(Celebrating 110 years of Scouting in the South Okanagan)
In the late 1940s and early 50s Scouting was beginning to show significant growth in the South Okanagan, and Oliver was no exception. The late Carleton MacNaughton had successfully passed leadership of 1st Oliver Troop to Cy Overton, a former successful product of the Scouting movement in Oliver. Across Canada new Groups were starting, and Scouts Canada decided the time was right to organize their own National Scout Jamboree, rather than sending youths to large gatherings elsewhere in the world. The stage was set.
We are indebted to one former Scout from this era, who is responsible for the single largest and most extensive donation of archival materials to arrive at any of our area museums. The John Boone collection represents a snapshot in time of everything than a Scout would have done in that era, everything that he would have seen, touched or done. Every scrap of paper that was used in the program is in the collection.
A complete uniform is part of the collection, along with many official Scout items of the era, such as a parka. The viewer might exhibit a wry smile upon looking at the badges sewn on the shirt. Some are stitched with precision, while others are somewhat haphazard. One can only guess which were attached by John and which were sewn by his Mother. There is a large section of photos, big and small, clearly identifying the date, the location and the people.
The variety of old documents is amazing. There are slips of paper (examiner forms) for every badge on the uniform. None of these have shown up yet in any of our other museums. In 1949, Boone was able to attend the first ever Canadian Scout jamboree, attended by 2500 Scouts from across Canada. It was held on the Connaught Ranges near Ottawa, and a large contingent of Scouts attended from the South Okanagan. The Boone collection identifies every attendee from the area along with an excellent range of memorabilia and documents. One item is unique, a Scout belt stamped with the logo of CJ49, a rarity among collectors of Scouting artifacts.
In 1951, with support from strong leadership, Boone achieved King’s Scout status, the highest award in Scouting. He was encouraged to take part in various Leadership programs being offered for the older youths in the rapidly expanding area. In 1954 Boone was Camp Leader at the International Camporee, a successful smaller scale International gathering that was run every year with Troops participating from Washington State and the southern interior of B.C. . The collection includes registration forms from every Troop participating in this Camporee, along with an extensive photo collection. Shortly after this, Boone left Scouting and Oliver to attend university and pursue a successful career in the medical profession.
The Scouting community is grateful to John Boone for carefully storing everything from his Scouting years, and for donating them to the Oliver & District Heritage Society more than sixty years later. A visitor can immerse himself in the era by taking the time to travel through the collection. The Boone collection will likely be a centrepiece of the Scouting display this summer at the Oliver Museum as we celebrate 110 years of Scouting in the District. Thank you, John!
Gerry Lamb copywrite
Colour photo by Gerry Lamb, with permission from John Boone
Black and white photo courtesy Oliver & District Heritage Society (Boone collection)
Dr. John Boone is the son of Harvey and Elsie Boone