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Scouting and Guiding Our Way into the New Millenium

As I was taking our three sons toboganning up Mount Seymour, I saw the Baden-Powell Trail, and was reminded again of the lasting impact that the Baden-Powells have on our society. February is a very special month for Scouting and Guiding because February 22nd is Thinking Day, the joint date for both Olave and Robert Baden-Powell's birthdays. From the very beginning, Lord and Lady Baden-Powell were committed to making a significant difference in the lives of young people. They saw the effect of our 20th century industrialized, urbanized society: the decline in physical health, the erosion of moral standards, the loss of self discipline. Robert Baden-Powell (B.P. as he is affectionately known) returned from South Africa in 1903 as a war hero. He had bravely defended the South African town of Mafeking with only a small band of soldiers for 217 days.  During the siege, he used the boys of the town as messengers, first aid attendants, and other vital jobs. These boys, who were the first prototype of the boy scouts, played a vital part in saving a beleaguered town. The Boer War as a whole was a great embarrassment to the English nation. Their troops performed poorly and inefficiently. B.P.'s 217 day defense of Mafeking provided a bright spot in an otherwise dark period.
When B.P. returned to England, he was appalled at the deterioration of morale in English youth. He described 'thousands of boys and young men pale, narrow chested, hunched up, miserable specimens, smoking endless cigarettes, numbers of them betting." He was also concerned about the rampant sexual immorality, resulting in disease poverty, and unwanted children. B. P. the war hero wanted to use his popularity to help rebuild the vitality and dynamism of young people. The amazing popularity of his scouting movement probably surprised B.P. as much as anyone else. Within one year after writing the best seller .Scouting for Boys", over 100,000 boys had already enrolled as Scouts. The scouting movement quickly crossed the seas to numerous countries around the world. King Edward VII was very interested in scouting and suggested that B.P. give up his army career and devote all his time to scouting worldwide.

After meeting the future Lady Baden Powell on an ocean cruise in 1912, Robert and Olave Baden-Powell were married in a quiet church wedding that same year. The two formed a powerful alliance that has unforgettably shaped the character of countless young people throughout the world. Why is it that Lord and Lady Baden Powell are still so fondly remembered many years after their deaths? Click to find out why...


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St. Simon's Anglican Church 
North Vancouver, B.C.