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Scouting for Boys: An Excerpt


By Kirsty OUP-UK

0192802461-baden-powell.jpgThe Scouting movement is celebrating its centenary this year. This week there are over 40,000 Scouts from 160 countries renewing their promises at a huge camp in Brownsea Island, Dorset, where Robert Baden-Powell held the first camp for boys in 1907. We at OUP are proud to publish the original 1908 edition of Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys, the original blueprint for the movement. To celebrate the Scouting Centernary, I’ve chosen an excerpt from the text that supplies useful suggestions for games to be played “in the club or in camp”. Our American friends may especially enjoy Baden-Powell’s description of “Basket Ball”!

NOBODY’S AIRSHIP. – Two patrols sit on two forms facing each other, knees about a foot from those of opposite side. A small air-balloon is thrown in, both sides pat it with their hands to keep it up in the air and try to send it far over the heads of their opponents. If it falls to the ground behind that party that party loses a point. The game is best of five points.

‘ARTISTS’. – Players sit round a table, each with paper and pencil. The right-hand one draws a picture, in separate firm strokes, of an ordinary figure or head – putting in his strokes in unusual sequence so that for a long time it is difficult to see what he is drawing. Each player looks over to see what the man on his right is drawing and copies it stroke by stroke. When the right-hand artist has finished his picture, compare all the rest with it.

‘TARGET BALL’. – Indoor cricket with a lawn tennis ball, small wooden bat, and a disc or small target for wicket.

‘CIRCLE BALL’. – A large circle of players throw lawn tennis ball at one in the centre. The object of the player in the centre is to remain ‘in’ as long as possible without being hit; if he catches the ball in his hands it does not count as a hit.
Whoever hits him with the ball takes his place.
The player who remains ‘in’ the longest wins.

COUNTING THE WORDS. – Let someone read out half a page from a book, pronouncing the words with moderate rapidity. As he read, let the members of the company try to count his words. The persons who comes nearest to the truth in his estimate is judged the victor. It is astonishing how widely these estimates vary.

ANIMATED PORTRAITS. – Over a door drape a curtain, in the centre of which is hung a frame through which can be thrust the heads of various persons chosen from those present. These heads are to be attired in such a fashion as to represent various well-known characters, such as Christopher Columbus, Queen Victoria, etc. The audience are to be informed that they are at liberty to make frank criticisms in these animated pictures for the purpose of causing a smile. In case the audience is successful in identifying within a certain time, the person who represents the picture must pay a fine.

TO FIT. – Cut a square opening in a pasteboard, which is placed prominently in front of the room. Distribute to the members corks of different sizes. Provide with sharp knives those that are not already provided. Explain that the task before them is to cut the corks so that they will fit the square opening, without measuring the opening, judging entirely by the eye. The one whose cork fits the best wins.

CITY CHAINS. – Place the players in two groups facing each other. Each group must choose a leader, with whom the members of his side communicate in whispers. In the centre is an umpire, who, with his watch, gives each side a quarter of a minute, or less, for their response.
The leader of one side begins by naming a city, such as New York. Within the prescribed time the leader of the opposite side must name a city beginning with the last letter of New York, as Kalamazoo; and so it proceeds, each leader using the wits of all in his group to assist his own.
When a leader fails to respond in time, the opposite leader chooses one player from his opponent’s side, and in his turn starts a new chain. The game can be played also with the names of famous persons, but this is harder.

THEIR WEIGHT. – This contest will make pleasant material to fill some interval in your socials. Let the committee previously gather six articles, as dissimilar as they may be in size, shape, and material, but each weighing a pound. You may take, for instance, a wooden pail, a tin pan, a piece of lead. Call out different members of the company, and request them to arrange these six articles in the order of their weight. Of course, almost every one will think the large article to be the heaviest.

BASKET BALL. – This is a game something like football, which can be played in a room or limited space. A small football is used, but it is never to be kicked. It is only to be thrown or patted with the hands. Kicking or stopping the ball with the foot or leg is not allowed. The ball may be held in the hands, but not hugged close to the body, nor may it be carried for more than two paces. All holding, dashing, charging, shouldering, tripping, etc., is forbidden; and there is a penalty of a free throw to the opposite side from the fifteen foot mark at the net, which forms the goal. The net is hung up about ten feet above the ground on a post, tree, or wall, so that the ball can be thrown into it. Opposite each goal a path of fifteen feet long and six feet wide, beginning immediately under the basket and leading towards the centre of the ground is marked out. At the end of this path a circle is drawn of ten feet diameter. When there is a free throw, the thrower stands inside this circle, and no player is allowed within it or within the measured path. Corners, byes, and shies are the same as in Association football; but in ordinary rooms, with side walls, it is not necessary to have ‘out’ at the sides. The usual number of players is four or five a side, and these can be divided into goalkeeper, back, and three forwards. If there is plenty of room the number of players may be increased. A referee is required, who throws up the ball at the start of each half of the game, and also after each goal. When he throws in, the ball must be allowed to touch the ground before it is played. With four players a side, 7½ minutes each way is sufficient time; with five a side, ten minutes is the usual time. A short interval at half time. The net or basket goal should be about 18 inches diameter and the top and 2 feet deep.

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