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Press write-up for Centennial Flames 2012:

2012 marks the centenary of the Sri Lankan branch of the biggest youth movement in this world at present, the World Scout Movement. Though Scouting itself was started in the year 1907, it was established in Sri Lanka five years later, in 1912.

When we talk of Scouting at S. Thomas’ College, the records available suggest that since 1912 there were Boy Scouts in the school but to avoid conflict with Cadetting they were known as Junior Cadets. The records show that the proper Cub Pack was started in 1922 by Mr. V.P. Cooke and that in the same year the first proper Scout Troop was started by Mr. S.L.H. De Zylva and restarted in 1929 by Dr. R.L. Hayman and Mr. W.T. Keble. Then it is clear that the Scout Group celebrates 90 years of official Scouting at S. Thomas’.

From there on Scouting continued in the school under the valuable guidance of Scout Leaders such as Dr. R.L. Hayman, Mr. W.I. Muttiah, Mr. N.B. Arputharaj, Mr. A.L. Victor, Mr. Daniel Edirisinghe, Mr. J. Dharmasena and Mrs. D.D. Sri Murugan who immensely have helped to bring Scouting in the College to what it is, today.

Being acclaimed as one of the most active and prominent Scout troops in the island, it could be clearly seen that Scouting at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia has developed into a dynamic group in the school over the years from which productive citizens have been the fruitful product.

The 1990s, was a brilliant era for Scouting at S.T.C. as many projects were undertaken which were of a large scale. The Troop at this stage started doing projects along with Guides, who are their counterparts. The first project of this nature was “Beats of Scouting” in 1995 which brought together fellow guide companies from the Colombo district. From there on various projects of similar nature were conducted. The peak of organizing such projects was when the Troop organized “Tribe Out” in 2002 which was a camp with the Guides. This went on to show the bonds and the trust that the two movements had built over the past years.

The troop has produced a fair number of President’s Scouts each year, thus proving that they are not only good in practical work but also in theory. At present the troop is supported by a very active Group Committee comprising of former scouts, parents and well-wishers who support the Troop financially. The instructors meanwhile render a lot of help to the present scouts in their daily activities as well.

The scouts of S. Thomas’ Mount Lavinia have continuously contributed to Scouting in Sri Lanka over the past years by organizing unique projects which were of great value. The last major project of such nature carried out by the troop was in 2004 when it organized ‘Tribal Craft’, a huge scout exhibition which was not only a thumping financial triumph but also an exhibition which put Thomian Scouts on the map as one of the most active and capable Troops in the island.

Many scouts from the Troop were able to represent Sri Lanka in a lot of international events as well over the past few years. The most recent venture of this calibre was the 22nd World Scout Jamboree held in Sweden where 4 scouts took part from our Troop.

With regard to taking part in the competitions organized by the district, the Troop has done exceptionally well over the past years. The scouts have been taking part in the Mayor’s Flag competition which is for the junior scouts and in the Brig. C.P. Jayawardena Challenge Trophy which evaluate the Scouting skills of the senior scouts in this regard, for many years.

In these two competitions held last year, the troop was able to be champions in both these competitions. This made the troop to retain the Mayor’s Flag for the 6th consecutive year and the C.P. Jayawardena shield for the 3rd consecutive year. When considering both the competitions as a whole the troop has been able to win both the competitions for 3 years in a row from 2009-2011. Meanwhile in the recently started competition for the cub scouts, the C.M.P. Wanigathunga competition, the troop has been able to win all 5 competitions held since 2007.

Furthermore the Troop has been successful in the sports arena by winning the Sports Galas and the Swimming Meets organized by the District over the past few years. When talking of the financial successes that the Troop has enjoyed, the Troop has emerged the highest collectors in the Service and Relationship Week (a.k.a. Job Week) in the Colombo district for the past many years. All these facts indicate that the Thomian scout community has made its mark on the whole movement in Sri Lanka.

To celebrate 100 years of Scouting in our country, the Thomian scouts have organized a campfire in the hope that this would be yet another experience with a difference, for all participants and spectators. This project titled ‘CENTENNIAL FLAMES 2012’ will be of a magnitude so as to revive the phenomenon of organizing large-scale projects. The project is  organized with the main objective of creating a better understanding between scouts and society & increasing our bonds with our fellow scouts and guides while showcasing the talents of everyone involved. The main theme behind the project is “Celebrating 100 years of selfless service…

We expect the general public also to attend this event which will not only promote Scouting but will also go on to make a contribution to the scout movement of Sri Lanka.

The scouts hope to make this event a success which would epitomize the strength of the Scouts at S. Thomas’, proving yet again what Thomian Scouts truly stand for – uniqueness, skill and perfection.