Fitting Our Sons for To-morrow

Nearly two million Canadian lads are coming along to step into your job and into mine—next year may witness a National Boys’ Parliament.

J. HERBERT HODGINS June 1 1924

Fitting Our Sons for To-morrow

Nearly two million Canadian lads are coming along to step into your job and into mine—next year may witness a National Boys’ Parliament.

J. HERBERT HODGINS June 1 1924

Fitting Our Sons for To-morrow

Nearly two million Canadian lads are coming along to step into your job and into mine—next year may witness a National Boys’ Parliament.

J. HERBERT HODGINS

THERE is a happy laddie at our home who plays about all day with that delicious, care-free abandon of youth. He is fair-haired and blueeyed. He is pink and tan—tall, for his years, and straight and clean.

Last night, as I tucked into bed his play-tired body, I called him “my good little scout.”

“BOY Scout, daddy!” corrected this six-year-old bunch of sturdiness, ‘Tm going to be a BOY Scout, you know.”

Yes, son of mine, you are going to be a Boy Scout, some day. You are tall and straight and clean. Your daddy wants to keep you so.

This little lad at our home, this lad, who gladdens my heart with the call of daddy, is going to be a Boy Scout. He is only six years old but his mind has long been made up. I held him in my arms the first time he saw the marching scouts. He danced with glee as they flourished by. It was a June evening, on Wellington Crescent,

Winnipeg. The unit from All Saints’ church went cheerily by, a bugle blowing, the lads trim in their scout outfits. A young man of character and physical set-up was at their head.

The lads were alert, responsive to his commands. It was an inspiring picture to etch upon a baby’s mind.

I thought then of the potential influence, moral, physical, spiritual.

There were no Boy Scouts, in my day, more’s the pity. I belong to that generation whose school days were thrilled by the day-to-day heroism of that very man who is now the inspiration of Boy Scouts, the world over,

I never think of Baden-Powell but my mind reverts to those stirring days of Mafeking. He held, then, for the right, as he holds, now, for the right.

That right finds expression in the Boy Scouts which he founded.

There were no Boy Scouts in my youth. My loss!

But there are Boy Scouts to-day.

My son’s gain! Your son’s gain! The nation’s gain!

There are 3,521,000 boys and girls in Canada. This is the basis of our future Dominion. To-day is the time to quicken them to Canadian ideals and the responsibility of government.

Do you realize that we have in Canada 1,926,000 boys, under the age of nineteen?

Do you realize that these boys are to take over your job and mine—to-morrow?

Do you realize that these boys are going to “step into your shoes,” and run your business?

Do you realize that these boys are to become our mayors, and members of parliament, senators, premiers, empire-builders? They will be our inventors—and lawyers—and doctors—and bankers—and ministers. They will marry our 1,595,000 daughters.

And take our places in very brief time.

What is a boy worth to his country; that is if you can translate our boys into dollars and cents? The boy problem, unquestionably, is one of the Dominion’s fundamental, economic considerations. It is not much of a boy who will not make $1,200 a year, when he grows up.

This means that our 1,926,000 boys will earn at least $2,311,200,000 per annum.

And with an average working life of thirty years

this means $69,336,000,000 earning power to be developed in the Dominion.

What to do with our youth is a problem of ever-increasing perplexity. It is particularly a problem in our larger cities.

For many, the Boy Scout movement supplies an attractive and effective answer. Any movement which benefits the boy, the futurecitizen of the community, inevitably benefits that community.

The Boy Scout movement is the broadest of all youth movements. It embraces all boys in the Dominion of Canada. It draws no color line. . It enunciates no religious creed, beyond the religion of the clean Out-ofDoors. It works, not through a code of “don’t,” but by providing natural, interesting, and well-directed channels of activity for the boy’s own impulses, in following which his character is shaped towards its best possibilities in efficient manhood and citizenship.

There are other boy movements in Canada, built

upon noble lines. But invariably their activities are limited, by distant tenets. The Canadian Standard Efficiency Training of the National Boys’ Work Board constitutes a big and growing youth development. It is circumscribed by Protestantism; otherwise it is Dominion-wide in scope. It has an enrollment for 1924 exceeding twenty-eight thousand boys and their leaders.

There are three types of organizations working for the young people of Canada. The Boy Scouts and Y. M. C. A., independent of the churches and controlled from without, are successful in enlisting the services of laymen. The Y. M. C. A.’s of Canada are doing what they can to help Scouting but the Chief Commissioner, Dr. James Robertson believes a still greater co-operation between the two organizations is possible, particularly with reference to younger boys. “This would seem to be logical,” he argues, “inasmuch as both organizations are undenominational in character, and draw their financial support from persons of all religious faiths.”

There are the church organizations, mainly local in character and controlled by church officials. Invariably they experience difficulty securing active co-operation of laymen.

There are the Boys’ Work Boards, which are of a composite character. They offer scope to laymen yet give church officials a degree of supervision.

Starting the Boys Scout

THE Boy Scouts’ Association began in Canada in the latter part of 1910; actively in the Spring of 1911. Sir Robert Baden-Powell visited Canada in 1911 and a number of new Canadian scouts went to London for the coronation of Their Majesties, King George and Queen Mary that year. They were known as the “Coronation Contingent” and were under the supervision of the late Lieut.-Colonel F. Minden Cole, Scout Commissioner of Montreal. The first honorary Dominion secretary was Lieut.-Colonel R. J. Birdwhistle, Colonel Sir Percy Sherwood was Dominion commissioner and His Excellency, Earl Grey, Canada’s GovernorGeneral at the time, was the chief scout. The Canadian General Council of the Boy Scouts’ Association was incorporated in 1914.

From its meagre beginning the Scout movement has grown to a membership this year exceeding 51,000. Many thousands more of our boys have passed through Scouting since 1910. For the most part, it is safe to assume, these boys have gone on to become clean-cut, self-reliant, useful citizens, awake to the duties of their manhood as well as to its privileges.

They were boys of different races, these, and of widely divergent faiths. Protestant and Roman Catholic and Jew alike find common ground in Scouting. They hike and camp together.

Scouting has helped the melting pot to melt. In the Canadianization of our immigrant youths remarkable things have been accomplished. Dr. J. T. M. Anderson, Saskatchewan’s director of education, who, Until 1923, was provincial scout commissioner for Saskatchewan, effected an admirable blending of Scouting and provincial education. As a result, Saskatchewan’s assimilation of the foreigner has come to attract countrywide attention.

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Fitting Our Sons for To-morrow

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An actual happening illustrates the extent to which a Scout lived up to his pledge of honor. A lad in Saskatchewan appeared in court, called to give evidence against his own father in a land deal. The father claimed he did not understand the English language. The son, who was a Boy Scout, swore that his father had understood every word of the deal, because he, himself,.had explained it to him.

When the boy quit the witness box, some persons said to him: “Your father will thrash you for doing that; why did you do it?”

“What else could I do and keep my honor?” was his simple rejoinder.

Respect for Union Jack

SCOUTING has stimulated the foreigners’ respect for Canada, as a great new country, and instilled a deep regard for our flag, as an institution which stands for liberty. They come to sense that, as new Canadians, they are helping to start a new country, and that much of the ultimate success of the country depends upon them, individually.

“We find that we can do little with adults from Eastern Europe,” John A. Stiles, acting chief commissioner of the Boy Scouts of Canada, at Ottawa headquarters, told me. “We must work through the lads. “When we hold a field day the parents c'ome in great numbers. They will not take off their hats when ‘God Save the , King’ is played. They will not salute our flag. But they will walk for miles to seetheir boys perform and -they offer no objection to their children saluting the flag and marching up and down in Scout uniform.

“I knew of an old Ruthenian couple who trudged ten miles along a Saskatchewan trail, their lunch in. a.handkerchief, to visit a Scout camp and spend a couple of hours watching 'their boys Scouting. When they saw a Scout official they solemnly gave him the Scout salute!” The story is told of the struggles of an English girl school teacher, in a northern Saskatchewan community. Hers was the patriotic duty to assimilate the Germanborn, the Russian-born, the Ruthenians

and the Poles.

This young woman had been a Girl Guide in England. She finally decided to organize her school upon Scouting principles—the little girls into Brownies, the little boys into Wolf Clubs, the older girls into Guides and the older boys into Scouts.

; Every morning she assembled the

^children to raise the Union Jack; every .

evening to lower it. She was electrified

at the change that came over the school

morale. She taught the youngsters to sing: “We’ll never let the old flag fall,” and they came to sing it lustily. Their hearts were in the song. She instructed the color party that it would be a disgrace to allow’ the flag to touch the ground. _ And they thrilled with patriotic zeal to guard the colors.

All went well until one morning the flag actually touched the ground. The children were dumb-founded. An instant, but only an instant’s pause ensued. A

young Ruthenian sprang forward. Quickly gathering the beloved bit of bunting to his arms, his fervor found expression in the parlance of his new Canadianism. “Gosh!” he cried. -

'

Manifesting Their Zeal

THE zëal with which many boys enter upon their Scouting is nothing short of beautiful. “I have known boys in the prairie provinces who sold gopher tails that they might buy Scout badges; boys who gathered scraps of binder canvas that they might make a tent.” says the acting chief commissioner. “One boy wrote me that he saved enough money— cent by cent—overea period of several months, that he might buy a Scout shirt, It was the only Scout shirt in the whole

troop. The lad offered to wear the badges that had been earned by the other boys! But, of course, there was indignant refusal; the other lads thought that was going a little bit too far!” Lord Byng of Vimy, as chief scout for Canada, has shown a keen interest in the development of Scouting in the Dominion, Last year in his tour of Canada, visiting

all the provinces, he put in a good word, everywhere, for Scouting. During the early part of this year, Lord Byng took an active part in the training classes which were held at Government House, Ottawa, for scoutmasters, The Rotary, Kiwanis, and other service clubs throughout Canada have been of increasing assistance to the Scout movement. • Scouting continues to _ make admirable progress under the auspices of the churches.

“We are glad that the churches ôf all

denominations in Canada are coming to a clearer realization that the movement has been developed on such broad lines as to embrace all classes, all creeds, and at the same time allow independence to organizations making use of the programme,” 1 says Chief Commissioner

Robertson.

The Boys’ Parliament

'T'HE distinctive feature of the National A Boys’ Work Board programme is the boys’ parliament. “Through it our Canadian citizenship training is vizualized,” states Taylor Statten, national secretary. “It is the greatest project yet conceived in teaching Christian citizenship to boys. Because of the work in these

parliaments we can confidently say that the Tuxis Boys and the Trail Rangers’ programmes are actually growing out of Canadian soil.”

Tuxis Boys’ parliaments were started during the past year in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Quebec and the Maritime provinces are expected to initiate parliaments next December. Then

the entire Dominion will be covered. The

strongest Provincial Boys’ Work Board

has headquarters in Manitoba. There are

nineteen district boys’ .work boards and nineteen district older boys’ councils organized in Manitoba, “The question of a National Boys’ Parliament is constantly before us and we feel that such a gathering should be held in Ottawa, during the Christmas holidays of 1925,” says Mr. Statten, outlining the prospects for further progress, “This would help us to create a Canadian consciousness and impress the public with the national aspe.ct of our work.”