Whitby Area Scouts > About Whitby Area > History of District Council

The Start of Whitby Area Council

By 1915, the Scout movement had already been in existence for eight years and several troops had been formed in Whitby. A meeting was called to form the forerunner of today's Whitby Area Council according to this article in the "Local Happenings" column on page 5 of Whitby's Gazette and Chronicle weekly newspaper (Thursday, July 22, 1915):



On Monday evening next a metting will be held in the music hall, Whitby, presided over by Mr. H. G. Hammond, assistant Commissioner for Ontario of the Boy Scout movement (The Boy's Big Chief), the object being to organize under one local association the several church troops already in existence in Whitby. The scouts, will, of course, turn out in force, but it is desired that all who are interested in promoting this splendid movement shall be present. Let there be a large attendance, so that a strong local association may be formed.


The following editorial on page 1 of the same issue tells how the Scouts were perceived in 1915 (gaps indicate unreadable portions of the newspaper):

The Boy Scout Movement

There have been many movements for work among boys. Of recent years a new one has sprung into existence, which has made itself felt as few movements ever have. In fact, the influence of this particular movement bids fair to increase beyond all expectations so rapidly is it growing. This is the Boy Scout movement, founded by Lieut.-General Baden Powell, of Mafeking fame. It was begun but about ten years ago, and yet Scouts are now numbered by thousands not only in the Motherland but in Canada and the Colonies, in the United States and in various European countries; and before long the thousands ought to be millions.

The idea that came to Sir R. Baden Powell was this: to take the ordinary English boy and educate him in the essentials of life and the duties of citizenship, so that, were he placed in the wilds of Arizona he would be able to fend for himself; and were he placed in a beleagured London, a shot-battered citadel, or a burning theatre, he would be a helpful unit, not a helpless. To teach him to use his eyes, his hands, his brains; to see things, and to remember what he sees; to hear things, and remember what he hears; to be kind to animals, including that often-forgotten animal, his fellow man; to speak the truth; to endeavor to do one good action a day; to regard cadging and loafing as detestable crimes; to love God, honor the King, and die if need be for the good of his country--and not to smoke.

Did the mind of man ever conceive a more splendid or a more seemingly impossible curiculum? All the pedagogues in the world using all the ordinary pedaggogic methods would surely fail in the attempt to teach one boy half these subjects; yet to-day we have two hundred thousand boys--and tomorrow we will have a million--learning them as a pastime, and not as a task.

In our city streets and slums, in our villages to-day we have bands of boy scouts, troops sub-divided into patrols, each troop under the lead of a scout master, each patrol under the lead of a patrol leader. Yesterday these scouts were just ordinary boys playing at marbles and what-not, without a thought for the morrow or an idea beyond games and food. To-day these boys are--without a taint of self-righteousness or losing a little of the jollity of youth--learning, and teaching their fellows to learn a religion that enjoins the practice of all things useful and the pursuit of all things good.

A religion that teaches him to tie a reef-knot instead of a ``granny,'' to know when he sees his country's flag debased by being flown wrong-way up, to help the poor and alleviate suffering, to make a fire in the open with two matches, _________toes, to speak the truth, to __________ aid to the injured, to n__________ of birds and [animals], to abstain from smoking, drinking, and every bad habit that injures the body and the mind, to know and to submit to discipline, to learn woodcraft when possible, how to read a map and find the north without a compass, to learn how to track a man across country and how to save a man from drowning, how to build a hut of bows when camping out, and how to lay out a camp, to be tidy and smart, to be civil without servility, to put money in the savings bank and how to keep his teeth clean--all these and more enter into the religion of a scout.

When a boy becomes a first-class scout, he is a handy man for one thing, a Christian for another, and a gentleman in the truest sense of the term, or as much so as it is his nature to be.

These are the aims and objects of the Boy Scout movement, one of the most extraordinary and significant of the age; everywhere, all over the British Isles and all through the colonies, boys are joining the ranks, not by tens or hundreds, but by thousands. The boy who grasps the inwardness of the thing without feeling enthusiasm and a wish to join, would be of no use as a boy scout; but the opposition, wherever it occurs, comes not so much from boys as their parents.

The aim of this article, however, is not so much to sing the praises of Scout movement, as to point out its extraordinary nature.

Extraordinary, because it has spread and is spreading with a rapidity that promises that it will touch and vivify the whole future manhood of the British Empire.

Extraordinary, because it was started, not by a churchman, but by a soldier who has spent most of his life in the wilds.

Send comments about this page to webmaster@whitbyscouts.org.