by Br Rajeesh Davisia and Br Amaladoss
The curtains are being raised for the 11th Boscoree to be conducted in Dimapur, the commercial capital of Nagaland. It is for the 11th time that this kind of a gathering takes place. Boscoree takes its name from Don Bosco, the father and friend of youth who was born in Italy on 16th August 1815. Born in the days of the industrial revolution, Don Bosco began his ministry as a priest confronting many young people who were the victims of unemployment, displacement and delinquency. So taken up was he by the need of a guide and director for the youth, he said, “I have promised God to give my very best to the youth to whom God will send me.” He also declared to the young people, “It is enough for me to know that you are young for me to love you.”
On 8th December 1841, Don Bosco met a young person called Bartholomew and then began the youth work that has grown to gigantic proportions. Seeing the need of the time and requirement of the people Don Bosco began boarding schools, trade schools, shelters, hospitality centres.. whatever was useful in catering to the welfare of the youth specially the poor and the abandoned.
Even though many political figures in his time dislike the organized church structures and the missionary enthusiasm of the committed Christians, many anti-clericals and secular leaders admired and appreciated the noble and generous work of Don Bosco. Many rich people and the large hearted authorities supported him in saving the young from moral dangers and settling them to happy family lives.
The demand for Don Bosco’s work came from all parts of the world. In course of time the sons of Don Bosco set sail overseas to continue the work that Don Bosco began.
In 1906 the Salesians came to India from the first time. The send big group came to North East India in 1922. Presently there are over 2000 Salesians and over 400 Don Bosco Institutions in India. Along with the regular and formal institutions to cater to the needs of the young, the Salesians also joined hands with others for the welfare of the young and that is how the dreams of Don Bosco and the ideals of Baden Powell met. While Don Bosco aimed at the training of young people as good Christians and upright citizens Lord Baden Powell too aimed to educate children to good citizenship. In this context the Salesians of Don Bosco adopted scouting whole heartedly for the education of the young.
The Aims of Scouting are four-fold.
The first is the formation of character, the second is the formation of sound health habits, the third is the training in handicraft and the acquiring of useful skill; and the fourth is the cultivation of a proper spirit of service. The pursuit of these aims leads to the development of good citizenship, among boys. In Aids to Scout mastership, Baden Powell explains that the object of Scout training is “to improve the standard of our future citizenship, especially in Character and Health; to replace self with service; to make the lads individually morally and physically efficient, with the object of using that efficiency for service for their fellowmen”. He also defines citizenship as “active loyalty to the community”. Our aim is to train the boy for good citizenship. Active citizenship is what we want. We know selfishness is natural to boys, but we want to eradicate it. In the place of “Self” we substitute “the ambition to be of service to fellow men”. Training boys for good citizenship is our ultimate aim. Our immediate aim, however, is character formation, building of sound health habits, training in handicrafts and useful skills, and cultivation of proper spirit of service. Through these we want to build in them a proper sense of citizenship.
Character:- We teach character through the Patrol system, the Scout Law, S c o u t – l o r e ,Wood craft, and the responsibility of the Patrol Leader, team games, and the resourcefulness involved in camp work. Character training includes the realization of God, the Creator through His work, the appreciation of Beauty in Nature and through the love of plants and animals with which outdoor life has made one familiar.
Health and Strength:-We secure health and strength through games and regularity in exercises, and through knowledge of personal hygiene and diet.
Handicraft and Skill:- These are achieved occasionally through indoor activities, but more especially through pioneering, bridge building, camp crafts, and self-expression through the arts, all of which tend to make for efficient work.
Service to Others:- The spirit of services is developed through the carrying into daily life of the practice of religion, by “Good Turns” dealing with quite small actions, as well as with community service, service at accidents and life saving.
Boscoree in India
The history of the Boscoree goes back to 1974 when the Salesians of Don Bosco conducted an all India programme for the Scouts and Guides of their schools. The first Boscoree was in Bangalore. This is the 11th Boscoree that is held in India. Boscoree in fact is a gathering of the Scouts and Guides from the schools of Salesian family providing a flat form for learning, sharing and developing talents through group activities. This gathering takes place every 4 years.
Origin and Significant Moments of Boscouts in India
1944 The first Don Bosco scout trip got off to a start in Broadway. Madras south India with Fr Schlooz at the helm
1950 Fr Mc Ferran’s effort saw the birth of a scout unit in Matunga, Bombay
1966 The camp at Kovalam in which the two troops participated was indeed an event to remember.
1974 The 1st Ever meeting of the All India Don Bosco scouts was held at Bangalore, Karnataka.
1976 Province of Bombay hosted the 2nd All India Don Bosco scouts meet in Matunga, Maharashtra. It was here the camp was christened Boscoree.
1979 Despite inclement the inclement weather the 3rd Bosocree was conducted with great fanfare in Shillong, Meghalya.
1980 During the centenary year of the Death of Don Bosco, through the initiative of DBYA-India, Boscoree was revived. The 4th Boscoree was held at Bangalore, Karnataka.
1988 The 5th National Boscoree was held at Sacred Heart Seminary in Poonamalee, Tamil Nadu.
1994 The 6th National Boscoree was held at Don Bosco Liluah, Calcutta.
1995 Fr P X Francis was appointed the first National Coordinator for Don Bosco Scouts and Guides and Boscoree by the SPCI- India.
1997 The 7th Boscoree was held in Surcona, Goa.
2000 The 8th Boscoree was held in Shillong, Meghalaya.
2003 The 9th Boscoree was held in Mannuthy, Kerala
2006 The 10th Boscoree was held in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
2010 The 11th Boscoree to be held in Dimapur, Nagaland.
Boscoree in Dimapur
This season of Christmas and New Year will be different for several Scouts and Guides from all over India. The long awaited Boscoree is commencing in Dimapur, Nagaland from 29th December 2010 to 2nd January 2011. This camping is marked by an enthralling presence of thousands of young, agile, enthusiastic, competitive Scouts and Guides from all over India. It will be a time for learning new skills, training the brain and the body, providing food for thoughts, finding friends, keeping abreast the competitive spirit. The spirit of Boscoree has been caught up with several of them as they eagerly preparing for the grand finale in Dimapur. The programme is on the table to be served hot and spicy. The Chief Rev. Fr. P X Francis affirms to all the participants: “10 BOSCOREES have shown us the way. Today, standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us we have the singular privilege of getting together, meeting together and scouting together. As we make our preparations for the celebrations, we know what is happening in our world. There are many areas where preparations are being made for war. Even in our country and in the neighborhood people are plotting their plans to kill and destroy for the sake of victory. All of us scouts/ guides. Scouters and guiders on the other hand are determined to make peace and like the angels at Christmas we are hoping to proclaim PEACE ON EARTH.”
The Boscoree is a time when the young scouts and guides get ample opportunities to improve, cultivate and develop the many talents hidden and sprouting. The agenda has been directed to the growth of the holistic individual person. Camp variegated programmes involve, animations on several topics, quiz, dramatics, games, singing, competitions in door and out of door, test of practical skills, etc. Don Bosco’s vision of making young people good citizens and God-fearing individuals are given its place during the camp. One of the outstanding features is the discipline of the individual and troop. The young scouts and guides are tested at intellectually, physically psychologically, mentally, and emotionally through many a programme in the camp. The interactive, re-creative time provide to grow socially. A mature personality is what envisaged in the camp. All the camp activities are directed towards to achieve this goal.
The Boscoree in Dimapur will be an extravagant meeting for the young people. A total number of 3272 will be part of the programme. 1304 scouts, 894 guides, 80 scout masters, 32 guide Captains from 68 schools from the different parts of India are participating in the Boscoree. The Camp Chief is Mr K S Charles will be assisted Fr Tharakan Anto, Fr Theotimus, Br Biju, Mr Agay, Ms Ratna Mutum, Ms Maria Anal and others. The camp is scheduled to commence on the 29th December 2010 in the campuses of Don Bosco Hr. Sec. School and Holy Cross School, Dimapur. It is organized in such way that the programmes will be going on simultaneously in five sub-camps. The common programmes will be held at Don Bosco Hr. Sec. School Campus. The Boscoree will come to close on the 2nd January 2011.
Nagaland is a land of culture. Its beauty told and untold will be uncovered to many young people who will be gathered for the Boscoree. It is hoped that the colors of Nagaland and the hues of the young people gathered from allover India will blend together to bring the peace of earth about which the angels sang at Bethlehem.