|The Times When Scouting Wasn't Allowed|
A few days ago, Petr Kudrna, a 50-year veteran of Czech Scouting, wrote to Scouts NSW and had an interesting story to tell.
It’s difficult to imagine a time when carrying out simple Scouting activities was forbidden and illegal; even more shocking to learn that there was a possibility of facing severe punishment if caught. This was the reality for a Scout Troop in the town of Brandys nad Labem in the Czech Republic, who, during World War II, were forced to conduct all their Scouting business in secret.
Time went on, and all the Members got away with their “crimes” unscathed. It was not until the end of the Second World War that the Troop was finally able to practice Scouting freely and openly. This new taste of freedom provided them with the opportunity to find their very own Hall where they could spend time improving their Scouting skills and living and behaving according to the Scout principles.
The Troop would spend their summers building vessels and carving paddles together, testing them out on the Czech rivers and exploring what nature had to offer.
Unfortunately, the fun and freedom died out in 1949 when communist views were imposed on their country. Scouting once again became forbidden and Troops were taken over by pioneers and youth leaders who changed the programs to fit in with their own political ideals.
19 years later, Petr Kudrna joined Scouts, as the political situation briefly began to improve. Kudrna recalled those short-lived times as being wonderful until three years later when Scouts was banned for a third time.
In 1989 the Troop were finally able to get back on track, and since then they have grown in numbers to 60 girls and boys, with Kudrna as one of their leaders. They all hold the hope that no one will try to stop them doing their activities ever again.
Today Kudrna is retired and is drawing towards the end of his Scouting career. He now spends his time collecting small Scouting items from every country to show young members how large Scouts is as an organisation and how it has managed to thrive through troubled times.
We would love to thank Petr Kudrna for sharing the history of his Scout Troop with us.