Progress Report on Scouting in

Middlesbrough

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The cast of this week's show represent only a fraction of the 2,000 or so Scouts, Cubs and Scouters encompassed by the Middlesbrough and District Boy Scouts' Association. And Scouting is certainly flourishing locally.

It has been given an added boost over the past two or three years by the establishment of a permanent training and camp site at Raven Gill tucked away in a fold of the North Yorkshire Moors at Commondale - and by the acquisition of the Diving Duck Cub pack holiday centre in a converted farmhouse in the same village.

For Scouting was always intended to be principally an outdoor movement; this purpose is as strong and necessary today as it was in the early days of Scouting. It is perhaps even more necessary today in view of changing social habits, particularly the incursion into our homes of the "one-eyed monster," with its temptation to sit back in comfort and be amused (?) and entertained (??) with no more effort than it takes to flick a switch.

Living out of doors for a spell, being able to improvise and to fend for one's self, have an important part in the development of self-confidence and reliance, With the development of Raven Gill it has been possible to do far more in this direction than hitherto and this progress is partly reflected in the increased number of Queen's Scout badges awarded locally.

The site continues to be increasingly used, not only by boys from Middlesbrough, but from neighbouring areas, too. Last year several hundred Scouts attended outdoor badge courses there. Improvements are still being made, construction of a chapel is well under way, another hut is going up and a resident warden is now installed.

The Diving Duck, too, continues to gather strong popularity. During 1995 it was used extensively from Whit to October. Altogether 224 Cubs and 75 Scouters from 16 different packs attended and a total of 1,299 pack holiday nights were spent at the streamside hostel. Already this year bookings are heavy y from this month till September. The latest development at the Diving Duck is the planting of trees round the perimeter of the site.

In Middlesbrough itself, Scouting follows its regular pattern. Now, however, the association has a new president, Sir Ellis Hunter. He succeeded Mr H. D. Levick, a staunch and generous supporter of the Movement for very many years, whose death a few months ago caused everyone connected with Scouting and Guiding locally great sorrow.

We also have a new honorary secretary in Mr. L.R.Kelland.

This week's " Gang Show " will give another fillip to the association's finances, and that means also its efforts to keep Scouting as attractive, purposeful and widely accessible as possible