By Debbie Ferguson, Pack Scouter at 1st Eagles on the West Rand in Johannesburg.
So. I’m sitting at my desk in my study. It wasn’t supposed to be a study. It was supposed to be my ‘she-shack’ or something trendy and chic with exposed rafters, a sofa and a ceiling fan.
Next door, in the dressing room, are a few things I also hadn’t planned. Okay, I had planned the shoe cupboard. Meticulously. I’d spent some time planning the layout of the wardrobes too. Both turned out brilliantly, but what’s inside is not entirely what I had envisaged.
The garage downstairs? Well, that was for the cars. Was.
You see, a few years ago I thought it would be nice if my son joined Cubs. When I was at school it was just something we did. Boys went to Cubs and girls went to Brownies, and I’m not shy to admit I was always jealous of the boys. They just seemed to have more fun. Anyhow, there I was being a mom, who worked in the film and television industry from time to time. I wore mostly black clothes and spent lots of free time after school with my son. Pretty cool. Then one Friday night we went to Cubs. A few weeks later the Scouters needed some help and I offered to do my bit. After that things changed. Radically.
You see, now there is a laminator on the shelf. There is an entire bookcase full of files and books on Cubs and Scouting, and probably most editions of the Jungle Book ever published! People roll their eyes…
In the shoe cupboard are brown hiking boots and, I kid-you-not, a shiny pair of size 5 lace-up brown school shoes. And they are mine!
In the wardrobe are no less than three uniforms. Khaki, with epaulettes, and all mine! The mostly purple t-shirts and the sweaters branded iScout, have replaced the crew t-shirts I would get at the end of each TV series I worked on.
As for the garage? We don’t talk about that. But you know…
There are a few more things that changed in my life. I have some sensible clothes and shoes that are good for standing in for hours on end. Clothes that would meet the approval of a school headmaster. There are books and files and notes and seemingly endless assignments and exams that come with studying for my teaching degree. If someone had told me 6 years ago that I would be studying, wearing a uniform, being an Akela, and working as a teacher I honestly would’ve called them a liar. That’s what happened. Working with Cubs reminded me of my love of teaching and by the end of the year I will have completed one qualification and be halfway to my degree. It wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Cubbing, so I guess it’s perfectly safe to say that Cubbing changed my life. I couldn’t be happier. Friday evenings with my Cubs are a highlight of my week. Those little people have enriched my life!