20th Ogden Scout Group

History of the 20th Ogden Scout Group and Hall

Written by Mrs. Lillian Davies

(Mrs. "Pop" Davies read this at our Flag Raising Ceremony June 1991)

The 20th Ogden Scouts were started in the Fall of 1928 in Glen Clark's old converted chicken house, located just north of where Safeway is now. The first Scoutmaster was Alfred Yoxal, assisted by King Scout Glen Clark, who passed away in South Africa in 1980. They had eight boys in the Troop. They continued meeting there until the Scout Hall was built. It was built in two sections - the first was 24 feet square with the addition 24' by 70' with slabs with bark on them for the interior walls. It was opened on December 19, 1931.

Mr. Arthur J. Boote, father of Walter Boote, was the first Trustee of the Hall, followed by Walter Boote and Walter Fetherston. There were 24 boys at the opening and peaked at 36 boys.

The Troop was First Aid Champions of Canada in the 1930's with Joe Smith and Charlie Cowley as instructors. They were Honour Guard for the King and Queen's visit to Calgary in 1939.

Five of the boys were killed in the Second World War. One boy was drowned in the Bow River at one of their campouts.

Jack Paine, Sr. was Scoutmaster, following the first one, until the War Years. Other Scoutmasters were: Ed Mitchell, Neil Ellison, Jack Firmston Jr., Jack "Pop" Davies, Glen Bilton, Jack Smart, Jack "Skip" Simpson - not in that order. Doreen Buckton was Cub Leader, followed by Hazel Firmston who served for 15 years assisted by Laurel Irving. Sylvia Simpson followed them as well as others who's names I've forgotten. Mrs. Jack Fessey was the first Brownie Leader assisted by Mrs. Smart who returned to England. The Brownies were started in September, 1932. The toadstool, Mrs. Fessey made her uniform and is now on display at the new Guide Headquarters on Brownsea Avenue N.W. The Brownie records are lost.

Fundraising was mainly taken care of by Jack W. Firmston Sr., for which he received the Medal of Merit in July, 1940.

In 1938, Pat Burns donated the use of an island in the Bow River just south of the Glenmore Bridge at Ogden for use as an Ogden Scout Camp with three buildings being built for them.

Jack Paine started a Rover Crew who had the 20th Group's Amateur Radio Station VE4 ARA which was built by two Officers of the Signal Corps. Four boys passed their amateur radio operator's license test - Norman Teale, Jack Paine Jr., Harry Shorten and Jack Firmston, Jr. The station was closed down because of the Second World War.

They had a strong Girl Guide Company in 1940 with Leader Edna Davies. Other leaders were: Jean Templeton, Grace Bain, Ivy DeVulder and Ginny Nymen who is still active in the movement. Faye Chamberlain was the Ranger Leader. It is unknown what happened to the records as none are available.

Harry Shorten was the first King Scout, followed by Ken Hastings and Ken Rumrill. After the war, the first Queen Scouts were: Clayton Jensen, Rae Davies and Don Nagel, Brian and Larry Barrett. Trevor Davies was the first Scout in Calgary to get the Dog Handler's badge; it was a tough exam.

Dave Smart received the Medal of Merit in 1972 and "Pop" Davies in 1973. Pop Davies, Rae Davies and Don Nagel attended the Jamboree at Ottawa in 1961. The Troop had a visit from a Pakistani Leader, Taki Moshin, after the jamboree.

The troop was so large in the 1960's that they had to have an A and B troop. Roy Klatt and Pop Davies were leaders of the Rover Crew. They built their own canoe for activities. The Venturers were started in 1966, but only lasted 3 or 4 years and then went over to the 77th Group.

The boys had many weekend camps at Hidden Springs (where the Glenmore Bridge is over the river). The parents came on Saturdays to see what skills the boys had learned. They also attended camps at Camp Matthews, Camp Gardner at Bragg Creek, Camp Woods at Sylvan Lake, Camp Impesa at Beaver Mines Lake southwest of Pincher Creek, which is the Lethbridge District Camp and at Priddis.

Don Nagel designed the shoulder flashes for the Groups and Terry Curtis for the Rangers. I made them for the boys after they were approved.

Some of the Presidents of the Group Committee were Jack Firmston Sr., Charles Case, Bill Samphire, Allan VanDale, and Roy Pidgeon. There were many Secretaries and Treasurers. Alice Simmons, Alice Davies, my daughter-in-law and myself among them. Mrs. Steve Marich spoiled us all with her fresh baked buns which were a standard item at all meetings.

Myself, I have been on the Executive Committee of the Parent's Auxiliary. I was the first secretary of the St. George's District Council when it was organized (I forgot the year) and was Badge Secretary for the District Council. I helped Jack Wallace organize the "St. George's District News". I also helped with Guides; helped draw up the Constitution and Bylaws for the 20th Group. With the help of Ivy DeVulder and Lil Stagg, I put out the first edition of the cook book "Our Mom's Favourite Recipes" in 1978 and a second edition was made in 1983.

I still the book Bottle Drives for all the Groups in the Ogden Millican area. Most people think it's a lot of work but I really enjoy it all, especially the satisfaction of teaching semaphore and knots, as well as making gallons of hot chocolate in a caner at the camps. I held the First Reunion of the 20th Scouts (after 50 years) on December 19, 1981. I didn't realize it was to the exact date of the opening of the hall. I was able to obtain the names and addresses of over 300 former Scouts up to that time. 128 attended, some coming as far away as Denver, Colorado and the B.C. Coast.

I hope I have given you some insight into the 20th Group's activities over the 50 years or more that it has been in operation. Pop figured he put over 300 boys through Scouts in the 28 years he was a Leader with only three ever getting into trouble with the law. Petty good record, don't you think? It shows what Scouting can do to mould a boy's life on the right path.

Thank you for inviting me to your supper and program. I wish you all success with your programs in the future.