Party time for Mylapore scout group

The group has a healthy mix of programmes involving work, study, play, adventure and service. Photos: Special Arrangement

The group has a healthy mix of programmes involving work, study, play, adventure and service. Photos: Special Arrangement  


At a time when many scout groups have shut down, this one is gearing up to celebrate its diamond jubilee. LIFFY THOMAS reports

The distance between Chennai and Singapore has never deterred R. Ravishankar from attending the meeting of the Prathap Scout Group, held once in three or four months in the city.

He joined this group as a six-year-old and went on to take up positions of leadership, as group leader and scout master and now, he mentors seniors.

“The scout group is my family and I would never leave it,” says the 52-year-old Singapore-based businessman, who is looking forward to his trip, scheduled next month, which will usher in the group’s platinum jubilee.

At a time when scout groups are shutting down , the impact Prathap Scout Group, one of the oldest open scout groups in the city, has on the lives of youngsters is commendable.

Started by H. Ramanathan, First Group Leader (Scouts) and a few others in 1939, the group is noted for its well-scheduled yearly programmes of work, study, play, adventure and service.

Children are taught first-aid, exercises, yoga and leadership skills as part of the package.

“Running an open unit for 75 years is not easy. In the 60s, there were several groups, which had a healthy competition going on between them. Prathapians were always on the top,” says T.V. Krishnamoorthy, president of the Group and chairman of the platinum jubilee celebration committee.

Every Sunday, the group scout master led by K.S. Thirunavukkarasu meets at Sai Vidhya Matriculation School, Mylapore, to reinforce the values of scouting among students and adults. Nearly 60 people attend these meetings, which offer a mix of theory and practical work.

Some of the members are into training school representatives. M. Karpagam, an adult leader and a former school teacher, has been involved in training leaders at the district level, who in turn will coach school students.

“What is important in our journey is the number of people we have trained and the laurels we have won for the group. Every year, six students bag the Golden Arrow Award, the highest award for the clubs,” says M. Venkatagiri, a freelance photographer.

In the area of service, Prathap Scouts regularly volunteers to regulate traffic during the Bramhotsava and other important festivals at the Kapaleeshwarar Temple.

On the biggest challenges facing them, the scouts cite lack of space for scouting activities and the difficulty in finding volunteers. “Sai Vidhya School has been very generous in allowing us to conduct our programmes, but the space will not be sufficient if we choose to increase our activities,” says Thirunavukkarasu.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 6:24:33 AM |

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