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In the goolies; Move to be 'relevant' is blow for Scouts.

Byline: Charlie Catchpole

SCOUT leaders no longer need to know how to tie knots.

This is because badges for public relations, IT and circus skills are now more popular among Scouts.

Has the world gone mad? Circus skills? What in the name of Lord Baden-Powell has juggling, tightrope walking or fire-eating (I assume lion-taming is no longer an option) got to do with scouting? Not to mention learning the meaningless jargon of public relations.

Or being able to reformat a laptop while your troop sits around the campfire fiddling with their woggles, eating burnt sausages and singing "Ging gang goolie, goolie, goolie, goolie wotcha. Ging gang goo, ging gang goo."

Defending the abolition of teaching kids how to tie sheepshanks, bowlines, halfhitches and all those other useful knots, the Scout Association says the movement is "very different" from the days when its founder Robert Baden-Powell wrote a section in his book Scouting for Boys entitled "Saving Lives with Knots."

Scouts who want to learn pursuits where knowledge of knots is important can do so at sports centres, Scout chiefs claim.

Also, they reckon knot-tying is no longer a "relevant" skill.

Other new badges recently introduced include fundraising, photography and disability awareness. Yes, it must be tough persuading youngsters today that scouting is still "relevant."

Even when I was a lad it seemed about as irrelevant as you could get.

songs ever, all-star version Children In a travesty. music business said: "There's Mona Lisa there is a by-numbers version." sins committed the sacred "charidee".

My parents wouldn't let me join the local troop anyway because the scoutmaster was considered to be "a bit odd".

They were right. I later discovered he took Scouting for Boys rather too literally...

Instead I joined the school Army Cadet Force, which was much more fun.

For a start we didn't have to wear baggy shorts and knee-length socks or stupid neckerchiefs fastened with woggles. We got to play soldiers in proper, itchy uniforms with gaiters, webbing and black berets.

And we were armed, sort of. We marched about carrying heavy Lee-Enfield rifles that had seen service in the Second World War and quite possibly the First.

For mock battles we were issued with a few blank rounds. These could do a lot of damage to an ants' nest at close range.

Live ammo was for target shooting only, and every round was supposed to be scrupulously accounted for - although some were smuggled out for experiments which mainly involved hitting them with a hammer.

I learned how to strip and reassemble a Bren gun. I could do it now.

If the call ever comes, I'm ready.

Ging gang goolie, indeed.

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Nov 9, 2014
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