The World Scout Movement is one of the largest youth movements in the world at present.
Though Scouting itself was started in the year 1907, it was established in Sri Lanka five years later, in 1912.
The records available at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia suggest that there were Boy Scouts at College since 1912, but to avoid conflict with Cadetting they were known as Junior Cadets. Furthermore, the proper Cub Pack was started in 1922 by Mr. V.P. Cooke and in the same year the first proper Scout Troop was started by Mr. S.L.H. De Zylva and restarted in 1929 by Dr. R.L. Hayman and Mr. W.T. Keble.
Hence it is clear that the 16th Colombo Scout Group celebrates 100 years, while Scouting itself celebrates 110 years at S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia in 2022.
From there on Scouting continued in the school under the valuable guidance of Scout Leaders such as Dr. R.L. Hayman, Mr. W.I. Muttiah, Mr. N.B. Arputharaj, Mr. A.L. Victor, Mr. Daniel Edirisinghe, Mrs. Jacob, Miss. Olga De Alwis, Mrs. D.D. Sri Murugan and Mr. J. Dharmasena who have immensely helped to bring Scouting in the College to what it is, today.
Over the years the Scout Group at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia has developed into a dynamic group from which many productive citizens have emerged. It has now been acclaimed as one of the most active and prominent Scout Groups in the island.
The 1990s was a brilliant era for Scouting at STC as many projects were undertaken which were of a large scale. The Troop at this stage started doing projects along with Guides, who are their counterparts. The first project of this nature was “Beats of Scouting” in 1995 which brought together Guide Companies from the Colombo District. From there on various projects of a similar nature were carried out. The peak of organizing such projects was when the Troop organized “Tribe Out” in 2002 which was a camp with the Guides. This went on to show the bonds and the trust that the two movements had built over the past years.
They have also continuously contributed to Scouting in Sri Lanka over the past years by organizing unique projects which were of great value. In 2004, the Scouts organized “Tribal Craft” – a Scout Craft Exhibition, which was an iconic event which put the Thomian Scouts as one of the most capable troops in the island.
The last major project of such nature was in 2012 when it organized “Centennial Flames”, a campfire to celebrate 100 years of Scouting in Sri Lanka and the inception of Scouting in S. Thomas’ College.
Many Scouts from the Troop were also able to represent Sri Lanka in several international events over the past few years. The most recent event of this caliber was the 24th World Scout Jamboree held in West Virginia, USA, in which 23 scouts from 16th Colombo participated.
The STC Scout Troop has produced a fair number of President’s Scouts each year, proving that they are not only good in practical aspects but also in theory. At present it is financially supported by a very active Group Committee comprising of former Scouts, parents and well-wishers. The Old Thomian Scouts’ Guild comprising the Instructors (past Scouts) render much assistance to the present Scouts in their daily activities as well. Currently, the Scout Troop comprises close to 100 Scouts led by Dr. Beshan Kulapala and Mr. Dilanka Dayananda.
Furthermore, the Scout Group has been successful in the sports arena by winning the Sports Galas and the Swimming Meets organized by the District. The Scout Group has also helped to enhance the finances of the Scout Movement emerging as the Highest Collectors of the Service and Relationship Week (famously known as Job Week) in the Colombo District in the past several years. The Troop also been able to win the Brig. C.P. Jayawardena Challenge Shield for the Best Senior Scout Troop, the Mayor’s Flag for the Best Junior Scout Troop and the District Commissioner’s Flag for the Best Troop (where awarded) in the Colombo District for the past many years, indicating the leading role the Troop plays in the development of Scouting in the District. All these facts indicate the vibrancy of the Thomian Scout community, making an outstanding mark on the whole the whole Scout Movement in Sri Lanka.
The year 2020 was a highly challenging year for the whole world due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Scouting comprises outdoor activities primarily, and most of such activities had to be either postponed or cancelled across the world. However, amidst such challenges it is noteworthy that the Thomian Scouts innovated and carried out almost all Scouting activities virtually. The Troop even conducted the first ever virtual Scout camp in the island.
Moreover, the 16th Colombo Cub Pack also forms an integral part of Scouting at College. Throughout the years the Cub Scouts have got actively involved in numerous District and National activities and events such as Cabatex, Cubborees, District Camporees and National Jamborees. The Cub Scouts also have been adjudged the Best Cub Pack of the District for the past 12 years by winning the C.M.P. Wanigathunga Flag Competition organized by the Colombo District Branch. Currently the Cub Pack boasts a membership of over 200 Cub Scouts and produces over 60 Gold Star awardees each year, the highest award in Cub Scouting. They are guided by 16 dedicated Cub Akelas headed by Teacher-in-Charge Mrs. Mary Lindon. It is noteworthy to mention the efforts taken by the Akelas during the pandemic period in 2020 by carrying out Cub Scouting programs fully online, being the first Cub Pack in the island to do so.
The latest addition to the 16th Colombo Scout Group has been the Singithi Scouts, who form the youngest section in the Sri Lanka Scout Movement and is dedicated for children between 5 – 7 years. S. Thomas’ College had the honor of inaugurating the Singithi Scout Movement in Sri Lanka back in 2014. At present, the Singithi Scout membership in College stands at over 100 Singithi Scouts, mentored by 9 Singithi Leaders led by Mrs. Zulfa Mohamed. As in the case of Cub Scouts, the 16th Colombo Scout Group pioneered the way in conducting Singithi Scouting activities fully online throughout 2020.
Amidst all these achievements it is important to note the fact that the Group does not only target to win all competitions, but maintain an exemplary level in all the fields. There is a high level of commitment and hard work that is put in to all these which has produced distinctive results, while maintaining a high level of moral and ethical values, thus producing self-reliant, independent and able individuals.
Managing such a large membership of Singithi, Cub and Scouts would not be possible if not for the unwavering efforts of the Group Scout Administrator (Former Group Scout Leader) – Mrs. Wathsala Wijewickrama, Assistant Group Scout Leader Mrs. Gayesha Dharmasena and the Chairman of the Group Scout Committee Mr. Senaka de Fonseka. The 16th Colombo Scout Group would cordially like to thank the Warden Rev’d Marc Billimoria, the Sub Warden and Group Scout Leader Mr. Asanka Perera and the Director of Sports Mr. Dinesh Kumarasinghe for all their guidance, support and encouragement given for the Group throughout.
The 16th Colombo Scout Group are determined to innovate and work around the hardships faced. As such, in this spirit, to celebrate 110 years of Scouting and 100 years of Cub Scouting in 16th Colombo, the 16th Colombo Scout Group has organized a series of events to be conducted throughout the year 2022.
The Launch of the Group Centenary was held on the 18th of March 2021.
The Scout Group hopes to make this series of events a success which would in turn contribute to the development of Scouting in Sri Lanka, proving yet again what Thomian Scouts truly stand for – uniqueness, skill and perfection.