In July 2011 members of the SAS – Scout Active Support responded to an invitation to join us for an evening. Four members visited, each hosted by a patrol who interviewed them about their experiences of scouting while we did some backwoods cooking.
The scouts made notes, took photos, video and audio recordings of their interviews. Some of the results can be found below.
SAS Scout Leader, Interview by Fox Patrol
Tom joined the scouting movement at the age of 6, back in 1955. He originally came from the Netherlands, and initially joined a Dutch Cub Pack. He became a Sixer (head of the six) at the age of 8, before moving to England, and joined Crowborough Scouts, which had a maroon coloured scarf. From here, he quickly obtained his linguist badge. No guessing needed for the languages! In his day, the age ranges were as follows. Cubs, 7-11. Scouts, 11-15. Senior Scouts, 15-18. This was also known as Rovers, but has since been disbanded. He then became a leader in full from 1980 onwards, and then took a break before returning in 2006. The SAS was only formed last year, and he was a member of that from the start. Tom was also a member of the Skinners’ troop. During which time, he managed to play a trick on everybody which included an unlit campfire, some diesel, a light bulb with no glass, and a battery at the end of a wire. One pretend strike of the match and hey presto, a campfire is burning. Nobody knew how it had happened! Some differences, Tom described to us were that scouts in his day were much more free to do as they please. Nowadays, we have to stick to strict rules and regulations, which weren’t apparent back then. For example, once when they went out hiking, because there were a significantly less amount of cars, they were able to lie down and sleep in the middle of the road for fun. Although this was extremely dangerous, there were nowhere near as many cars around then, so it was relatively safer than it would be today. When asked what differences there were between children back then compared to children nowadays, he replied that kids these days are far more destructive, and it is much more difficult to tell them off, because of child abuse laws. Although hitting scouts may not be such a good thing, it did help to restore order in a troop and instate a rule of authority. You would think that with some children behaving worse, the laws might have been relaxed, but no such luck!
We thank Tom very much for letting us interview him and to obtain his views and opinions on scouting. I think as a patrol, we all learned a great deal from it.
Alan Thomson’s Opinion on all things scouting, By stags
Alan joined cubs in 1967 in Yorkshire his scout troop was 46thSt. cutlets in Rotherham. Their scarf was blue and white. Their camps were very similar to ours because they went on mainly local place for weekend camps but went further away for summer camp; Alan’s favourite camp was when his troop went to Holland.
Also their camping was similar to ours because they used patrol tents, cooked on open fires (Alan won his district cooking competition) also the activities they did were almost the same, they did pioneering, hiking, orienteering and first aid.
The main changes which Alan has noticed are: uniform which went from shorts, shirt and beret to beige trousers and a shirt to today’s uniform. Also he says that health and safety has changed a lot as well.
Alan’s favourite part of scouting is camping and his favourite memory is of him and his patrol hiking through a field and getting chased all the way to the gate and having to scrabble over as fast as they could.
Alan also believes that scouting is not getting softer it is being carefully controlled and the core Ideas have remained the same, also new stuff has been introduced like the internet to allow scouts from all over the world to communicate with one another.
Rod Norman, filmed by Will Sowell