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The Boy Scouts Association of Zimbabwe
Firelight Magazine

Province of Matabeleland

The views and opinions expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Boy Scouts Association of Zimbabwe.

June 1999


Lets strive to make them better people!

Why do so many adults spend hundreds of hours in Scouting and in the process facing the wrath of other adults who have never experienced the true value of Scouting. The reason perhaps lies in the sense of making this world a better place. When I left college my lecturer/tutor said "go out into the world, and teach them, teach them to be better than you". Brother Scouts these words were valid that day and I believe they remain valid and true today. For the purpose of Scouting is to help young people to be better citizens to be at the most better than us. Their lives and experiences should be an improvement, and better than ours. Lets re-affirm in them the spirit of being daring and the ability to take risks for that’s what defines life. In our effort as Leaders to produce better Scouts, let us be mindful of the fact that each individual Scout is unique and different. Our job is to develop the potential within each individual, and make them realise that there is more to living.

As Leaders we have made mistakes, committed errors of omission or commission, in our Scouting lives. Hence it is important to allow for mistakes and errors in the boys we lead. Let us not set out to develop or nurture little angels.

So lets go out and help the young Scouts in our care make the most of their lives lets learn from them too.

Finally a word of advice "Everyone is a unique individual with something to contribute and something to learn. If we truly find ourselves in a place where we are no longer learning and do not have anything to contribute then we owe it to ourselves and everyone around us to use our two feet and go to another place where we can learn and contribute"

Good Scouting!!



Its recruitment time again!

Our goal is to retain and recruit new members so that we can grow as a movement.

I believe we can achieve a 10% growth rate if we all make an effort. Every group Leader knows the importance of a group that is growing and has a solid base of parent support.

At any point in the year we lose 5% of our members from the previous year.

For whatever reason lots of young people make a decision early in the year not to return. Sometimes its because they think they have done it all, including travelling overseas or attending a Jamboree, so why stay?

To bring them back we have to re-recruit them. Its about putting in some effort to tell them what is going to happen in the coming year, and what they are going to miss and how important they are to the Scout group.

In some cases a personal visit might just be the edge that keeps that young person involved in Scouting.

So plan ahead but remember it won’t happen overnight.




Responsibility for "Adults In Scouting".

Many people have a role in the management of Adults in Scouting. Group Scout Leaders are involved in the selection of Scout Leaders and their assistants. District Commissioners are also involved in the selection of Leaders. The ability of any organisation in recruitment and selection of personnel (Leaders) has a direct bearing on its success.

It has been said that the most important decisions any manager ever makes are who to appoint and who to retire. The need to get the right people in the right jobs, and to ensure the removal of those who are not achieving what the association needs.

Hence after a set period of time the performance of all Leaders in the movement should be reviewed. After review the following maybe recommended:-

1. Provide the adult with training and support.

2. Renew the appointment in his current role.

3. Re-assign the adult to another position within the Association.

4. Retire the Leader from the Association.





Looking for my pair of shorts!!!

During our Easter camp at Gordon Park Matopos, I lost my Scout shorts with the name Faran M.B. Mugaviri. Inside the pockets was a Scout badge.

If found please surrender the shorts to Nathan Tom (13th Byo) or Ishumael Matewa, at Provincial Headquarters.

Many thanks





Youth connection - A World Scout Gathering Mafikeng August 1999

1999 marks the centenary of the siege of Mafikeng where Robert Baden Powell is widely believed to have first conceived the idea of Scouting for Boys.

In July this year the South African Scout Association is hosting the 7th World Scout Youth Forum and the 35th World Scout Conference. Because of the presence of large numbers of International Scout people, it was decided to hold a special commemoration of the centenary of the siege to coincide with the World Conference.

The Scout African Scout Association is inviting young adult leaders in the age group 18 to 26 years, to participate in the Mafikeng Celebrations from Sunday 1 August 1999 to Saturday 7.

More details are available from Scout Headquarters.



Our expectations and hopes

After many years of endless waiting Matabeleland has finally got a Travelling/Training Commissioner. This is the only professional Scouter in the Province. This has indeed came at the right time when the Province is in the dark as to what is happening in the various Districts especially in the rural areas.

For us Scout and Cub Leaders we expect a lot from this man, especially those in the rural areas who have never seen or had a District Scout Commissioner. The T.T.C will be the major communication link between Groups and Provincial Headquarters.

Many people are in Scouting, because of the love of it, or because its a call of duty, but now we have a man who will assist with our training needs. A man who will take his time to visit our Groups and help us in running our Group meetings, and sharing a few Scouting skills with our boys.

As for Commissioners, here is a man who can help solve problems affecting the Groups especially meeting school authorities, and marketing Scouting.

Many people will find the availability of the T.T.C will make their jobs easier i.e.

The major Provincial activity is just around the corner and I need someone to assist with the day to day administration of the event, and here is a man who is more than willing to assist.

As Editor of Firelight I am very much tired about editing Scouting news from the greater Bulawayo area. I now know we shall publish stories about Scouting at Magama Mission out there in Tsholotsho or what is happening in Hovi or Bazha in Matopo District.

As a Province we expect improved communications between the Groups and us. We will also get to know, who is reading FireLight, the Headmaster or the boys or both.

We also expect to receive more census returns to prove that we are not only the best but biggest Scouting Province in this country.







Who is Chuck Wilcox?

Many young Scouts will ask you this simple question whenever you discuss about this competition. Hence we have decided to share with you a brief history about "Chuck"

Born in England in 1917 as Charles William Wilcox but later affectionately called "Chuck" by friends, Scouts and family members.

Milestones of "Chuck’s" achievements in Scouting:-

1963 - Awarded the Woodbadge

1969 - Medal of Merit

1970 - A.D.C Cubs

1972 - D.C Byo East

1976 - Provincial Scout Commissioner (Matabeleland)

1976 - Long Service Award

1982 - Silver Eagle

1985 - Golden Lion

1990 - Retired as Provincial Scout Commissioner

1992 - Chuck Wilcox passed away

Chuck ran a number of courses for Leaders and also organised the Cub Totem Pole competition and the Assegai Competition.

According to his family, Chuck loved and enjoyed Art, that’s why they decided to have an Art Competition in his honour.

Well fellows, what is left now is to enter the competition. This is the only competition that awards individual prizes and also affords Leaders an opportunity to display their craftsmanship and skill.

So long!





A man of Principles.

A young man married a beautiful lady and he made a deal with his in-laws, that in the event of their daughter dying he will be buried with hear.

As days passed by he made known his cultural values and principles to his in-laws, one of which was "not to go back where he has been".

One day they went for a fishing trip, on their way back he discovered that he had forgotten his jacket. His in-laws insisted that he should go and collet it, the young man replied, "I am forbidden to go back where I have been. If you go and take it, its all yours".

On another day he forgot his expensive wristwatch and he told his father in-law the same thing, "I don’t go back where I have been".

After some decades the daughter died. On the grave site the father called out, "My beloved son in-law, our deal". The young man went into the grave and couldn’t fit. They took him out and extended it. They asked him to go back. The young man reminded him "Father, I don’t go back where I’ve been".

My beloved brother Scouts, Christ died for us in order to wash away all our wrong practises, so that we will be saved and have eternal life. So lets not go back to our sins.

God Bless





Leaders get trained!

A successful Tutor course was held with eleven participants, under the skilled instruction of Mrs Rosemary Moody (A.P.S.C Training).

The participants, who were mostly Leaders drawn from the Matabeleland and Midlands Provinces, were treated to some worthy training regarding the major functions for tutors and the various methods of tutoring.

With an A.P.S.C Training, 2 Assistant Leader Trainers, a Travelling/Training Commissioner, fifteen woodbadge holders and trained tutors, one will surely say Matabeleland is gearing up for its training needs in the next millennium.

At the end of the one day course, participants were all issued with certificates of attendance on the understanding that when they take part in tutoring at Courses in the Province, they would maybe be issued with qualifying certificates.

Many thanks to all whom contributed to the success of the course.




The Travelling/ Training Commissioner - who is he?

Finally the Province of Matabeleland now has a Travelling/Training Commissioner, a fulltime professional Scouter who seeks to promote the growth of Scouting in this Province. After a long absence it is important that the Scouting fraternity understands the functions of the Travelling Commissioner.


The purpose of the job is to assist the association in its growth strategy.


  • To help establish new Groups in the Province and ensure that all Groups are registered, Scout Leaders are warranted and that census returns are handed in on the due date.
  • To help establish District Scout Councils and Group Scout Councils.
  • To assist all Commissioners with returns from Districts under their portfolio.
  • To liase with Commissioners determining their needs.
  • To recruit and initiate training programmes for Scouters.
  • To do any such other duties as directed by the Provincial Commissioners from time to time.
  • Apart from the above, the T.T.C will also help in the training of boys where required.

So how can one get help from the Travelling/Training Commissioner?

The current T.T.C. is Ishumael Matewa. To get in touch with him simply phone 62788 or writer to:

The Travelling/Training Commissioner

P O Box 929

BULAWAYO or E-mail -

We hope you will make full use of your Travelling Commissioner for the betterment of Scouting in your area.




The 1999 Zimbabwe International Trade Fair was held last month and once again the Scout Leaders, parents and our well wishers of Matabeleland Scout Province undertook the task of selling entrance tickets to the public on behalf of the Trade Fair Company. We in Province look upon this duty as a fund raising event, as the donation we receive for doing this duty contributes significantly in keeping Province financially afloat. On behalf of the Matabeleland Scout Council, I would like to thank most sincerely all those who gave of their time to undertake these duties.

Province have been involved in running the gates, first for the Bulawayo Agricultural Society and then the Trade Fair for in excess of forty years to my knowledge. Many people have been involved in all those years but I think two people, namely Mrs R Hadfield and Mrs A Wilcox have been involved continuously for a good number of years. Not many people will realise or for that matter appreciate the amount of work these two ladies are involved in, in order that all goes smoothly for the days that the Trade Fair is open. Firstly, notices inviting Scout volunteers have to be drafted, typed and dispatched to Scout Groups many months in advance of the event. When they are returned, a Commissioners’ meeting undertakes an initial selection. This is necessary as not all volunteers are considered suitable. The ladies then fit the volunteers to the roster of duties which includes, ticket sellers, supervisors, headquarter staff and "spare" people to fill in at short notice. This is not as straight forward as it seems for it is complicated by people only being available for certain days and at certain times. Then everyone has to be notified and issued with passes. During the duration of the Fair their work continues and then finally they organise the Thank You party a couple of weeks after the Fair even to the extent of preparing all the delicious snacks. To Mrs Hadfield and Mrs Wilcox I would like to express Provinces gratitude for all that you have done not only this year but for all the previous years.

The team Leader this year was Mr G Williams a former Scout and now a member of the Matabeleland Scout Council. This is the second year Graham has undertaken to head the team and through his experience last year initiated a number of changes to improve the system. What better accolade could Scouts have received for a job well done than when the General Manager of the Trade Fair, Mr G Rowe, said at the Thank You party, that "We had improved considerably over past years and that overall he was pleased with our performance, however, there was still a little way to go to perfection".

One point I would like to emphasise on in closing and that is, "A Scouts’ honour is to be trusted". In undertaking this duty, we are handling the organisation of another company’s performance in the eyes of the public and we are handling a vast sum of money which does not belong to us. For the Trade Fair Company to trust us with these two issues, to me signifies a trust in the ideals and aspirations of the Scout Movement. This is a trust we must jealously guard and be proud of.






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