In March 2017 we welcomed William ‘Bill’ Sewell back to our Scouting family. Bill not only returned to the Movement he has held dear since he was a young lad, but he has taken on the role of Alumni Network Committee Chair.
Bill – or Rann (eagle) – as he was known in the Scouting ranks, was born in Pretoria and joined the Scouting Movement in Durban in 1950, when he was 9 years old. Looking to make new friends and for some adventure he started as a Cub with 41st Durban (Wesley Hall) Cub Pack, then when his folks moved to Durban North some years later, he transferred to the 1st Durban North Scout Troop, where he gained practical leadership experience, as the Patrol Leader of the Lion patrol and after achieving his first class and turning 18, he became a Rover and the Troop Scouter. When he moved from Kwa-Zulu Natal to the Western Cape he took on the roles of District and later Regional Commissioner as well as assisted with adult training. “As a Scout I really enjoyed the hikes in the bundu and sitting around a camp fire singing songs. As a Scouter, it was very rewarding to be able to volunteer at the Patrol Leader Training Camps. Another highlight is definitely the Norjam 1975 where I expanded my horizons not only internationally but also within South Africa. As per the political situation of the time, there were four Scout Associations. For Norjam in 1975, we all travelled together as one contingent and it was a very liberating and culturally enriching experience”, he says with a smile.
Scouting gave Bill self-confidence and the ability to work well in a team. Characteristics which have helped him in his professional career. Bill graduated in Durban at the Teachers College, at UCT, Unisa and obtained his PhD through UJ in Public Management and Governance. He started his career in education as a High School educator, then held the position of business trainer and manager and then started his own firm as a performance improvement consultant. “Scouting taught me to do my best and to be prepared. This helped me as a Group Training Manager and General Manager for major retails companies as well as in obtaining my PhD in Public Governance”, he says.
Bill has volunteered his expertise over the years to a number of civic society organisations. “Volunteering enables one to plough back experience and know-how, where needed.” When asked about the importance of Scouting in today’s society he replies “Selfless leadership, mutual respect and “a friend to all” are vital for building our South African society.
After a hiatus Bill is back and we are excited to see what the future of our Alumni Network holds. As the chairman of the alumni committee he hopes to help build a national team of Scouting support activists. “Alumni Network members should expect to experience Friendship, Fun and Future – focus for Scouting SA. SSA members can learn from alumni achievements and errors. That will help today’s members build their futures, with competence and confidence.” When asked to give SSA members advice about their Scouting journey he smiles and says “Build your life skills – and help others build theirs!”