Honouring the volunteer work of Frank Oscar McDonald
(1897 to 1970)
McDonald was a youth member of the Penticton Corps of Baden-Powell’s Boy Scouts, one of the earliest Scout Troops in the province, when it started in 1910. At that time, each Patrol (or sub-group in the Troop) had a bugler. McDonald was one of these. He achieved much as a Boy Scout, including the King’s Scout Award, which was presented to him on October, 1912, by the Governor General of Canada, the Duke of Connaught, who also served as the Chief Scout for Canada.
McDonald’s wartime years were spent overseas, including a period with the Royal Flying Corps, which involved a brief posting to France. When he returned he spent time in New Westminster, Penticton and Oliver. His volunteer work with the Scouting movement began around this time with the Penticton Troop, mostly at the executive level on the Group Committee. His record indicates that he was perfectly comfortable in a leadership role and as someone in the background who assisted with whatever needed to be done.
In 1939 McDonald served briefly as Assistant Scoutmaster in Penticton. In 1955, even though he lived in Oliver at the time, and in keeping with his track record of helping whenever needed, he briefly became Chair of the 1st Penticton Scouting Group Committee, serving until local businessman Len Hill took on this responsibility
He lived and worked for many years in Oliver, where he served as President of the Okanagan-Boundary Scouting District. In this executive role he actively supported the Scouting Groups in Osoyoos, Oliver and Okanagan Falls while serving as their liaison with the B.C./Yukon Council. When there was a need for a second Group in Oliver, he helped assemble an impressive list of community leaders, with significant input from experienced Scouters in Penticton, to bring the 2nd Oliver Scouting Group to life.
In the 1950s McDonald felt there might be a better way for the Provincial Council to service the needs of Scouting volunteers outside the Vancouver area. He actively advocated for a regional structure (his convincing proposal is preserved in the Penticton Museum Archives). The “Interior Region” was created in 1960, servicing six Scouting Districts in the area, with McDonald as its first President. He continued to serve in other roles at the regional level until his passing in 1970.
In 1967 McDonald was honoured with accolades and a lifetime membership in Scouting for his fifty years of service and his active role in reorganizing the structure of Scouting in the province.
Thank you, Frank!
Writen and submitted by Gerry Lamb
Picture from the Penticton Museum