Over the past year I have been privileged to represent the Scouting Movement as the Chief Scout. It has been a true honour to meet so many wonderful Cubs, Scouts, Rovers and Adult Volunteers. It is clear that SCOUTS South Africa is an Extraordinary Movement. I use the word Extraordinary purposefully, as the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is just that little bit extra which we call genuine volunteerism with the aim to empower children and youth to be the best they can be.
To all our adult volunteers I say thank you. Your job is not an easy task and we are aware how hard it is to balance a professional career with a family and volunteering the little spare time you have with the Scouting Movement. Over the past year I met many people with an adventurous, caring and Scouting heart. Your dedication, service and hard work is what inspires our younger generation to not only summit mountains, but to move them.
To our parents I say thank you for letting your children be part of the Scouting Movement. As parents, we want our children to be able to play, learn and enjoy their lives to the fullest in a safe and nurturing environment. My two youngest children are in Scouting too and as my daughter went on her first camp I remember her excitement and my peace of mind. As a father, I want them to be prepared for life’s obstacles but also to be able to embrace all opportunities. This is where we as SCOUTS South Africa stand out. Our children get prepared for life, before it happens!
To our youthful members all I can say is well done and I am looking forward to more! The way you embrace the Scout Promise and Laws, seize each adventure, are of service of your communities and eagerly learn new skills is inspirational. I was in awe of the gardens you established and the vegetables you grew yourselves. The many community and pioneering projects you so skilfully completed and the hiking and sailing expeditions you undertook were fantastic! There were times when I was reminded of my own childhood and the songs and games I used to play with my friends. You are not only building your skills, but are also creating lifelong friendships and memories you will cherish!
Baden Powell asked us to leave this place a better world than how we found it. It has become very clear to me that in one hundred years from now, when our material belongings will no longer be around, that people will say that you, our Scouters, Rovers, Scouts and Cubs, made a difference. “Your legacy will therefore live on to inspire others too”. History has shown us that a small group of committed people can change the world. I believe that all of you whom volunteer their time, advice and services to the Scouting Movement are doing just that. I am already very excited and really looking forward to visiting more regions next year and to join in some of the Scouting Adventures!
Chief Scout of South Africa