What started as an idea, an experiment; way back in the August of 1914, today has over 90 wonderful years, come to become an institution non pareil in the nation and probably the world, in its own field.
One man Rustomji Edulji Sethna stumbled upon a book on a then new, relatively unknown activity, called Boy Scouting. The brilliance and the visionary in the man saw it as a building block of society and a way to make great citizens of our nation from young boys at a very influential age.
This was the start to the Sethnas 18th West Bombay Scout Group. Through its 90 years of continuous and active running as a Boy Scout Group, there is possibly nothing that the group has not done or achieved. The quest to excel in the everyday world is eternal and is the strongest legacy left behind by the founding father who passed away 51 years ago, way back in 1954.
Young boys at around the age of six join the group in the Cub Pack, and over the years move on to the Scout Troop or the Sea Scout Troop when they are 11 years and then over the next seven years excel as scouts and graduate upon adulthood as Rovers. As rovers they lend yeomen service to the group in all its activities, and many among the rovers go ahead and become cubmasters and scoutmasters and rover leaders.
The Group has the unique distinction of having had in its fold, three generations (and counting) of boys. Young boys joined the group in the formative years and later their sons and now grandsons have passed through the group and continue their association with the group to this day.
The idea of one large family, as our founder saw it, is well and alive today and as the world moves into the new century and the new millennium, the Sethnas 18th West Bombay once again rises to the challenge of today. It reaffirms its aims and objectives and strengthens upon the beliefs left behind by our past cubs, scouts, rovers and scout masters over the last 8 decades.
The challenges facing the troop today are many. In a globalised world of cut throat competition for every individuals attention, there are more and more reasons for a boy to be distracted by temporary and superficial attractions. In this scenario, the group faces the biggest challenge in maintaining the numbers of boys. What differs the 18th West from countless other groups is that we believe in the adage “Quality in Quantity”. With a fast changing world amid technological advances, the group finds the need to change and modify to today’s needs to be more relevant and useful in its mission of making better men out of boys!!
Cubs and scouts, with their enthusiasm work hard and learn eagerly the tricks of the trade…our as we call SCOUTCRAFT. Rovers with their past knowledge provide the ample support needed by the scouters who with their wisdom and experience mould the boys to be better citizens of a fast changing tomorrow.
How the troop succeeds in this cannot be easily quantified, but the fact that generation after generation kids come back to the same troop where their grandfathers and fathers spent some of their best childhood years, has affirmed the faith that what we as a group has been doing for the past 90 years is something we are all proud of.
As we move ahead, we also look back at the tremendous sacrifices of our past and present scouters, who by their dint of hard work, love for the troop and loyalty to it, have gone out of their way to keep this flame alive. As is often quoted ” in history, numbers don’t matter” and this is so true at 18th West over the decades.
The Scout group would not be what it is today if not primarily for the faith the parents have reposed in the group by sending their boys to the group and to all its activities, and to them and to their total faith and belief the group is always indebted.
As part of the changing world, and in keeping abreast of the times, the website of the 18th West Bombay Scout Group is one more such endeavor to take up challenges and excel in them. As the years have gone by and our old boys have gone into different parts of the world to chart their own fate and futures, we hope that the website will become a virtual meeting ground for them, a place where they can come back, and revive memories of their younger years, and keep in touch with what is happening at the troop since they passed through it.
Nearly all the contents of the site have been made possible due to the meticulous records kept by our dear departed Scouter Khurshedji D. Mistry. He joined the group as a small boy in the cub pack in 1914 and from then on to his death, 81 year later, his association with the troop never ended. As the group’s first and foremost Historian and Scribe, he thoroughly documented each and every activity, and honour that came the way of the troop over the years. This collection has enabled us to assimilate this immense wealth of information on to our site. We miss his resence today and we are sure that he will log on to the site from up in heaven to see his labour of love bear fruit on the internet today.
To be better citizens, to become leaders of tomorrow’s nation, to understand and appreciate the idea of the world as a global village, is the mission of the group and will always remain. To all our past, present and future cubs, scouts, rovers, scouters, parents and the extended global family, we dedicate this website.
Arzan Sam Wadia & Homiar Jamshed Hathiram