Its Modern Scouting
By Gordon Caw, Matabeleland Assistant Provincial Scout Commissioner (Scouts)
EXPAT '72 (meaning Expedition Preperation and Training) is an event that illistrates the type of scouting for which todays young men are looking.
It is a combination of expert instruction and testing adventure calling for leadership and initiative. It will provide many valuable experiences in decision making, co-operation and self reliablility in difficult circumstances.In fact, the whole of Expat '72 will emphasise the very basic ideal of the Scout Movement - to train boys to become better citizens through a program of training in an outdoor environment.
Although the Movements basic ideal has not changed since the beginning of Scouting in 1908, its method of presentation has changed considerably. Gone are the days of simple knot-tying, standardised first aid and lighting fires with two matches. Many fathers would not believe their sons belong to the Movement they remember of 20 to 25 years ago.
What then, have the Scouts at EXPAT '72 been doing for the last few days? Shortly after thier arrival in the Matopos Hills they received sealed orders which gave map references and compass bearings for a tough 50km hike through some of the most rugged country the Matopos has to offer.
They prepared their own meals and compiled reports on the country they traversed on such subjects as conservation problems, areas suitable for aircraft landings and historical finds not previously recorded. This hike had two main objectives:-
1. It was a toughening up exercise
2. It highlighted any deficiencies in the training the Scouts had previously received.
These shortcomings were observed by qualified "hike tutors" who accompanied the Scouts. On their return to base camp at Gordon Park (the MOvements 112 hectare training ground in the Matopos) the Scouts settled down to an exacting daily programme that ran practically non-stop from 06.00 hours to almost 22.00 hours for six days.
During this period there were a few moments of ligth relief. such as campfire or film evening, but at all times they had to "Be Prepared" for any emergency. For example, on one evening they had to cope with a difficult "Recsue"; on another night when there was no moon-light, they were sent out on a cross-country exercise with only the stars and a compass to guide them. Then there was that morning at 04.00 bours when they had to evacuate camp within minutes!
All activities called for cool, clear thinking coupled with initative, self-reliance and team work. Much of the instruction, which included bush first-aid, mountaineering, observation, camouflage, survival, navigation, etc, ws presented by experts from outside the Movement, who gave of their time freely to assist.
In this respect, special mention is made of the assistance given by members of the BSA Police, the Rhodesian Army, and the Rhodesian Airforce. Tribute must also go to those adult members of the Scout Movement who gave so generously of their time, not only at EXPAT '72 itself (there was rearely an occasion when fewer than 15 staff members were not busy instructing, planning, catering, typing, recording or one of many other necessary tasks that were normal during their 17-18hour day), but during the 15 months of planing that began in June 1971.
It will be appreciated that it is a costly business to mount an event such as EXPAT '72, but in this respect the Movement received considerable assistance from many firms in Bulawayo who provided us with food, transport and other necessities at a very reasonable prices.
The 12 days in the Matopos cost each Scout $13.50 - all inclusive. This very low cost is attributable to several cash sponsorships we received, and in this respect our special thanks go to the Anglo American Corporation, the Rhodesian Iron and Steel Company and Bulawayo City Council for their generous support. It is indeed heartening to find so many people who obviously appreciate the work of the Scout Movement which is not opposed to today's educational system, but is compementary to it.
What, then, is needed to expand the influence of the Scout Movement that can provide boys with so many necessities needed in life today? There are three basic requirements:-
1. More adult leaders of a high calibre who are prepared to devote themselves to young people.
2. A greater public awareness of the finance required to run a first class show.
3. A removal of the passive resistance to Scouting put up by many of our educationalists.
EXPAT '72 closes tomorrow night with a formal dinner in Bulawayo at which Dr Graham Child, Director, Department of National Parks and Wild Life Management, will be the guest speaker. At the dinner the names of 25 EXPAT '72 Scouts will be announced to participate in an expedition to a wild and remote area of Rhodesia in 1973. The Scout Movement hopes that this expedition will be a forerunner of many adventures for young Rhodesians.
Ack: Supplement to the Bulawayo Sunday News 10th Sept 1972