(An article for the February 1997 Deep Cove Crier)
Baden-Powell On-LineJust a few weeks ago at the local Parkgate Shopping Centre, all of our community was reminded once again that Scouting is alive and well in our local community. Dozens of cars were lined up by the CIBC Bank, depositing not money, but rather Christmas trees in the annual 11th Seymour Tree Chip-Up. I offer my congratulations to the Scouts, Cubs, Beavers, Venturers, Scouters, and parents for a job well done in helping to protect our environment. From its very inception, Scouting has always been looking for creative ways to do good deeds, and serve its local community. I remember as a young boy that I carried a Scouting good-deed coin in my right pocket. The aim was to do a good deed each day so that I could move my Scouting coin over to my left pocket.
Lord and Lady Robert and Olave Baden Powell were a remarkably gifted couple to have started such long-lasting and widespread groups as the Scouting and Guiding groups. Guiding in our area involves over 500 girls, including Pathfinders, Guides, Brownies, and Sparks. Just before Christmas, I was invited to speak to a local Brownie group on the meaning of Christmas. To prepare for that session, I used the Internet Search Engines to look for WEB pages on Guiding and Scouting. To my surprise, I discovered that there are over 700 Scouting/Guiding WEB pages around the world, reaching out to the 17 million+ Scouts and 8 million+ Guides. Lord and Lady Baden Powell were trailblazers in everything they did. Similarly, Guides and Scouts are trailblazers in this new technological revolution, that is radically reshaping our modern world.
One of my first discoveries which I showed to the local Brownies was a Christmas WEB page http://www.skl.com/~453rd-GGC/Guidelinks.html, with flashing Christmas trees, from the 453rd Toronto Guide Company (Willows Bluff Area). Each week, one of the Patrols is responsible for preparing the information that is provided on the Internet. My second discovery was the Internetional Scouting Page http://scoutwww.strw.leidenuniv.nl/scout/, which provided up-to-the-minute information on Scouting from all around the globe, including Scout Camps, National e-mail address lists, Scouting Archives, Scouting Radio, and Leadership training skills.
One of the most fascinating Scouting WEB pages is run by the Global ScoutNet Organization in Switzerland, with Links to national servers: http://www.scout.net/ The ScoutNet Network is an independent network by the Global ScoutNet Organization, to connect scouting and guiding bulletin board systems (BBSes) around the world One of their most successful projects is the Scouting Spider http://www.cybernet.scout.net/ Scouts & Guides are encouraged to include the url (WEB page address) of their scouting or guiding homepage to their database. There is also an open invitation from British Scouts to join the 1st Cybernet Scout Group. Cybernet Scouting allows young people to exchange ideas, make new friends and celebrate Scouting. The ScoutLink project by the Global ScoutNetOrganization provides a secure place for penpals around the world. http://www.scoutlink.net/penpals/
What about Canadian Internet Scouting? One could start with the 32nd Ottawa Richard the Lion-Heart Rover Crew http://www.magi.com/~slmorla/Rover_Crew.html. Next, a young person could surf over to the 333rd Toronto Scout Group http://www.total.net/~skip333/333group.htm. There is also an Unofficial Scouting in the Greater Toronto Region Web Page, which claims to have more info than the Official Page. http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/knickson/gtr.htm
To improve one’s French, and promote Canadian unity, a scout can contact Scoutisme traditionnel au Québec http://www.quebectel.com/aebp, or Federation francophone scoute officielle du Quebec http://www.fqgs.scouts.ca
To take a look at Western Canadian Scouting, you can dial into Edmonton Region Scouts http://www.cam.org/~pdg/scouts.html Beavers and Cub can cut their teeth at http://www.aracnet.net/~monette/187thscouts.htm
What about Canadian Guiding? A helpful place to get connected for Guides is the Canadian Guiding E-mail Directory http://www.ualberta.ca/~jwalker/Guides.html. One can then surf over to the official Girl Guide of Canada WEB site http://www.girlguides.ca/ or to the Kingston Ontario Girl Guides http://ww.skl.com/~453rd-ggc/8th_kingston.html Of particular interest may be the more exotic WEB Guiding sites in Australia http://www.ozemail.com.au/~guides, Italy http:www.crs4.it/~gavino/ageesci_eng.html or even with our ‘next door neighbours’, the American Girl Scouts http://www.gsusa.org
Lord and Lady Baden Powell were always looking for concrete examples from nature and life that showed the reality of God. They saw the study of nature as "a golden chance to bring the boy to God through the direct appeal of Nature and her store of wonders". If they were alive today, I could see them making extensive use of the internet. I could imagine them pointing to the Internet, as yet one more example of the majesty and mystery of God’s world. Years ago, people asked me how God could possibly hear everyone’s prayer around the world, all at once. I could see Baden Powell pointing to the Internet as a living parable of how God, in a much larger way, is able to hear our every cry. My prayer this February is that each of us, as Baden Powell encouraged, may turn our minds to how we can best serve God while we still have the life He has lent us.
The Rev Ed Hird, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rector, St. Simon’s Anglican Church
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