Monday, August 1, 2016

On This Day in 1907:

On this day in 1907 at 6:00 am sharp, Lieutenant General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell sounded his kudu to signal Turn-out.  

Twenty boys from very different backgrounds began the first day of the first of an experimental camp at Brownsea Island, a very progressive concept indeed for the Edwardian Era!

Here is what B-P himself wrote about the camp:
"The troop of boys was divided up into 'Patrols' of five, the senior boy in each being Patrol Leader. This organization was the secret of our success. Each Patrol Leader was given full responsibility for the behaviour of his patrol at all times, in camp and in the field. The patrol was the unit of work or play, and each patrol was camped in a separate spot. The boys were put 'on their honour' to carry out orders. Responsibility and competitive rivalry were thus at once established, and a good standard of development was ensured throughout the troop from day to day. The troop was trained progressively in the subjects of scouting. Every night one patrol went on duty as night picket - that is, drew rations of flour, meat, vegetables, tea, etc., and went out to some indicated spot to bivouac for the night. Each boy had his greatcoat and blankets, cooking-pot and matches. On arrival at the spot, fires were lit and suppers cooked, after which sentries were posted and bivouac formed. The picket was scouted by Patrol Leaders of other patrols and myself, at some time before eleven p.m., after which the sentries were withdrawn and picket settled down for the night.
" We found the best way of imparting theoretical instruction was to give it out in short instalments with ample illustrative examples when sitting round the camp-fire or otherwise resting, and with demonstrations in the practice hour before breakfast. A formal lecture is apt to bore the boys. "The practice was then carried out in competitions and schemes.
"For example, take one detail of the subject, 'Observation' - namely tracking.
1. At the camp-fire overnight we would tell the boys some interesting instance of the value of being able to track.

2. Next morning we would teach them to read tracks by making footmarks at different places, and showing how to read them and to deduce their meaning.
3. In the afternoon we would have a game, such as 'deer- stalking', in which one boy went off as the 'deer', with half a dozen tennis balls in his bag. Twenty minutes later four 'hunters' went off after him, following his tracks, each armed with a tennis ball. The deer, after going a mile or two, would hide and endeavour to ambush his hunters, and so get them within range; each hunter struck with his tennis ball was counted gored to death; if, on the other hand, the deer was hit by three of their balls he was killed."
Camp sketch by Robert Baden-Powell

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