“We didn’t have any of these secret Scout troops that had officially been under Pioneer and that then happily came under Junák in 1990 where I lived or in the close neighborhood. This was a strange world for my perception of Scouting. On the other hand, I had this experience of a conflict with the Pioneer as with someone who had hurt us and against whom we had been assuming an attitude. I remember from the first weeks of our meetings that on our notice board we had the difference between the Scout Law and the Pioneer Law laid out: a Scout ‘is’ whereas a Pioneer ‘should be’. This was written on the board, I still remember that. Resistance against Pioneer had been part of our identities, something I had grown up in; for me Scouting is something very different than Pioneer.”
“Scouting is unique in the variety of things and activities it does. It’s not just the nature, crafts or talking, it’s all of it together, wrapped in an attractive packaging full of camp romance, sunsets and sunrises, nice constructions, campfires and games. That’s what makes Scouting special and despite other leisure activities and today even school’s efforts to peck out the elements of its methods, no one has managed to take over the whole thing because then it just wouldn’t be Scout anymore. Learning through play is quite common today but it definitely wasn’t back then. But Scouting is not just a game, it is also – even today and maybe more so today than ever before – work. A scout camp is one of few environments where a city kid gets a hatchet and a saw in his hands and is sent to cut down a tree and chop the firewood; if I push it to the absurd, it’s one of few environments where kids wash the dishes. Twenty years ago old Scouts would complain about the young ones’ inability to start a fire, today we teach kids how to wash the dishes. They hold the pot scourer in their hands and ask what it is. They’ve never seen it before. They don’t know what to do with it.”
“My teachers discussed it with me a lot, they reminded me of it as early as second grade – that I take religion classes and am an altar boy. When you’re an altar boy in the countryside it’s quite different than in the city where no one really has to know about it. But in the countryside, in a church that’s right next to the school that you pass twenty or thirty times a year as an altar boy leading funeral processions that all have a brass band that your headmaster, a great communist, and two or three other teachers play in… There was an immediate link. It had ridiculous forms and shapes: in fifth grade my classmates nominated me to be a member of the Pioneer’s board. And the president at the time who worked for the Pioneer organization vetoed it, saying that it’s impossible for an altar boy to be member of the board. Back then it really bothered me, I felt harmed, but my father explained to me that it was probably for the best and that I should be proud of it.”
Scouting teaches people to be interested in the world around them
Stanislav Balík, a political scientist, historian and a Scout, was born February 20, 1978 in Bludov. During his childhood in the Normalization period he took religion classes and was an altar boy in the local church. He joined a Scout troop in early 1990 and has been an active Scout ever since. In 1994, as a sixteen-year-old, he took charge of the Scout troop in Bludov and later became leader of the entire Group. He graduated from a gymnasium in Šumperk and then studied history at the Faculty of Arts and political science at the Faculty of Social Studies at Masaryk University in Brno. He was an assistant at the political science department between the years 2002 and 2004 and became an assistant professor in 2005. He became head of the department after becoming a senior lecturer in 2008. He remained in function until elected dean of the Faculty of Social Studies in September 2019. He is an elected representative at the Bludov municipality after running as an independent on the Civic Democrats’ ballot. He has been a leader of the Jeseníky Forest School and its forest trainings for Scout troop leaders since 2000.