17 year old Claude Schippers is a Scout with 1st Bellville South Scouts Group. It will be the first time Claude travels oversees and he is very excited “ I’m counting the hours till we leave! I can’t sleep when I think about how much fun we are going to have! Many of my peers in the community I live in are not Scouts and are involved in bad things or use drugs. When I tell them I am a Scout, I help others, go on outdoor adventures and now I am going to Japan they all look at me in awe,” he explains.
“I am most looking forward to meeting my other Scouting brothers and sisters”, he says with a smile. “ Meeting people with different cultures, different ways of doing things in Scouting and finding out more about their lives is something I am very excited to experience. I have never seen a place like Japan before and it is going to be amazing! In school we have learnt about Mount Fuji. During our pre-tour we will be visiting the mountain and I can’t wait to see it for myself!”
When I comes to preparation Claude has been hard at work. “ I have been eating a lot of noodles with chopsticks,” he jokes. “ I think I am getting the hang of it. I am a little concerned about eating food I do not know such as raw fish as I have never tried sushi so I am going to the Jamboree as a vegetarian. I have also been practicing a few words in Japanese so I can say hello and thank you and obviously I know the theme word wa. As part of the peace celebrations we need to fold 1000 paper cranes as it would bring us good luck. Origami is a big part of the Japanese culture and we have been watching video’s online and trying to fold them. It is not easy at all!”
Claude’s participation to the jamboree is testament of how Scouting parents have been a friend to all and a brother to a fellow Scout. In order for Claude to go on the 23WSJ funds needed to be raised. His Scout Troop organised a number of fundraising activities including a karaoke evening. The outstanding amount was raised through donations made by Scouting parents who wanted to give him this opportunity. “I am very grateful to all the people that donated towards my trip”, says a humbled and appreciative Claude. “I hope that when I am back I will be told who you are and I can shake your hand and thank you for giving me my dream. I always wanted to travel and now I get to do that in this way. My goal is to come back and teach my peers in my Scout Group the skills I learnt in Japan. Then I want to inspire youth in my community to reach for their dreams and to join the Scouting Movement. The sponsors made my dream happen and I want to honour them by giving back to others too.”