Monday, 6 August 2012

Scout's Honour

Scout's Honour
11 May 2009

First of all - you are all sworn to secrecy and I'm not bloody joking.  If this gets out, I’ll know that it was you that told.  And then the powers that be, will know that I’m the one that broke the circle of trust.  I’ll be in seriously deep dwang, so don’t drop the ball on this one.

Luke was Invested into Scouts last Friday and the whole ceremony was shrouded in secrecy.  The younger kids, as in the Cubs, who are not yet a part of Scouts may not know what happens in the Investiture and they like to keep the mystery alive.  We went in not at all knowing what to expect and Luke was very nervous and excited at the same time.  He is only 11 years old and it was a big day for him and much anticipated.

It is a very important ritual that forms part of your journey between Cubs and Scouts, and is something that is taken extremely seriously.  Luke has now officially moved up from Cubs to Scouts and even though he had started Scouts at the beginning of the term, they only Invest the new kids once they know the Scout Laws and have the hang of things.  All the Cubs (7 - 10 year olds) and the Scouts (11 - 17 year olds) formed two separate circles outside on the Cubs/Scouts Grounds.  The Cub Leader known as Akela - the Old Wolf - then called forward all the newly turned 11 year olds going up to Scouts.  They then walked into the Scouting circle where their new Scouts Leader as well as their Patrol leaders welcomed them.  The Patrol leaders are Scouting boys that fill a leadership role.  In Cubs the kids are divided into groups of six and are called by colour names.  Luke was a Sixer in Black Six in Cubs meaning that he was the leader of his group, Black Six.  Now in Scouts the kids are grouped into Patrols called by animal names.  Luke and his best friend Phillip are in Zebra Patrol and it’s so cool for them to be together.

Akela commended the kids on all their hard work and dedication to Cubs and said that they would be sorely missed and would be a great asset to Scouts.  The Scout Leader thanked Akela for guiding the kids and welcomed them into Scouts.  Then all the Scouts as well as the parents of the kids being Invested went into the Scout Hall.  Younger siblings are not allowed and were left to play outside on the playground.  They closed the door and drew all the curtains, making it very, very dark and hard to see a thing.  The Scouts all formed a big circle, in the same way that the Cubs do and then the new kids were called forward.  The parents of the kids being Invested (that would be us) also stepped forward and had to form a chain by the mother placing her left hand on her child's left shoulder and the father placing his left hand on the mother's left shoulder.  They do this as the parents are also very involved with Scouts - thanks for that!  I never received the memo.  No one warned me!  The kids then had to raise their left hand on the Scouts flags and make the Scouts Promise.  For this, us, the parents were relieved of our duties and were allowed to go and sit down again.  Now we get to the freaky part.  All the lights were put off and it was pitch black.  At this point in time I'm having secret society thoughts - Free Masons, Knights Templars, Ku Klux Klan, Illuminati (I must stop watching all that crap on DSTV!).  I mean they even have their own handshake.  Added to that, you have grown men wearing short shorts with long socks - Khaki coloured clothes!!!  Need I say more? 

They had this huge big candle holder and in the dark one at a time all the Patrol leaders walked forward, lit a candle and recited one of the Scout Laws.  Don't know them all as there is quite a lot, but it's things like "A Scout is courteous",  "A Scout is a friend to all and a brother to every other Scout", "A Scout obeys orders", "A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties", "A Scout's honour is to be trusted", "A Scout's duty is to be useful and to help others", "A Scout is loyal" etc. etc. etc.  Eventually the room was reasonably well lit.  All the boys were then handed their Patrol emblems to put onto their uniforms, and to think that after all that hard work at Cubs, Luke starts off with a blank shirt, yet again to be filled with badges!  They were also given their rope lanyards to which they may add a small pocket knife to fit into the pockets of their shorts.  The lights were put on and everyone clapped hands.  So that’s done then I thought – Luke is now a Scout.  Well, apparently not.

Two tall Patrol leaders stood at the back of the hall with a long stick resting on their shoulders and the Scout Leader told the boys that they have now been Invested at Scouts, but that the Scout Pack waits for them on the other side of that stick.  Huh???  They have to get over that stick to be accepted and fully welcomed into Scouts.  I didn't quite know what this was all about and assumed that as soon as the kids got close, then the two boys would stoop down and let the kids easily hop over the stick.  But this was not to be.  A serious din descended, and everyone shouted and cheered for the kids to go.  Ear splitting, I tell you and I must say, I was quite taken aback about what all the screaming and shouting was about.  The newly invested Scouts were all so apprehensive as they didn't know exactly what was expected of them and how they were to do this.  Each new child's friends from school and the rest of their Patrol all encouraged them to go for it.  There was a little girl that went first and those blerrie boys kept that stick right up there.  How mean!  I couldn’t believe it!  I can't tell you how that poor child battled.  She eventually, after many attempts, scaled the stick and the kids all went wild cheering for her.  Next up Luke decided to take the plunge.  He ran and jumped up against the stick, but could not manage to pull up his body weight over the stick.  He fell off, went back further and ran up to the stick again.  At this point, everyone is shouting out instructions and tips on how to do it.  He had placed himself closer to the boy on his right and managed to climb up against his body, scale the stick and make it to the other side.  The crowd really erupted.  I must admit that I was extremely proud of him and moved by the symbolism.  Luke is now a Scout.  For real.

The hero of the night thought, was my friend Lyndi's son, Kyle.   At this point there were only two kids left.  A skinny, short little boy called Tristan and Kyle, who is a big sturdy boy.  Kyle then leaned over to Tristan and whispered into his ear.  They both walked forward very sedately (none of this unbecoming running-up that the others had done) and then Kyle kneeled down on all fours so that Tristan could stand on his back, reach the stick and easily scale it.  That was me gone!  Snot en trane.  The kids all went ballistic.  All the other Mom's cried and even Grant had a moment.  The whole hall was simply in awe of Kyle’s generosity.  He was willing to sacrifice his own ability to get over the stick to help another boy.  The true embodiment of Scouts right there.  Sadly there was just no way Kyle would be able to scale that stick now.  The odds were not in his favour.   The two big boys showed immense compassion then.  They stood closer to each other and using them as a ladder, Kyle put a leg on both of them, they gave him a hand and he heaved over the stick.  It really was amazing.  Cheers erupted!

For all my doubts and reservations and the whole weirdness of it, I was actually very moved by the whole symbolism of the ceremony.  It was very clever to get the parents involved as it is definitely a family commitment.  There are 10 Scouting Laws and they are all things that I would like to live up to (except maybe the Scout brother thing).  All common sense basic decent humanity principles.  The stick thing was also clever as it was symbolic of scaling life’s difficulties – using any means at your disposal and not being allowed to give up and throw in the towel.   It was fantastic and heart-warming to see how the kids all cheered each other on and rejoiced when the new kids got over the stick.

Viva Scouts, Viva!

1 comment:

  1. It is a wonderful institution - I think a wonderful story illustrating sharing and team work. Proud of our Luke!