THE LONE. SCOUT MOVEMENT. (To THE EDITOR ON THE "SPECTATOR. "'
Sm.,—Would you allow me space in your valuable paper to. call attention to the feet that a vast number. of boys are unable to join .a Boy Scout Troop ? Sir Robert Baden-Powell wants to "rope in" every boy in the land as a boy scout, yet under the present ,organization there are numberless " stray " scouts or would-be scouts in scattered hamlets affil out-of-the-way villages who find themselves too far away from any troop to "join on." Owing to this difficulty of " joining on," the movement suffers a serious loss. Some of the finest natural scouts—boys who are born and %red to a hardy life in the "school of the wild"—are cut off and -virtually prohibited. from joining because they live in the depth of the country, miles from the nearest troop. I submit that -these "left out" boys are the very ones who are moat wanted, and who could prove the most valuable if taught discipline, honour, truthfulness, chivalry, and that universal. motto of every scout : " One good turn each day." The very fact that these boys are in tae heart of tho country gives them a great advantage. They are in a better position for scouting than the town scout. They are lone scouts, but they are "backwoodsmen " in the true _sense of the word. They are good at woodcraft, a subject only to be learnt in the woods. These are the boys we want for scouts—boys who can light fires, cook, their own food, pitch tents, build huts, and chop wood. We want them to learn signalling and first-aid, and all the hundred and one games and practices which go to the training of a " B.-P." Scout. Yet these boys who are " left out" of everything must number many thousands scattered all over the "United- Kingdom. The town scout has public libraries, public baths, recreation grounds, gymnasiums, drill halls, scout troops, night schools, public museums, clubs; Y.M.C.A.'s, skating rinks, "'cinema" shows and amusements of all kinds. What has the .country scout? Nothing except a knowledge of how to. rough it and do things for himself. But this is just what we want. To leave him in the lurch is to neglect the best material. The finest plums upon the wall are not those that grow in thick bunches crowding each other from the light and air„ but. the "lone" plums which ripen in the sunshine. Why should they not be gathered in ? This is the object of the " Lone Scout " movement. Boys unable to join on to the nearest troop will receive instruction and encouragement from the Lone Scout Centre by post, and from time to time will be invited to come into camp when the chance offers. In starting this movement my only objeot is to get these "outcast" country boys to form up and come into line for the good of the country to which we all belong. The movement is no opposition to the " B.-P." organization (I am a "B.-P." Scout Master), but merely a gathering up of the fragments that remain that nothing be lost. Let us make the country lad feel that so far from- being a " lout," he is really a " chunk" of the Empire, and none the less a real and true scout because he happens to be a " lone scout-"— [The idea seems to us excellent. By all means let ns reach the apple on the topmost bough that the first gatherers forgot some how, or if they forgot it not at any rate got it not—for, as our correspondent implies, it nay be equal to the best of the fruit. —ED. Spectator.]