It was a pleasure to be present at the packed St. George’s Day Annual Scouting Service at St. Mary’s Plympton on Sunday last. Scouts, guides, beavers and cubs, boys and girls in equal numbers, gathered from Plympton, Plymstock and Ivybridge to renew their vows and to celebrate their patron saint. St. George is the patron saint of scouting and England as well as many other countries and activities.
It is odd that some people cite St. George to rally support for a nationalistic cause. He was of course not English, but possibly Italian, or from even further east and probably lived at a time just before the collapse of the Roman Empire. There is no report of him ever coming to England. The key point about him and the legend around him is his much-vaunted virtue, especially of great courage and gentility.
The Scouting movement set up in different days before the First World War has been very successful in modernising itself, without losing its core values. The key promises is: to do my duty to God and the Queen, to help other people and to obey the Scout Law. The Scout law has 12 inspirational aspirations: to be trustworthy, brave, loyal, respectful and so on! What a wonderful way to pass on these timeless values to the next generation.
Jan and I have been attending these services for over a quarter of a century, always love them and it seems that numbers are growing not dwindling. The enthusiasm and sense of adventure on the faces of the children present is a joy to behold. It is evident that they extract many life-long lessons from their involvement as well as having a lot of wholesome fun.
None of this would be possible without the commitment and sacrifice of the adult leaders. There are many who were there on Sunday who have given 10, 20 or even more years of dedicated service. What devotion to the next generation! I can see that they get a lot out of it and that the camaraderiebetween leaders is deep. I gather that there is a waiting list to join local scouting groups, because there are not enough adult leaders to cater for all of the children who wish to be part.
I take my hat off to current scouting leaders. Thank you. You are making a lasting difference. If anyone out there wants to join their ranks, please get in touch.