Michael Baden-Powell of Melbourne, Australia is the grandson of Lord Robert Stevenson Smith Baden-Powell, founder of the Scouting movement. He spoke with IST in a special training session about his life, the Scouting movement, and his grandfather. He said he was here to “re-energize commitment to the program.” During the 1-hour session, he spoke about about the program and the vision his grandfather had. He then showed a short clip “The 20th Century’s 13th Most Influential Person” featuring Lord Baden-Powell. He did have a short film he had hoped to show, however US technology and Australian technology did not match up well enough to sync the systems.

Michael was born 4 weeks before his grandfather passed away. He still learned about the many Scouting adventures his grandfather and grandmother took by studying the 79 volumes of scrapbooks his grandmother kept. Lying on the floor, he would ask questions about people, places, and things in the pictures. His grandmother, who spent a lot of time writing to Scouts answering letters, would put down her work and lay on the floor with him talking about what was going on in each of the photographs. He then recalled stories of his youth, camping in the back yard and trying to figure out how to keep the fire burning all night so they would not have to re-start it in the morning. They discovered that the tightly packed turf of the tennis courts accomplished this well. So they would dig up pieces of the tennis courts to keep the fire burning.

Once his presentation finished, he conducted a Q&A session with the ISTs present. Several of the answers to his questions included things like: “I would never change anything for all the tea in China” (in regards to his experiences in Scouting). His views on gender segregation: “should not exist” and that there are lots of benefits to being co-mingled, and we should “keep doing it” (co-mingling genders). When asked about the greatest risk, he did not see many as Scouting provides all the basic fundamentals. When asked about the greatest opportunities, he answered that there are so many amazing opportunities “it would blow your head apart to think about it.” Another person asked what Lord Baden Powell would think about Scouting today he replied saying BP would give it a big hug and say “Yeah that’s what I had in mind” but he noted BP “may not use yeah.”

There were several stand out moments as I sat there, listening to all he had to say, there were several quotes or ideas from BP himself or that Michael said. For starters: all are accepted into the program any race, class, or creed. Michael commented on having to take the Safe From Harm training, while he sees the need for it, however, he thought it was sad that we had to take it, “it is on us to keep our Scouts safe.” The short video clip had excerpts and clips of things BP had said: We can achieve world peace not through politicians but through the young people. Michael said “scouts know the meaning of trust and friendship, understanding the principles of the program. The left hand shake offers more opportunities and understanding that anything else in the world.”

There was a movie ready to go into production about the life of BP titled “On My Honor”. The Script was written, actors in place, however the producer, Cecil B Demille, passed away as production as about to begin. Lord Baden Powell went to visit Demille in the hospital just before he passed. The last part that sticks out to me, and something that I will take with me as we move forward was about Scouting Spirit. Be an example to the youth, cultivate self reliance, and help create responsible members of the community, and above all HAVE FUN!

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