Back in de 1950s Boy Scout was one ah de best thing dat happened to me at about age 12, and if ah had to do it all over, it would be Met-dis Scout under de leadership of Hubert Browne and Walter Cummings, both deceased. Man as ah Scout we jogged up St. Andrews Moutain,
hiked up to La Soufriere from both ends, Georgetown and Shatto. We went to Summer Camps at weekends and during school vacation. Camp life was rough; we slept under ah Canvas Tent, actually, we never slept, we talked all night, dey were no beds or cots, we wrapped in ah blanket and lay on de hard ground. We learned to tie knots, splice ropes, light a wood-fire wid ‘two grain ah matches, roast breadfruit, learned how to cook fish and stew beef; mek Johnny-bakes or fry dumpling, and bake bread in an oven made from biscuit tin. At one Camp we dug toilet-pit, dah was ah challenge to use! We wash, starch and iron our uniforms; learn to swim, row boat; trained in “First Aid and Ambulance” at de Hospital. No cell phones, No TV, One Radio Stay-shun, de Windward Island Broadcasting Stay-shun (WIBS) beaming from Grenada from 4 to 8 p.m. All ah dat and more was Scouting, ah tremendous Organ-I-say-Shun, preparing youths back den for today’s challenges.
Now we have come ah long way since 1955. We moved from Canvas Tent to two-storey concrete wall structure. Glad Tidings Bible Camp (GTBC) in Cane Hall caught my attention. Solid structure, approximately 2, 240 sq. ft. of floor area, eight (8) dorms wid sleeping bunks foh 128 persons, offices, auditorium, kitchen, proper washroom facilities. Wid just about everything. Very Good for lickle SVG.
Ah was honoured when Tyrone “Tom” Dickson, Chairman of GTBC Committee invited me to conduct Cuatro Classes for beginners at this year’s Summer Camp. For de last two years, annual Bible Camp was knocked out by COVID-19 and activities interrupted by Volcano Ash(es). Dis year however, despite numerous challenges, de Camp Committee got going again with 65 youth, ages 12 to 18, from Sandy Bay in de North, to Union Island in de South. De boys out-numbered the girls two to one, and all of dem tested Negative for de Virus.
But finding locally trained, experienced counsellors and lecturers was ah challenge. But somehow our Carry-Beyond Brothers and Sisters Came to de rescue: “Camp Director Sis Ann Gamble and Bro Ralph Elliott, Bible Study Director of B’dos; Camp Guest Speaker Rodney Browne & his wife Lydia, and Sports Director Vincent “Nutsman” Gordon from T’n’T.”
De Camp was Five days duration, and ah normal day at Camp was hectic, beginning with Prayers and Staff Meetings at 5 a.m; followed by Fitness Exercises, Devotions, CleaningDorms, Breakfast, Chapel Sessions, Games den Lunch. Den ah period of free time for activities like Cuatro classes etc. Main Sessions resume wid Bible Study, den Supper, to which ah was invited and ah must agree wid one young female Camper who said “Dis is ah Five Star Hotel meal!” De day winds down wid Fellowship followed by presentations of Skits and Drama prepared by de young Campers. Other Activities include beach picnic at Mt Wynn and on de final night was ah Bar BQ with de traditional “Camp Fire” wind-down where participants shared dey experiences. According to Chairman Dickson, 2022 Summer Bible Camp No 49 was ah great success, de Aims and Objectives were to win souls foh Jesus Christ. And ah number of youngsters have committed dey lives to Christ, while several others have renewed dey commitments. Everyone is looking forward to 2023 when GTBC celebrates its 50th Anniversary, if God spares me life ah camping wid dem, no more Scout Camp, sleeping pon tuff ground, under Canvas tent and getting wet. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.
One Love Bassy
Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.