our small village of Schomberg. We do have lots of kids playing hockey though so all is not lost!

PS "Riding along on the Crest of a Wave" is one of the most popular gang Show Songs by Ralph Reader


  1. Oh what memories that brought back!I too was a Brownie, a Girl Guide and a Land Ranger and even 'White Cloud' in the local wolf cub pack. Here too in the states unless you have parents to run these things it doesn't get done. Shame, the kids miss out on a lot.

  2. It is sad to see so many of the wonderful activities that children used to be able to participate in ending. I truly wonder sometimes where childhood itself has gone.
    My husband was very involved in Boy Scouts and he, too, learned so much and has so many marvelous memories.

  3. What wonderful memories, I can remember going to see you at the Gang Show, sadly we girls didn't get included as also did we not go on any camping trips. Our Nick was a keen scouter, until girls became more of an interest. Tim got his fun in the Sea Cadets and had many adventures.