Les Brown Addresses Rotarians in Smiths Falls, Ontario
On October 14, 1955, WJ'55 attendee Leslie H. Brown, Queen's Scout, 3rd United Church Scout Troop, gave this address to the Smiths Falls Rotary Club.
It gives me a great privilege to have the honor of speaking to you on the "8th World Scout Jamboree". No one, except the individual who saw it, can quite realize the splendor and lingering memories of such an occasion.
Let me first say that I, as one of the Scouts of Smiths Falls that attended the jamboree shall never forget the experiences and friends that I met during my ten days at the jamboree. To attend the jamboree you had to have certain qualifications. Some of these are, you had to be a first class Scout or higher, have a good troop record and be in good mental and physical condition.
As soon as the Scouts received word that they were accepted as one of the many Scouts chosen, they hurriedly started working for the forty dollars which they had to raise as their registration fee. No second class or tender foot Scout could go because they didn't have the qualifications. You might ask why this would matter. Well, this is the whole reason. There would be Scouts from nearly every part of the world meeting together displaying the skills of Scouting and so this was why we as first class or higher Scouts represented from Smiths Falls where chosen to show the best that was possible.
Before the jamboree started you probably saw pictures of the camp nearly all laid flat which was caused by a powerful lady hurricane. These hurricanes sure get their names honestly. But thanks to the fine work of the volunteers and workmen they were soon all standing again.
A memorable three day camp site, in Victoria Park, was pitched in order to get all the Scouts acquainted and to practice using charcoal before the jamboree started. The chosen Scouts of Perth, Deep River, Pembroke, Carleton Place and Smiths Falls were divided into a troop of four patrols with eight Scouts in each. We all had a wonderful time learning how to light and keep the charcoal fires going to cook our meals. It's hard to realize the thrill you get when you have to prepare and cook your own meals among other Scouts until you really experience it yourself.
Yes, we did other things besides eating, such as swimming and making Scout gadgets. But this all soon ended, at least for awhile, when we had to pack up to leave for Niagara-on-the-Lake by bus. We all spent a joyous day on our way to the jamboree, singing and telling jokes and stories of all kinds. At last we were in the camp with our tents back up and all set for a thrilling ten days.
Some of you might have wondered why the Scouts used charcoal instead wood to cook their meals. First-it would be a very difficult task to supply enough wood for the whole camp. Secondly, charcoal gives a splendid red hot bed of coals which aids in cooking meals faster. Thirdly is that the charcoal doesn't blacken the utensils used in cooking. Boy, oh boy, this sure saved a lot of heavy scrubbing for quite a few Scouts.
I think one of the most amused at item in our menu was, "The Toad in the Hole".It sure supplied a lot of laughs for the Scouts that didn't understand what it was. What was this amusing item? Very simply it was just an egg dropped in a hole in a slice of bread and fryed.
To give you some idea of the amount of food required to feed the Scouts I will briefly give you a few small quantities that was used: seventeen tons of meat, one hundred and five tons of dairy products, four tons of fish and one hundred and ten tons of fruit and vegetables and other supplies were ordered so you well see that the Scouts were not lacking in food.
I think the French Scouts displayed the ninth Scout law splendidly when they gathered together all the pop bottles they could get and sometimes carried them over a mile in a potato sack to turn them in for a two cent refund per bottle. This sure helped a lot of Scouts in getting spending money during the jamboree. A great many organizations also assisted Scouts from other countries in obtaining Canadian dollars which was hard for foreign countries to get.
One of the most interesting happenings during camp was "Swapping". There was one Scout I knew swapped his whole uniform for an Indian headdress and no Scout uniform of his own to return home in, but with the generosity of other Scouts he managed to get a small proportion of uniform to wear back. Swapping is a swell way to get Scouts together from all countries, each probably speaking a different language, but they all understood "Swap".
I met a Scout from Italy who introduced me to his friends but I couldn't tell you any of the hard to pronounce names now. One thing that I learned was that their native drink was Coco Cola. That reminds me of a story which I heard from a friend. After the Americans landed home they all raided the Coco Cola stands but when the Scots landed home they raided the water stands. This shows quite a difference in the drink of these two countries.
The ten days of camp soon came to an end with a non-forgetful memory of the closing day. All the Scouts gathered before a platform of Scoutmasters and leaders from sixty-eight countries and Lady Baden-Powell. As the speech of Lady Powell ended all the Scouts stood up, threw up their hats and cheered. We all left the assembly of Scouts with arm linked and some I saw had tears joyously and some sadly falling from their eyes because camp was over. The Eighth World Scout Jamboree was over but it will not be forgotten by any Scout, at least not me!
If this world could just unite together as the brotherhood of Scouting does there would never be any war or angry words spoken to one another. This world needs the Scout movement to develop good leaders for tomorrow. Would you offer your assistance to the Scout organization? If your answer is yes, then you'll gladly buy an apple tomorrow, wouldn't you? Thanks a million for the support which you have given to the Scouts of Smiths Falls. And remember that Scouts of today of the men of tomorrow.