"We have been in Scouting for a very long time before we joined the World Scout Foundation in 2014. We know from our own experience as well as via our children that Scouting does fantastic work at grass root level. Our journey with the Foundation has showed us many such examples in different countries, but this Field Visit gave us an in depth view of an unique Scouting in Schools project in South Africa as well as an inspiring insight in community-based Scouting in Townships and last but not least an understanding of the process that brought Scouting in South Africa from a dwindling organisation in 2012 with less than 20,000 members to a vibrant and engaged organisation in 2018 with over 200,000 members!", says Jenn Hancock.
First stop, Scouts South Africa HQ in Cape Town, to meet with the interns who are running the unique Scouting in Schools project. 80% of these interns (between 18-24 years of age) have never been a Scout and never heard of Scouting. They joined the programme because it will give them a change to become part of a community and it prepares them for either a job or a study. They receive a small stipend from the local government. This year's group of 40 interns joined in late January 2018, received an induction training in Scouting and were assigned in pairs to two or more schools in low or no income areas (generally these areas are crime controlled) to either set up new Scout troops or take over the troops from the 2017 interns.
"I have never seen such enthusiastic Scout Leaders as these interns who really understand what Scouting is about even after only being part of it since January 2018. An the beauty of the programme is that all the 2017 interns have either got a job or are enrolled in studies and still act as mentors for the 2018 interns!", says Marshall Hollis.
The kids in the School Troops also haven't been part of Scouting before, but somewhere deep down they understand that if they want to move on and become responsible citizens in South Africa, this is the way forward. In the picture above the Patrol Leaders of twenty Troops are taking part in a Patrol Leaders training. They are young (most are under the age of 14)—a number of them only joined in 2018—but what enthusiasm and what spirit!
What amazed me most while talking with these young (Assistant) Patrol Leaders is their drive to succeed and how they are able to formulate in simple, but clear language what Scouting is about and how they benefit from it - just inspirational!", says Victor Laguna.
One thing these School Troops can't do, due to financial constraints at home, is to go on a Scout Camp. And let's face it these camps are not only fun, but also an effective way of putting all the skills learned into practice while enjoying nature respectfully and developing their leaderships skills in a safe and informal environment.
"When we realised that these amazing Patrol Leaders and their Scouts would never have this opportunity simply because the cost per person for a 3 day camp of US$45 was far beyond the means of their families, we knew we had to do something. All the BP Fellows on this Field Visit agreed to raise funds from their own means and from among their family, friends and wider Scouting community to give these Troops a camping experience. Help us raise the US$20,000 (or more)!" says Lars Kolind.
The project is published on the Scout Donation Platform were you can donate and when you tick the box 'Count towards my Fellowship' it will be added to your BP Fellowship total!
“Field Visits like this are crucial,” says Bill Finerty. “We have all been inspired by the passion and energy of the Scouts here in South Africa – but more importantly by the impact we can see on the lives of these young women and men in challenging parts of the community. I’ve simply never seen anything like it. It is so motivating to see our investment paying off! And what’s more, we have been able to help our Scout friends in South Africa link to local business leaders and to give the national foundation a big push forward. This will help these local investors become more engaged in the future.”
As Lars concludes: “Each year the WSF organises a number of Field Visits – to help each of our investors see the global impact through local projects for themselves. I believe everybody needs to take part in an Honours Programme Field Visit! Why not join our visit next year?" - Keep an eye on the Events section of our website!