Boy Scouts


Boy scouts camping (postcard, before 1940)
National Library of Norway, via Flickr

How do children learn good values? Anne Muir and Colin Lowther look at an organization helping boys: the world wide Boy Scout Movement.

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Transcript


Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Anne Muir.

Voice 2

And I’m Colin Lowther. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

Some boys are walking through a forest. They know this place well. But every time they change their direction of travel, they stop. They bend down and put some sticks on the ground in the shape of an arrow. They are making their way towards a group of tents hidden among the trees. When they are almost there, they leave a final arrow on the ground. They also leave a circle of sticks with a small stone in the middle of the circle.

Voice 2

A little while later, another group of boys starts walking through the forest. They have never been to this place before. They do not know where they are going. They are walking slowly and looking carefully at the path in front of them. Suddenly one of the boys shouts ‘Look!’ He points to the ground. He has found another arrow. The boys walk in the direction of the arrow.

Voice 1

After they follow many such signs through the forest, they come to the last arrow and the circle of sticks. The circle means ‘I have gone home’. It tells them they have almost arrived at the camp. And camp means cooking food over a fire out of doors and sleeping in a tent. What fun!

Voice 2

Both groups of boys are very pleased with themselves. They have learned what the signs mean. One group left the signs, the other group followed them successfully. They are going to be good scouts. The boys belong to the worldwide Boy Scout Movement. There are Boy Scouts in more than 110 countries. Today’s Spotlight is on the Boy Scouts.

Voice 1

Robert Baden-Powell was an officer in the British army at the end of the 19th century. He felt that many of his young soldiers were not well trained. They needed to know how to think more clearly and to make better plans for what they were going to do. They also needed to know how to find food and shelter in any situation. And Robert wanted to teach them how to observe carefully what was going on around them. So he wrote a small book called ‘Aids to Scouting’. It was full of useful information for young soldiers.

Voice 2

In 1899, Robert Baden Powell was in Southern Africa. This was during the Boer War. Baden-Powell was trapped in the town of Mafeking with a small number of soldiers. Mafeking was surrounded by more than 8,000 men of the Boer army. But Baden Powell and the other soldiers defended the town for 217 days until more help came. They succeeded by using many of the ideas that Baden-Powell had written about in his book.

Voice 1

When he returned to England, Baden-Powell discovered he had become a national hero. He also discovered that his little book had become very popular. Boys were enjoying learning how to make camps out of doors. They were finding out how to light camp fires and to cook. They were discovering how to observe nature. It was all a lot of fun!

Voice 2

In 1907, Baden-Powell held the first national camp for boys on an island off the south coast of Britain. It was a great success. The Boy Scout Movement was officially born. It has been growing ever since. Scout groups appeared all over Britain. Baden-Powell produced a new version of his book. He called it ‘Scouting for Boys’.

Voice 1

Scouts play games and have a lot of fun when they meet together. But there is a serious purpose to it all. They learn how to look after themselves and other people. They discover what they are good at and they develop many useful skills. They enjoy earning awards for the many things they learn how to do.

Voice 2

Robert Baden-Powell believed that children need to grow in their spirits as well as in their bodies. He placed a special value on adventure. He encouraged children to do things that are great fun but a bit difficult. That is why scouts go on camps and live out of doors. They learn how to survive in places that are different from their homes. This teaches them how to be responsible for themselves and for each other.

Voice 1

The most important words for scouts are honour, loyalty and duty. They must always be kind to other people. They must also try to do something useful for another person every day. They learn to think about what is best for the people around them and to put the needs of other people before their own needs.

Voice 2

All these ideas have their roots in Christianity. This is because Baden-Powell believed the teachings of Jesus. And he believed that children would grow up into good citizens if they followed what Jesus taught. In one of his messages to the scouts, Baden-Powell said, ‘If you are not sure what to do in a situation, ask yourself this question. What would Jesus Christ have done in this situation?’

Voice 1

King Edward VII was very pleased with what Baden-Powell was teaching young people. The king asked Baden-Powell to retire from the army and to devote the rest of his life to the scout movement. In 1910, Baden-Powell and his sister Agnes started a similar organisation for girls. They called them Girl Guides. This organisation has also spread all over the world.

Voice 2

Baden-Powell received honours from many nations. The British Government made him a Baron. It meant he could use the title ‘Lord’ before his name. But probably the honour that pleased him most was the title the scouts themselves gave him. They called him ‘Chief Scout of the World’. Since his death, no-one else has ever held that title.

Voice 1

In his old age, Lord Baden-Powell went to live in Africa, in the country of Kenya. He is buried in a small village there. On the stone above his tomb there is a picture. It is a small circle with a dot in the middle.

Voice 2

As a Christian, Baden-Powell believed in life after death. Christians believe that anyone who trusts in Jesus Christ will live with God in heaven after they die. That will be their final home.

Lord Baden-Powell left a last message to the world. The picture of the scout sign tells everyone, ‘I have gone home’.

Voice 1

The writer of this programme was Joy Smith. The producer was Nick Mangeolles. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Boy Scouts’.

Voice 2

You can also leave your comments on our website. Or you can email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also find us on Facebook - just search for spotlightradio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Did you belong to a group as a child? Did it teach you anything? How do children learn good values?

Comments


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georgino
said on July 08, 2013

Before this program I didnĀ“t know the means of scout,  this friend named Powell is a good man.  because show us how to be useful to the society forgetting your own needs.

Greetings

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paulo86nirisco
said on July 08, 2013

Here in Brazil we have many tributes to Lord Baden-Powell, but I did not know much bout him, now I learn a lot about him through spotlight ,  thank you.

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thanhdung07121985@gmail.com
said on July 09, 2013

What a great topic!Now I can understand what “scout"means.All of us need being trained how to take responsibility ourselves,how to resolve problem ,good things when a child to become a good citizen.

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nguyenthuy
said on December 07, 2015

I also want to become a scout someday, It is an amazing work in my view. As a scout, I have trained to be face with any plights and I assumed that It is so vital for youth people nowadays to know about. As my observation, scouts are strongly friendly and kind. They are willing to help people and become an alpha male in group. As a result, they obviously gain leader skill which recruiters are looking for. I also appreciate scouts because of their kindness and honesty. Thank for all deeds scouts have done for us.

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improve_english
said on December 09, 2015

In my country, there are many groups of scout for teenagers. That groups always have society activities on every weekend. Many boy and girl teenagers join it. The groups of scout teach them life skills, how to solve the problem, how to survive in any circumstances like being lost in forest or climbing mountains. It helps them develop their physical body as well as thier spirit. They can learn how to interact with the other people in a group or a community, how to be a responsible and dexterous people. Thanks to that skills, they’ll going to be a good citizen. I think that this is a necessary and important for all teenagers to join this groups.

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Jhonn
said on April 11, 2018

Good article. I remember my time when I was young. I’m a scout and this remains for lifetime.
Giovanni