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On Bear and Bear Cubs
May 18, 2009
10:29 AM

On Bear and Bear Cubs

I see that Bear Grylls, the survival expert, has been appointed Chief Scout.
This is an obvious attempt to improve the image of scouts and to make it more relevant to today's youth, as such I applaud it.
Not, I hasten to tell you, that I was ever a scout , but , to my shame I must confess that I probably came as close as any boy to becoming a Girl Guide.

When my older brothers had gone to boarding school my mother decided that she would go back into the Girl Guides which she had enjoyed very much in her youth.
She quickly rose through the ranks and actually ended up being Chief Guide for Ireland and actually moving in very exalted Guiding circles- but more of that later.
As a humble captain my mother was responsible for her troop in Cork and had to make sure they passed all their tests, to become full blown guides.
I was of course commandeered by her to help and so spent much of my early years laying trails through our garden for the tenderfoot guides to follow, picking sticks for them to light their camp fires and even helping to mark the exams for Stargazer, or Homemaker's badge.

But then my mother rose up through the ranks and as Chief Commissioner
(she would have been delighted that I received the same title in Eurotoques many years later) she spent a fair amount of time going to international conferences and generally being a bit of a jet setter.

She made great friends with Lady Olive Baden-Powell, the founder of the guides
who had actually come to Cork to visit her sometime in the fifties when I was about six.
She had come to lunch, which was a moment of extreme excitement in the Dwyer household and I was brought in to be introduced after the meal.

That was the moment when I sort of let the side down.
Lady BP turned to me graciously and said " Are you a Cub? (Cubs were junior scouts as Brownies were junior guides)
"No! " I said indignantly to her "I'm a little boy


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  Martin Dwyer
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