Scouting Around the World
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAP.GWU.EDU)
Wed, 2 Nov 1994 00:47:07 -0500
One of the best features of the list is the contributions of Scouts and
Scouters from all around the globe. It may well be that statistically 82%
of the subscribers are from the U.S. and that a lot of discussion tends to
focus on BSA and GSUSA, but it seems to me that there is also a great
amount of discussion on program ideas that can be used anywhere. And if
we separate the quantity argument from the value of postings, I'd have to
say that some of the most valuable discussions I've seen have been ones
where contributions came from Scouters in many countries.
The richness of this list is found in the diversity of its contributors.
In my own case I know that I have enjoyed learning about Scouting in many
different lands. My son's Troop was delighted with some of the Australian
recipes and even put them in its newsletter. Many of the ideas that have been
introduced or discussed with international input frequently are used and
passed on to other Scouts here.
As a young Scout in the U.S. I probably had no awareness of Scouting
anywhere else until I say a reproduction of Norman Rockwell's painting
entitled "A Good Sign All Over the World" in a 1963/4 issue of Boys Life
(BSA's Scouting Magazine for Youth). That painting featured A Scout from
Scotland teaching a Scout from the US the Highland Fling while a
compatriot played the bagpipe and Scouts from Indonesia and India joined
in the fun. To the right other Scouts from Jamaica, Canada, Lebanon, and
France were climbing a hill attracted to the music. Ever since then, I
and many of the Scouts I knew then were anxious to meet Scouts from other
Some were lucky enough to go to a World Jamboree later. I was one of
those fellows whose family couldn't afford much more than summer camp.
That interest has never died and in some ways this list fulfills that
childhood dream of meeting those Scouts from many lands.
Aside from that dream, I have come to recognize that this list has served
to promote values that are shared by all of us. Sure, there are
discussions that have focused narrowly and I've been as guilty as any of
contributing, but beyond that the list has allowed a lot of wonderful
discussions both on and off-line on subjects of mutual interest. I think
that is some ways Baden-Powell would be proud to know that his ideals of
international goodwill and cooperation were being furthered.
In that light it may be appropriate to remember this passage from his last
letter to his Brother Scouters and Guiders concerning the aim of Scouting:
"Its aim is to produce healthy, happy, helpful citizens, of both sexes, to
eradicate the prevailing narrow self-interest, personal, political,
sectarian and national, and to substitute for it a broader spirit of
self-sacrifice and service in the cause of humanity; and thus to develop
mutual goodwill and co-operation not only within our own country but
abroad, between all countries."
I'd sure hate to see us all retreat to national or regional Scouting
lists, where soon the subscribers would soon become more narrowly focused.
Similarly, if the only Scouters to remain on this list were from the U.S.
that would almost certainly guarantee this list becoming narrowly focused.
We are at the beginning stages of a new revolution in world communications
through the internet that can further the aim of world Scouting. What we
do now with this list may set the course for some time to come. I for one
look forward to continuing to hear and learn from all of the members of our
Scouting family. In the spirit of Gilwell . . .
Yours in Scouting, Michael F. Bowman, a/k/a Professor Beaver
Deputy District Commissioner Exploring, GW Dist., NCAC, BSA
Speaking only for myself, but with Scouting Spirit . . .
____ mfbowman@CAP.GWU.EDU ____
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City