Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It's Not All Knots for 21st Century Cubs

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It's Not All Knots for 21st Century Cubs

Article excerpt

Byline: By Joanna Peart

Today marks the 90th Anniversary of the Cub Scouts. Joanna Peart speaks to a regional Cub Scout group to see how things have changed since 1914.

With an international membership of around 28 million, and 500,000 in the UK alone, the Scout movement has grown to be the world's largest voluntary organisation for girls and boys.

And today marks the 90th anniversary of the Cub Scouts - the younger members of the movement.

The 100th Newcastle Cub Scouts in Heaton has been running for 70 years. Mike Cox, 40, has been Cub Leader for three years and says too many people have a dated view of the movement.

"I think a lot of people have an old-fashioned image in their minds of Cubs and Scouts in shorts, wearing caps and berets. But over the years a lot has changed. We still do a lot of traditional Scouting activities such as learning to tie knots and we sing lots of songs as well, but we also do things such as archery, canoeing, and building rafts. We've even been up to Scotland to meet survival expert Ray Mears.

"A lot of the boys are brought out of their shells. I think being in Cubs gives them a lot of confidence and self-motivation."

Mike's enthusiasm is definitely shared by his eight-year-old son, Stephen, who recently joined the group.

"I've helped to put up a tent and learned to tie knots and build a raft. I really like it and when I leave I want to join the Scouts."

The Scout Movement - which now includes Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, and Scout Leaders - was created Lord Robert Baden-Powell, following an experimental camp in Dorset of just 20 boys during the summer of 1907.

It was meant to be for boys between the ages of 11 and 18 only - but as early as 1909 Scoutmasters were facing the problem of younger boys wanting to join in the fun.

And so the Cubs were formed, following an experimental junior scheme in 1914. But since the world was at war, no official records were kept until 1916, when the juniors were given their official name - the Wolf Cubs.

"They were never really registered until after the war," says Chris Foster, of the Scout Association. "Before that there was no controlled registration or documentation at all, but the Cub Scouts as we know it started in 1914."

Based around the Jungle Books of Baden-Powell's close friend Rudyard Kipling, the Wolf Cubs were given their own distinct uniform, badges, motto, and salute.

Today the Cubs - as they are now known following a name change in 1966 - still sport the classic woggle as part of their uniform, but are more likely to be seen running around in sweatshirts and trousers than shorts and tailored shirts.

They also take part in a host of activities as well as outdoor games, such as acting, fundraising for charities and working with the elderly and those with special needs. …

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