Edhird's Blog

Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit

Lord Baden-Powell: Trail Blazer

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By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdLord Baden Powell Picture

One of the most distinguishing marks of our Deep Cove/Seymour area is the Baden-Powell trail, named in honour of one of the greatest ‘trailblazers’ of the past century.  Baden-Powell blazed many new trails in the areas of physical education, character-building, spiritual growth for youth, and peace-making.


Baden-Powell (B.P. as he is affectionately known) hardly knew his clergyman/headmaster father, as he died when B.P. was only 3 years old.  Being raised without a dad gave him a keen appreciation of the need for boys to have healthy male role models. B.P. took little interest as a boy in school, preferring to act in school plays and explore the woods around his school.  At age 19, he joined the Army where he served in India, South Africa, and the Mediterranean.  From his Military scouting and reconnaissance experience, B.P. wrote a book entitled Aids to Scouting.  It was published in 1899, just as he was becoming a well-known hero through bravely defending the South African town of Mafeking for 217 days.


UponScouting Emblem his return to England in 1903, B.P. was dismayed by the apathy among English young people: “thousands of boys and young men, pale, miserable specimens, smoking endless cigarettes, numbers of them betting.”  As a result, he wrote a second book in 1908 entitled Scouting for Boys (the third best-seller in the world after the Bible and Shakespeare).  Within a year, over 100,000 boys had already enrolled as Scouts.  Within two years, his sister Agnes, and then his wife Lady Baden-Powell, began the parallel Girl Guiding movements.  Today there are 17 million Scouts world-wide, with around 250,000 in Canada.  In our own Seymour/Deep Cove area, there are 253 boys in Scouting (Beavers, Cubs, and Scouts) and 500 girls in Guiding (Brownies, Guides, and Pathfinders).

Many misconstrue Baden-Powell and Scouting as merely a recreational diversion for children.  In fact, as Mr. John Pettifer the Provincial Executive Director puts it, “Scouting is really an educational program making use of recreational means.” B.P. was a progressive Educator, way ahead of his time, who saw recreation as a key method towards character-building. B.P. described Scouting as “…education in high ideals, in self-reliance, in sense of duty, in fortitude, in self-respect and regard for others –in one word, in those Christian attributes that go to make ‘Character’.”  Unlike many today, Baden-Powell was totally unembarrassed about the role of faith in character-building.


At the heart of the Scouting and Guiding promises was their ‘duty to God’.  When dealing with conflicts in the Scouting movement, B.P. recommended that people “…ask themselves the simple question, ‘What would Christ have done under the circumstances?’ and be guided accordingly.”  Part of B.P.’s problem with Mussolini’s Ballila Youth and the Hitler Youth was that “the essential elements of ‘Duty to God’ and brotherhood with other nations were missing.”  Baden-Powell saw a danger in Scouting that the recreational might overwhelm the spiritual side.  So he wrote them, saying: “Don’t let the technical outweigh the moral.  Field efficiency, backwoodsmanship, camping, hiking, good turns, Jamboree comradeships are all means, not the end.  The end is CHARACTER –character with a purpose…the active service of Love and Duty to God and neighbour.”Lord and Lady BP picture

My prayer for both young and old reading this article is that the character-building and spirituality of Baden-Powell will be rediscovered in our daily lives.


The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church, North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


Author: edhird

I am the Rector of St. Simon's Church North Vancouver, B.C., having served there since 1987. Ordained in 1980, I have also served at St. Philip's Vancouver and St. Matthew's Abbotsford. My wife Janice and I have three sons James, Mark, and Andrew. I was the Past President and Chaplain for Alpha Canada. While serving as the National Chair for Anglican Renewal Ministries of Canada, I was one of three co-signers of the Montreal Declaration of Anglican Essentials http://www3.telus.net/st_simons/arm05.htm For the past 31 years, I have been privileged to write over 400 articles as a columnist on spiritual issues for local North Vancouver newspapers. In the last number of years, I have had the opportunity to lead conferences and retreats in Honduras, Rwanda, Washington State, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, and Toronto. My sequel Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit, with a foreword by Dr JI Packer, is online with Amazon.com in both paperback http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/097820221X/ref=redir_mdp_mobile and ebook form http://tiny.cc/tanhmx . In Canada, Amazon.ca has it available in paperback http://tiny.cc/dknhmx and ebook http://tiny.cc/wmhmmx . It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook). Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form. Nook gives a sample of the book to read online: http://tiny.cc/vj3bmx . Indigo also offers the Kobo ebook version: http://tiny.cc/kreonx . You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook: http://tiny.cc/1ukiox The book 'Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit' focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus' healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how North Americans can embrace a holistically healthy life. In order to obtain a copy of the prequel book 'Battle for the Soul of Canada', please send a $18.50 cheque to 'Ed Hird', 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. For more info, please click on www3.telus.net/st_simons/nsnews030.html

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