The Boy Scouts Association of Zimbabwe
Province of Matabeleland
The views and opinions expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Boy Scouts Association of Zimbabwe.
FROM THE PROVINCIAL COMMISSIONER’S DEN
Once again we stand at the beginning of a New Year, a year that will offer many challenges, some of which we can look forward to and others that we could well do without.
Many people have stated that whilst the year will be harsh in economic terms, there will be a turning for the better before the end of it. Only time will reveal if this will be the case, in the meantime our task is to carry on to the best of our ability with our Scouting.
We in Scouting are greatly affected by our environment and no doubt some will find themselves having to make decisions which may lead to a curtailment in them involvement in Scouting activities. If this were to happen, it would put an even greater strain on those who remain to run our Cub Scout Packs, Troops, Districts and the Province. Analyzing the census figures for the past few years, shows that a decline in our numbers has already taken place and by June when the 1999 census will be taken, we will know whether we are still in a decline or if we have stabilized. Whatever the trend, it is incumbent upon each one of us to remain positive in our attitudes and to tackle each challenge in the best way we can. Even in the darkest moment, a positive attitude will assist in a future recovery.
The challenges that we are sure to welcome, are participating fully in our Cub Scout Pack, Troop, District and Provincial programmes. In order to ensure our members receive the best possible benefits from the Scouting syllabus, Leaders need to take advantage of training courses designed for them and to thoroughly plan their own Cub or Scout meetings. In addition the involvement of parents is essential for the effective running of a Pack or Troop. The parent’s role is in the main of an administrative nature but may include specialists’ services to the Pack or Troop.
Scouting, as a non-formal component in the education of our youth has many advantages over the formal and informal components. Firstly, it is voluntary which in its self is a strong motivating factor. Secondly, the structure of the movement pivots on the Patrol system which essentially is boys of varying ages interacting with each other, the older being Leaders, under supervision of the adult Scout Leader, of their younger contemporaries. This learning to lead, requires that the Leader needs to learn skills that are required for attainment of the standards leading to the Sable Award. Thirdly everything we do in Scouting is ‘hands-on’ in other words, practical. From our Promise, through skills such as map and compass, knotting and first aid to planning and then undertaking a hike or expedition, is practical . Nothing is learnt for the sake of knowing but is learnt by putting it into practice. Scouting is the ‘action’ component of what is learnt at school, in the home and the neighborhood in which we live.
As I said at the beginning of this article, we are going to meet many challenges as the year progresses, your choice is either to turn those challenges to your advantage or give up and experience an empty lifebut think carefully for an empty life means an empty life for the Cubs and Scouts in your care.
PROVINCIAL SCOUT COMMISSIONER
Inter-Provincial Patrols Competition
The effective Scout Leader knows that the winning of competitions does not necessarily make his Troop a good Troop. Having lots of Sable Scouts is certainly a sign of good advancement, but unless it is accompanied by real growth for each Scout, it may not signify a good troop. A successful traveller always has his eye on his distant destination, and it must be the same for those of us who train other people – we need to keep our eye on the ultimate goal. In his original writings P-B said "The object of Scouting is to help in making the rising generation, of whatever class or creed, into good citizens".
R DUDLEY FORDE
FROM THE EDITOR
Compliments of the New Year!! Or is it going to be complications, given the rough times that we are living in. Times that have forced many to abandon the goodwill ship of scouting. It is our hope that 1999 will be different, for we all come into the New Year rejuvenated, full of ideas and willing to surge forward. Whether 1999 will be good or bad is really up to us, we can make or break, in reality we all paint our world.
At Group level we need to harness all our resources both human and material. This will enable us to provide our young people with quality scouting worth their time. Least we forget that we have a moral obligation to ensure that our Scouts benefit from scouting as much as we have. This could not be done at a much better time, our scouts need to acquire basic survival skills if they are to survive in these turbulent economic times.
Training phobia is once again gripping our Province. This is basically laxity among Leaders to attend training courses. Surely, how can we develop as a movement if we do not have the requisite skills? Are we not short changing the scouts whom we claim to lead but end up misleading. Those tasked with running courses we trust will advertise the courses in good time and go out of their way to provide quality, up to date and modern courses. They too have an obligation you know!
Finally to all individuals involved in the Scout Movement, lets strive to make 1999 special. It deserves to be special in the sense that it is the dawn of the new century. Lets continue fighting for peace and harmony by building friendship across social barriers. And to all young scouts, be unique, be yourself, dare to be different, do not do it because they are all doing it, and may God help you !
A voice from the bush, I speak for the underprivileged.
As we approach this great day (X-mas) I have thought it wise for us to take it upon ourselves to be generous to those who are by no means able to celebrate this day with exuberance or with certainty because of their disability.
Everyday you walk in the streets, take it upon yourself to do a good turn, this time do it for the underprivileged, for the blind, destitute or the needy. Let us think of others before ourselves. If you happen to get into a shop and think of buying four sweets do as expected of you to give two of your sweets to your fellow man, for we are all one.
Brother scouts remember that by so doing, you would have earned yourself a favour from God. You would have played a part in shunning the sin of omission. Again you would have fulfilled your scout promise.
Where ever you live, there is a soul in need. Let us stretch our hands, not to receive but to give. I implore you brother scouts to partake in this fundamental activity.
Remember one may pity the poor, but one cannot admire them.
VUSAMAZULU H NCUBE
1ST BINGA SCOUT GROUP
INTER PROVINCIAL PATROLS COMPETITION
5 – 6 DECEMBER 1998
Preparations and the Journey ………….
Matabeleland’s hope of clinching the coveted trophy in the 1998 Inter Provincial Patrols Competition was dealt a heavy blow, when 8th Hillside dropped out at the last minute due to circumstance beyond their control. This left 66th St Columbus and 56th Bulawayo the uphill task of bringing glory to Matabeleland.
The Competition ……..
After spending a total of 2 nights on the NRZ train, the Matebeles arrived at Chenziwa Scout Park, the venue of the competition. This is situated 24 km outside the city of Mutare. Four Provinces were represented ie. Matabeleland, Mashonaland, Midlands and the hosts Manicaland, who together had over 200 scouts and Leaders in camp. The competing scouts were generally tested on basic scouting skills ie. Pioneering, first aid, mapwork and general camping skills. While the competition was of the right standard it is imperative that more judges are invited from all the five Scouting Provinces.
The final parade was attended by the Manicaland Provincial Administrator who presented the various prizes and certificates.
The final results were as follows
66th St Columbus were adjudged to have been the best patrol.
Congratulations to the Matabeleland contingent for representing our Province and sincere thanks to Ntokozo Ncube for co-ordinating the Patrols and finally a big bravo to the Matabeleland Scout Council for financing the trip.
BOY SCOUTS COMMEMORATE WORLD AIDS DAY
Over thirty scouts participated in the World Aids Day procession organised by the Bulawayo City Council, Health Services department. The main purpose of the march was to spread an awareness on the dangers of Aids and HIV. The procession ended with an exhibition in the International Trade Fair grounds, by various youth organisation in the city that displayed information regarding their works and purpose. The scout movement was represented and as expected were adjudged to have produced an outstanding and creative exhibition. Sincere thanks to Gary Mushaya, Kevin Xaba,and Melusi Lusaba who manned the exhibition and represented all of us.
Inter-Provincial Patrols Competition
………. Is it really necessary!
The Inter-Provincial Patrols Competition was introduced in 1985 by Matabeleland Province on behalf of National Scout Headquarters as a way of improving scouting skills in the country. Provincial Patrols competed for individual and Provincial glory. Things went on smoothly for many years until 1998, when Provinces began to seriously look at the expenses involved in sending 3 Patrols to this event. The economic scenario has been rough and hence scouting has been affected. Research has shown that in 1985, it cost Matabeleland Province less than $200.00 to send Patrols to this competition and recently we are made to believe the costs were in the region of $13 000.00 for the three patrols but because only two Patrols actually went the figure was $9 000.00.
It is highly likely the prices will again go up next year. So the question is ‘can we afford to effectively participate in this National event?’ Also of late it has become clear that there is not enough manpower at National to effectively run the competition.
A number of prominent scouters in the Province came up with suggestions. The first suggestion was that only groups coming 1st in Provincial events should be sponsored by Province. The other suggestion was for National to run similar competitions in each Province and compile marks accordingly. One particular scouter was adamant that the event be scrapped, arguing that it had outlived its purpose.
Generally all the boys interviewed expressed similar sentiments that the competition had to go on at whatever cost. For they believed this was the climax of all scouting competitions in the country.
Well do you want to have a say in this interesting issue. Write to us and give us your opinion.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
May I please, through the medium of the Fire-Light magazine, thank the Provincial Council, and the many bother Scouts and sister guides from so many places who sent me words of condolence upon the death of my beloved wife, Sheila on 10 November 1998.
Word travels fast in these days of Information Technology and the messages came in by fax and other means from England, South Africa, Canada, and Australia which has made me feel so humble, and so proud to be a member of our world wide brotherhood, and prouder still that the greatest tribute which stands out in my mind, and forever will, came from Patrol Leader ‘Bubble Foot’ of the 101st Bulawayo Troop, who brought a group of the 101st to my house to express their sorrow, and to act it out in mime. It was a great Scouting thing to do, and will forever leave a lasting impression on my mind.
Thank you all for your many kindness and sympathy shown to me in my time of sorrow.
J F GURNEY
TRAINING – JANUARY 1999
Conservation - The Environment
As I write this, the day before Christmas eve, my thoughts take me back to a very old tradition, that on Christmas eve the animals are able to talk! I wonder what they would say on this Christmas Eve in 1998. Would they be grumbling about the lack of food, or their ill-treatment by man and lack of space and freedom.
Chief Seattle, the Indian Chief after whom the city of Seattle is named, delivered a speech in 1854. He said ‘What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected?" He spoke of the white man ravaging the land:
"He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or dried beads. His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert".
Scouts, we have a serious duty to carry out our sixth law, which now reads ‘A Scout is a friend to all Nature?" As Leaders we have a duty to give the boys opportunities and encouragement to fulfill this law. Children, especially the very young have a natural sense of WONDER, we must nurture this. We are given the guidelines in many of our tests and programmes, starting with our Bronze Arrow test of ‘Discovering Nature’ where the Cub studies a wild animal, tree, fish or bird and the Gold Arrow tests he has to make a model showing how to prevent gully erosion and land. There is the World Conservation Badge. This is undertaken by a group and requires lots of time and research, but it is well worth the effort. This will really help the Cubs to open their eyes as it is quoted in our new book ‘The Scout Trial’, which takes the Scout on to his study of the environment. I urge you all to read the OUTDOOR CODE quoted in our new book. He can learn more about the ECO SYSTEM (which is what Chief Seattle was talking about) the FOODCHAIN AND OBSERVATION. He also has to take part in a Nature Trail.
Recently several groups have been active in helping the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in conducting snare hunts, and by the way, you will be interested to know that in a talk by the director of SPCA which was given on ZBC, the Boy Scouts were mentioned and thanked for their participation. This is a wonderful way to show we care, but we could and must do more. To give you one more practical way we can help to conserve not only the animals but also the environment I quote from ‘The Scout Trial’. ‘A well-worn path kills the grass and so encourages erosion. So why not re-route the path? If that is not possible, build water bars (with logs or rocks) to divert the water off the path. Wind blows topsoil away too. So why not plant windbreaks? There are things you can do to help? Why not write to '‘Fire-Light’ and tell us when you have done it !!
And do you realise you are not only keeping Scout Law number six when you think about the environment and nature. You are helping to "Open the eyes" of the boys and giving them a sense of wonder, which is giving them a sense of God and so keeping our Scout promise ‘Duty to God".
ASSISTANT PROVINCIAL COMMISSIONER [TRAINING]
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