A Scout should not be a Dreamer! – Interview with Günther Walter

01 August

"I invite you to be faithful to the rich tradition
of the scout movement, committed into the
formation to dialogue, the sense of justice, loyalty,
brotherhood in social relationships.
Such a style of life may be your original contribution
to the realisation of a greater and more authentic fraternity
between the European peoples, a precious
contribution to the life of the societies in which you live 
"

Thomas Kröger

During the sixties Günther Walter decided to set up a new scouting association in Germany, the  Katholische Pfadfinderschaft Europas. And he is still active: with his Clan, he is currently helping at the „Red Point“ in Nursia for Euromoot 2019.

Günther is at an age when one no longer asks the age. The German flag on his uniform is so worn that one can hardly recognise it. However, it doesn’t matter: „I rather feel a European“. He was born in Silesia and grew in Austria. He came as „fully qualified Troop leader“ to Germany. I met him in Nursia next to the ruins of the cloister of Saint Benedict.

Günther got in touch with the French FSE for the first time at a pilgrimage in Lourdes. That was in 1975 during the Holy Year. The scout troop helping with the cordoning off of the Holy Sacrament procession impressed him lastingly: “We had never seen such a thing before. Spotless uniforms, perfect attitude!” To Günther, this was missing in Germany: “We want to be proper Catholics again, quite normal Catholics, without being weird, and we want to be absolutely normal scouts, but proper scouts. After having met Perig, everything went very quickly. The first training camps were offered, the first newspapers were printed. After the first year, the association included 700 members. “That wasn’t much, but that was good.” The official texts were translated, so were the Scout Law and the Promise, in which it is said that a scout will fill his duty to his country with the help of God. This duty consists, among other things, of the scout standing up for society.  

“If the scouting method is correctly applied to wolf cubs and to scouts, then the preparation to what citizenship means is nearly perfect.” As a practical example, he mentioned the patrol exploration (Hajk) during the summer camp: “They’re sent off and should learn the most possible and the most comprehensively possible all that there is to learn. Naturally, they must get in touch with the population. This way, they learn within three days more about citizenship than they do in a year at school.”  To hear this from a former school head made me grin. “But the exploration must be prepared so that the patrol can plan it by itself and not simply tick things as they would do so at school in class work. When each patrol member has done his duty which switches again after a year, the young boys get a larger horizon and learn more for society than anywhere else.” Günther made it clear: “We must be here for others and not only for us! Naturally at the wolf cub’s stage, it can only be concepts; however, wolf cubs can sing for Christmas at the hospital. It must become more developed and more serious at the scout’s stage, and at the rover’s stage it must really be there, it must be in act. So, sometimes we must go beyond our limits. A scout should not be a dreamer!”

Here in Nursia, he could imagine for example that rovers do some cleaning one day, put the rubbish aside and rebuild what has been broken a few years ago. A scout must live European cohesion. For one thing, to avoid that Europe should go back into war. “But also, because each nation’s people has very much to give to one another.”

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