Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
July 2024
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Moonlight investiture

One of my “moving” tasks was to find a new Scout troop as soon as possible after settling in. It took a few phone calls, plus three weeks for mutually checking each other out, but it would appear I can now tick off this task.

Ironically, I am back in the Scout hall I left some 13.5 years ago, with Clarence Sea Scouts. This group was formed not long after I moved to Melbourne, as a result of the merger between 1st Geilston Bay, which had a green-and-white scarf, and my old group 1st Montagu Bay, which had a red scarf. The group took over the old 1st Montagu Bay hall, and at some later stage 1st Bellerive, with its red-and-white scarf, was also absorbed. This history is commemorated in the Clarence Sea Scout scarf which is green and white, but with a red anchor at the apex on the back.

Being a Sea Scout group this means doing water kind of activities (although I am reminded of the joke about the somewhat dopey Sea Scout whose tent sank), and with the March long weekend being the annual state-wide Scout and Guide regatta, this seemed like a good opportunity to go away with the kids and get to know everyone a bit better.

It was a good weekend (and there’ll be more details in the March 12 of 12), but the best bit was on the Saturday night.

There were two new Scouts who needed to be invested and so as dusk turned to dark we crossed the bridge over the outlet of the Snug River and went up onto the low cliffs of the headland overlooking North West Bay. As the nearly full moon began to rise over Bruny Island we invested the two new boys, and gave them their scarves and the badges that come with joining that tell where you belong.

With not a little sadness I then took off my well-loved 17th Essendon scarf* and was presented with the Clarence scarf and name tape, after which I reaffirmed my Scout promise: to do my best to do my duty to my God and to Australia, to help other people, and to live by the Scout law. It’s nearly 30 years since I first made this promise (and the words have changed a little since then), but it’s still important to me, and it was very atmospheric and moving to be reciting it again at a camp, as I stood on a clifftop above the sea by moonlight**, with a bunch of other Scouts and leaders, new and old.

* In addition to meaning a great deal to me, my 17th Essendon scarf is probably the most expensive scarf in the history of Scouting. A few years ago my original 17th Essendon scarf had become a little too well-loved and was in need of replacement, but the group stockpile was depleted and no one was making new ones at the time. In the end I bought a sewing machine — thinking that it would be of use for other things — and made my own new scarf. I’m not sure that the sewing machine has been used since.

** I wish I’d had my good camera and tripod with me because the moon photo does not begin to do the evening justice: it was light enough to see the silhouette of Bruny Island on the horizon, and there were clouds lit up across the face of the moon. It was just one of those amazingly beautiful nights.

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