ISSUE 20, January 2007
Editorial
Historic: Dr Thomas Barnardo - children's saviour
Travel: South African journey
London Gala Evening: Royal Masonic Variety Show
Centenary Celebrations: Scouting's milestone
Quarterly Communication: Speech by the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Supreme Grand Chapter: Speech by the Pro 1st Grand Principal and Report of the Cttee of General Purposes
Library and Museum: Facets of Fraternity
   Specialist Lodge: Internet Lodge - Masonry on the Web
Special Events: Spamalot and the Alternative Hair Show at Grand Lodge
Freemasons' Hall: ADelphi System - A computer revolution
Mark Master Masons: Duke of Kent at 150th anniversary
Breeches Bible: A Lodge locker's secret
Masonic Arboretum: Planting an idea
Education: Events and The hoodwink
Masonic Charities: RMTGB and Grand Charity and Legacy appeal and RMBI and NMSF
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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    It happened again last night. Sitting at the Festive Board, I was asked which Lodge I was from. I explained that my Lodge was for people with an interest in Scouting and found that all around me had been Scouts.
    We talked about how Freemasonry offered the same values and fellowship that we had first learned around the campfire and in our Troops. Then my new friends asked me about Scouting now and what it is doing for young people today.
    I felt immensely proud to be a Scout as well as a Freemason. And wondered how interested Freemasons could connect to Scouting today; to understand what Scouting is doing and, maybe, even to offer some form of support to Scouting in their local communities.
    This year we celebrate the centenary of Scouting. From a small experimental camp run by Robert Baden-Powell (B-P) in 1907, Scouting has become the world’s largest values-based youth organisation with over 28 million members from 216 countries and territories around the world. Scouting bridges cultural and religious divides.
    It provides a purposeful programme to develop the whole person.
    Sounds familiar? Freemasons will easily recognise, and be attracted to, many of Scouting’s characteristics. In my booklet, Scouting & Freemasonry: two parallel Movements?, I identify at least seventeen similarities between the two. The strongest of these is a shared moral basis.
    One modern parallel is the challenge both movements face to change the public’s perception about itself. Any Freemason older than me would remember a Scout Movement with big hats and shorts and a rather quaint public image. But it has changed much since then, while still retaining its values and continuing its good work. What Baden-Powell called his “Great game” is in safe hands and continues to be supported by his own family and successors.
    Similarly Freemasonry today does not accord with the public image that has prevailed in the last 50 years. Again, it retains its values and much of its tradition. But it is open rather than secretive and follows a progressive programme of development while also contributing to the greater good.
    And yet, despite all these parallels, both traditional and contemporary, many members of each Movement probably have little understanding of what the other is doing in 2007. Why should they? Well, perhaps if Freemasons can understand and support the work of Scouting, the movement to which many Freemasons owe so much of their “infant nurture”, perhaps more members of this highly important youth organisation might, in turn, develop an understanding and respect for Freemasonry and its purposes.
    In the UK, Scouting has experienced new growth since we refreshed our programme, uniform and training a few years ago.
    Scouting is still based on the same moral principles, still asks members to make a promise and to abide by a moral code, and still offers a progressive and balanced programme of development, recognised by a badge scheme. But by connecting with young people in a way that is relevant and attractive to them, Scouting has become “cool”, the in-thing for young people to join.
    Nowadays, a child can join Beaver Scouts at six years old and continue through the various sections to the culmination of personal achievement, the Queen’s Scout Award. This is earned by following a programme that reinforces physical, intellectual, social and spiritual development and the values and principles of Scouting.
    Scouting in all Scout Groups is now open to girls as well as boys. The Scout Association believes that it is more appropriate nowadays for young people to grow up and socialise together and wishes to be an inclusive Movement, open to all young people.
    The key reason young people join Scouting is adventure. Scouting still offers probably the widest range of outdoor activities available today. Camping has been supplemented by hiking, rock climbing, gliding, sailing, pioneering, canoeing, parascending, abseiling and many more. The uniform of activity trousers, with polo or long sleeved shirt, supports an adventurous lifestyle in the same way that B-P’s first uniform did one hundred years ago.
    Scouting also continues its traditional service to local, national and international communities. “Bob-a-job” has been replaced by organised community projects ranging from local initiatives to installing water supplies to remote villages in Africa. Successful Scouting depends on the quality, commitment and enthusiasm of its adult leadership and volunteers who give their time to help young people.
    All leaders undertake training to equip them for their roles and the adult training programme is recognised externally as one of the best of its kind.


Scouting is a world-wide movement

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