As a little boy I belonged to the 2nd Oxford Cub – Scout Troop. It met each Friday in the parish hall connected to the parish Church of St Mary and St John on the Cowley Road in Oxford. We used to go on Camp to Shotover just on the outskirts of the City and I remember very clearly how proud I was to have my badge and cap presented to me when I became a fully fledged member of the troop. I also recall green garter flashes for our socks and that the green pullover was produced from what one can only describe as “rough hessian” that caused many a boy to break out in a rash!! My Father was Akela and was permitted to wear a rather impressive knife with which he taught boys the art of whittling. I still have my badge upstairs in the Vicarage attic. Ah! Happy days.
This year is a very important one for the Cubs as they celebrate the centenary of their founding by Lord Baden – Powell. I rather think that their original title of “Wolf Cubs” rather wonderful but things change don’t they? Our boys wore a very different uniform to me when they were Cub Scouts here at St Anne’s and their uniforms are still meticulously kept upstairs along with their woggles and other bits and pieces acquired in their time.
Whilst the kit that the cubs turn out in may have changed the undergirding principles and objectives have not. There are many people throughout our country whose first experience of the Christian Faith was via the Scouting movement. We are very blessed in this Church to have fantastic adults who care for our Cub Scouts and seek to engender in them core principles that really do make a difference to the world in which we live in the short and the long term.
The idea of universal brotherhood in consistent with so much of what the Church aims at – inclusion, mutual support, belonging, service, kindness. These are good and wholesome objectives and the celebration on the 11th June is something that all of us, whether Cub Scout or not ought to try and support if we can.
The Cubs, as with all of our other uniformed organisations at St Anne’s, undertake such an important job and are a vital part of our life. I feel very proud that they belong to this Church community; long may flourish and continue to be so.
I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God and to the Queen
To help other people
And to keep the Cub Scout Law.
Cub Scouts always do their best
Think of others before themselves
And do a good turn every day.
Every Blessing, The Vicar.