On My Honour……Scouting Skills are for Life
When a Scout accepts the motto “Be Prepared”, what does this mean?
When the founder of Scouting, Lord Baden-Powell, was a boy, he spent many long hours exploring the fields and forests near his home, learning about wild animals, birds and plants. He learned how to be comfortable in the bush, trapping his food, building a fire and generally providing for himself. This was grand adventure for a boy! He brought many of these lessons and experiences to Scouting.
A Scout learns to observe and assess things that are occurring around him, and to react in a manner relative to his skills. A Scout is not the person at the scene of an accident crying out “Oh, my God, oh my God!”. A Scout responds to the extent of his capabilities, his actions often requiring bravery and personal risk.
Scouting recognizes special achievement in all aspects of life. Acts of bravery and of noteworthy assistance to others are among them.. Several area youths and adults have been honoured over the decades, among them Donald Bisset, Derek Lindsay, Julie Gaal, Bonnie Billups, Alan Dawkins, David Thomson, and Robert Lucier.
Donald Bisset, a Penticton Scout, received Scouting’s Gilt Cross for Bravery in 1969, Scouting’s third highest bravery award, involving gallantry and moderate risk. At the time of his actions, he was a 10 year old Wolf Cub. He was recognized for diving twice into the deep end of a swimming pool to rescue a man lying motionless on the bottom. Scout Derek Lindsay received the Certificate for Meritorious Conduct for assisting in the rescue. The awards were presented in Ottawa by Governor General Roland Michener.
In 1981, adult Scouter Julie Gaal of Penticton received Scouting’s Medal for Meritorious Conduct for her prompt actions at an industrial site, which saved the life of a worker. She received her award in Ottawa from Governor General Ed Schreyer.
Penticton adult Scouter Bonnie Billups, in 1988, recognized that a young man was in distress while drifting the Okanagan River Channel. She dove in, fully clothed and, with the help of two other people, brought the victim to shore to await an ambulance. The young man recovered fully. Billups received Scouting’s Certificate for Meritorious Conduct.
In 1995 Penticton Scouter Alan Dawkins was awarded the Certificate for Gallantry, the fourth highest bravery award, for his role in apprehending a bank robber.
David Thomson, an Oliver Wolf Cub, was the recipient of the Gilt Cross for Bravery. Thomson saved the life of his best friend, a non swimmer, when he fell off a raft in Tucelnuit Lake. The medal was presented to him by Governor General Roland Michener.
There have been others, but records have not yet been rediscovered. We know the earliest recognition in the District was given to a Summerland Scout in 1912 for diving off the wharf and rescuing a drowning swimmer. And the highest level for heroism was awarded to Scout Robert Lucier of Osoyoos in 1976. He saved his brother from drowning, and was selected for the Silver Cross for Bravery, Scouting’s second highest award in this category, recognizing gallantry with considerable risk.
Photos here shared by the Thomson family of Oliver