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leslie's guiding traditions

Good Turns date from the earliest days of Scouting. In the first fortnightly instalment of "Scouting For Boys", B-P wrote about the knights in days of old "One great point about them was that every day they had to do a good turn to somebody, and that is one of our rules. When you get up in the morning remember that you have got to do a good turn to somebody during the day; tie a knot in your handkerchief or necktie, and leave the tail of your necktie outside your waistcoat to remind yourself of it; and when you go to bed at night think who you did the good turn to. If you should ever find that you had forgotten to do it, you must do two good turns the next day instead. Remember that by your Scout's oath you are on your honour to do it. A good turn need only be a very small one; if it is only to put a halfpenny in a poor box, or to help an old woman to cross the street, or to make room on a seat for someone, or to give water to a thirsty horse, or to remove a bit of banana skin off the pavement where it is likely to throw people down, it is a good turn. But one must be done every day, and it only counts as a good turn when you do not accept any reward in return."

Hence, from then onward every member has been expected to do Good Turns. It has long been part of the Brownie Law, and one of the Guide Laws too. And when Rainbows were introduced, they too were asked to commit to being kind and helpful.

In the 1920s and 1930s, there was also an annual Christmas Good Turn. Units were encouraged to save up to collect Christmas presents, to wrap and bundle up, for donation to families in poor areas. A convoy of cars would be organised, with the dates and routes advertised in "The Guide" magazine, and Patrols and Companies encouraged to prepare their parcels, and meet the convoys to hand them over. Companies were also encouraged to plan special good turns, in anticipation of the coming christmas gifts - to give to others before receiving.