Scouting for Catholics and Others. By E. E. Reynolds. (BOW., 7s. 6d,).
Reviewed by T. P. DUNPHY, SJ.
ARE you still unconvinced that Scouting is a good thing for Catholic boys? Then buy this book immediately. Is your parish priest opposed to Scouting ? '1 his is the book for him, and first make him read the Appendix, where he will find two wonderful sermons of the Holy Father's to Scouts. If you are a priest and can't persuade that young man to start a parish troop, Mr. Reynolds' latest book will do the trick for you. Above all, if you are just a little interested in Scouting, but are afraid to do anything ,about it because you know nothing of the technicalities of Scouting, then you will find encouragement and a great deal of sound, practical help here.
Mr. Reynolds has in fact covered both sides of the question in his 120page book. He has given many reasons, backed by the words of eminent Catholics and educationists, as to whe Catholics should use Scouting as a most valuable weapon in the training of oue young people and in keeping them together in a Catholic atmosphere. But the book does not stop :here; it gives an ininterpretation of Scouting which will be useful to the novice and refreshing to the more experienced. The chapter entitled " The Four Ages" is very skilfully done. The author reviews the ages when boys become Cubs, Scouts, Seniors and Rovers, and shows a thorough understanding of the problems of each age. This chapter alone merits the book a high place among literature on Youth, and we feel sure that every Scoutmaster should mediate long on these experienced opinions. The following four chapters deal with the practical aspect of running the different sections.
One criticism we must make: We regret not seeing greater emphasis on the need and value of Retreats for Scouts. The point is only touched on in a summary of some points drawn up by the Catholic Scout Guild, of London, where it is stated that " Retreats should be limited to Seniors and Patrol Leaders, otherwise there is too wide an age range and the younger boys find it difficult to achieve the neces sary self-control." We agree that there should be separate retreats for younger scouts. . . but that they can't achieve the necessary self-control . . this we cannot agree with. Boys of Scout age—J1 and upwards . are capable of the highest degree of self-control and can make as good a Retreat as a religious community if the Retreat is directed properly and if the programme is drawn up with a little imagination. It is about time we stopped thinking that boys can only make Retreats if we give them games after every talk. It is no compliment to our Scouts if we have that opinion of even the youngest among them. Let those who do not believe this, try it out.
We hope that in a .later edition of this excellent book Mr. Reynolds will put in a chapter entitled " Retreats for Scouts.