The Boy Scouts that fear no challenge

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“The Scout, in his promise, undertakes to do his duty to his king and country only in the second place; his first duty is to God. It is with this idea before us and recognizing that God is the one Father of us all, that we Scouts count ourselves a brotherhood despite the difference among us of country, creed, or class. We realize that in addition to the interests of our particular country, there is a higher mission before us, namely the promotion of the Kingdom of God; That is, the rule of Peace and Goodwill on earth. In the Scouts each form of religion is respected and its active practice encouraged and through the spread of our brotherhood in all countries, we have the opportunity in developing the spirit of mutual good will and understanding.

This is a statement made by Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scout Movement.

Born in the United Kingdom in 1857, Lord Baden Powel joined the Army as a youth and fought in many internationally famous battles before starting the Scout Movement based on his experience gained from fighting in the wars.

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As a young boy Powel enjoyed outdoor activities like hiking, boating and trekking. It is obvious that in later days Powel used this skill and experience to take the Scouting movement to children. A key feature of the scouting movement is to expose children to outdoor activities that provide them opportunities and challenges that help shape character.

Joining hands with the world scouting movement, the local chapter was set under the leadership of F. T. Stephens in 1912 at Christ the King College, Matale. Ever since, the movement has actively spread across the Island allowing large numbers of children to join it and earn themselves awards and accolades engaging in various activities at different levels. The Boy Scouts Movement in Sri Lanka functions as a well structured organization. In 1957 the movement received legal status under an act of parliament. The Sri Lanka Scouts Movement has three aspects to its formation, namely:

1. The Council

2. The Executive Council

3. General Matters

The most fascinating aspect of the scouting movement that had the attention of the children was ‘Camping’. Away from home and familiar surrounding the children are exposed to new challengers in new settings with children of same age. The experience gained in these formative years helps mould character and skill to face life with confidence in later years. Camping provides opportunities for scouts to develop self-confidence, courage, tactfulness, healthy living, thoughtfulness and self-confidence.

Students of Balangoda Damahana public school have been part of this movement for many years. The movement was introduced to our school by none other than the current District scout commissioner Mr. M. G. Abhayasiri when he was a teacher at this school. The movement was established in Damahana public school in 1978 with 32 children.

Ever since, the movement has progressed developing and expanding year after year. It has now become a key feature of the extra curricular activities of the school. Besides the Boy Scouts Movement, the Girl Guide Movement has also maid progress developing over the year.

Another key aspect of the Scouts Movement is the ‘service and co-operation week. Here, during each year a week is selected for the scouts to visit homes and institutions in the region. They would then carry out any tasks entrusted, for which they are compensated, the proceeds going to a fund. No doubt, the experience gained during this week of exposure helps the scouts in their own development.

The JOB Week is observed internationally and nationally at the same time.

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