This is a story that had been told every year, when every new bunch of excited kids gather around the campfire with their hearts beating aloud, eyes blazing with the scouts spirit, with great aspirations to start a great journey of adventures and fun in scouting; this is the story of cherished memories if hundreds of scouts of Royal.
Every scout remembers how the story started; long ago in the very premises of this hollowed institute, Royal College, with the blessings of our yet another famed Headmaster E. L. Bradby in the year of 1944, on the 16th of June Lt. Col. M. K. J. Cantlay, a senior teacher began a new era withthe 24 boys attended, an era of outdoors, adventure fun and path to manhood. As the years pass by the Scouts Groups grew by leaps and bounds, and many units were created for the ease of administration. Meanwhile the brother of Royal College, Royal Junior School which shared the same stretch of land, had started cub scouting and a few scout troops too. Eventhough the history gives us a hint of having cub packs as early as 1918, the leaves of the history books have nothing to say beyond that.
1978, turns out to be the greatest milestone of all, in this story. It was during the reign of Headmaster L.D.H.Peris, the Royal Primary School was amalgamated with the College with the influence of H.E. J.R. Jayawardane. Gates were opened (though the passage is still existing with new gates) boundaries were broken. All were united, under one flag, one crest and one motto. The Royal College as we see now was born. So were the scouts, all the scouts of earlier 45th Colombo were absorbed to 42nd Colombo, as one Scout Group. By then there were many Scout Troops as Gold, Green, Blue, Silver, Red, Senior etc. and many cub packs, under many masters and akelas. But thereafter all were known as the scouts and cubs of 42nd Colombo, Royal College Scout Group.
With the story continues, the scouting in Royal became more and more interesting, joyful and exciting, it attracted more and more young royal buds. The Scout Group continued to produce many iron men who excelled in sports with colours, with highest results in academics while achieving the highest award of scouts, the Presidents’ Award. The balance in academics and extra curricular is one key thing that Royal School Song reminds us, and the Scout Group is one paradise which made us true to “Learnt of books and Leant of men and learn to play the game”.
As the many scout troops grew neck to neck, they voiced for a new item to the calendar of activities, which was the Inter Troop Competition named Milroy Paul Challenge Shield. Gold, Green, Silver, Blue all sent their best gladiators to bring the title backand outshine as the best. However while years pass by, the glory of Milroy Paul decayed, resulting a natural death. The Senior Scouts and Instructors of Gold Troop would not want give that easily up. In 1986, they gathered up in the Court of Honour and penned down a new tradition, a tradition that continued for 33 long years; the Lt. Col. M.K.J. Cantlay Challenge Shield, Annual Inter-patrol Competition camp was born. It is the longest held competition camp in Colombo District (in the Island, we do not have statistics) conducted by a Scout Group.
The Golden Jubilee was another cherished memory of all Royal Scouts, in 1994 all the scouts of all the scout troops and packs joined hands to celebrate the joy of long journey of outdoors and brotherhood. The Campfire blazed so high with every glittering eye, every cracking joke, till it vanished in to dust with chanting of the solemn memory of BP’s Spirit.
In the year of 2019, we celebrate a great history, which we all are proud of with profound humbleness. The 75 years is a story of all those excited kids who grew out to become giants in our society, real men of mother Royal. Today we have two main Scout Troops and more than a dozen of Cub Packs, not to forget the adorable Singithi Clusters, housing almost a thousand young buds under one umbrella of brotherhood, the 42nd Colombo Scout Group.
The Scout Group has thought of a pile of great experiences in line with the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. With the school term starts everyday will be filled with a new excitement. We invite all the scouts and non-scouts to join hands and have loads of fun and feel the exciting adventure in Scouting. This is an open invitation to all.
There are many old scouts who were integral parts of this cherished yarn, who will shoulder even tomorrow, day after and so on for it to be a greater one. However now the pen should be given to the warriors of today, the pioneers, stalkers, hikers, explorers, campers, play actors the knights who vouch their integrity and chivalry, we have them all even today, may be disguised as nasty brats, lazy nerds, or bugging bullies. It is our duty to spread the words of wisdom, without filling their heads with nasty nightmares, to tell them the great stories of our journey, guide them to the path of brotherhood and hand the baton on to write a story even greater than, we would have never imagined.