In addition to German and NATO Guides living in
West Berlin, we were told that 800 Guides were coming from West Germany by air
and road. Two coach loads had not yet arrived. These Guides had posted their
uniforms ahead, for reasons of security, but there was a delay of eight hours at
the Soviet zone border. After twenty-four hours spent in the coaches they
eventually turned up to everyone's relief. As one of them calmly remarked: "It
was quite an experience."
Later that evening I was taken to meet the
Displaced Persons' Guides to hear their latest news. Lithuanians, Latvians,
Estonians and Ukrainians had all flown to Berlin to see their "Chief". Several
of them had been at the World Association Training Conference for Leaders at
Konigswinter in 1962 so we had much to discuss.
On the morning of May 2nd there was a huge
gathering in the Congress Hall, that wonderful modern building given to Berlin
by the U.S.A.
flags of each country present were carried in after the World flag and placed on
the stage behind the Chief. In front sat the guests: the American
Commander-in-Chief, the British Consul-General, French, Belgian and German
officials. Scout representatives and parents, and behind them row upon row of
laughing excited Guides.
In her speech Lady Baden-Powell "looked back,
looked round, looked forward". She spoke of the force for peace which Guiding
is; of the character training which helps each Guide and, through her, other
people; of the happiness and fun enjoyed through comradeship. She told how Lord
Baden-Powell chose a uniform for Scouts and Guides for two reasons : uniform is
a sign of service, of being part of a team. Nurses wear uniform, postmen wear
uniform, football teams wear it. Uniform is a "leveller", it makes us all look
alike whether we are rich or poor, clever or not so clever!
She spoke, too, of the handicapped girl and of
how Guiding can bring happiness and "service to others" even into the lives of
the physically disabled. She told of one such Guide who said, "I can serve God
with my soul even if I cannot serve Him with my body".
The applause echoed through the great hall as
she told of her pleasure at being in the German capital and among the German
A reception for VIP's and guests was then held
and later another recording was made, this time for a German broadcast.
At 6 p.m. there was a huge camp fire. Everyone
seemed at ease, gay and happy. It was indeed a wonderful evening, one of the
highlights being a song sung by a lovely fair-haired Estonian Guider with a
very beautiful voice. She was in national costume and accompanied herself on the
On the morning of May 3rd, Sunday, we were
driven along the "wall" (erected by the
Russians three years ago) and saw for ourselves
some of the tragedy of divided Berlin.
Our tour ended with first a Roman Catholic Guide
Service followed by a Protestant one, the first time that Guide Services have
ever been held in Berlin.
We were seen off at the airport by the
President of the "Ring", Frau Heinstein, and by the Chief Commissioners of each
Guide Association. The whole event had been a tremendous achievement on the
part of the German Planning committee, working against all sorts of odds, and
the World Chief Guide's historic visit to Berlin will certainly never be
forgotten by anyone who took part in it.
From COUNCIL FIRE JULY-SEPT