Today in fact, 22 February

I enjoyed my years as a boy scout and I found it formative and educational. It was through scouting that I learned to “make a plan” and be resourceful. Scouting also taught me how to camp properly and live simply. I joined scouts I guess because I wanted to go camping and experience the countryside. I was a city boy and needed to get away from difficult family circumstances. I also needed to belong to a peer group outside school. I share with my scout friends some very good memories of scouting and the formation of our characters. So today I want to celebrate the birthday of the founder of one of the great social movements of the 20th Century. Lord Robert Baden-Powell, BP to his friends was a military man who founded the Boy Scouts movement in 1907. He also shared a birthday with his wife and Scouting supporter, Olave who was more than thirty years younger than he. Today there are over 30 million scouts worldwide. There are also over 10 million Girl Guides. The scouting movement is active in some 216 countries and Territories and I believe it still offers some of the best approaches to the education of young people. Some famous and infamous people were once Scouts, including Barak Obama, George W Bush, Vaclav Havel, Tony Benn, Tony Blair, Richard Branson, Neil Kinnock, Jamie Oliver, Benjamin Netanyahu, Bill Gates and Muammar Gaddafi. Scouts all promise to do their best, to do their duty to God and country and to obey the Scout Law at all times. The Scout Law may be abbreviated: “trusty, loyal, helpful, brotherly, courteous, kind, obedient, smiling and thrifty, pure as the rustling wind” This Sunday around the world, boy and girl scouts will attend “BP Sunday” and sing that immortal ditty: “I got that BP spirit deep in my heart”. Happy Birthday BP!

Douglas Racionzer (see a full archive of Doug’as fabulous updates at