Written by Madita Bϋnnecke
With the Rover Centenary in full swing we spoke to NRAC Chairperson Ubayd Ali Bapoo. Ubayd is also a Crew member of the Constantiaberg Rover Crew in Cape Town. Ubayd is a fan of technology, innovation, programming, coffee, entrepreneurship and “of course Scouting”, he says with a smile.
“If I remember correctly, I joined the Scouting Movement in 2002. Some of my best memories have come from the 16 years I’ve been involved in Scouting”, Ubayd says. During that time he gained his Springbok and President’s Award. In the last 8 years he has been involved in Rovering and there he obtained his BP Award, the top award for Rovers.
At the beginning it was the excitement of something new and challenging that kept him in Scouting, but the friends and memories were the main reason he stayed in the Movement for all those years. Ubayd doesn’t only enjoy the activities that Rovering brings, he also serves in a lot of different positions within Rovering. This requires a lot of proper planning, budgeting and most importantly working in teams which involves adherence to deadlines and negotiations. “This is what you learn while working with Rovers,” he explains. “I have started a small online platform using my skills as a computer scientist and the skills I acquired through Rovering. Being part of the Rovers gave me the courage to start the platform.”
“Rovering is so important to me because it keeps me involved in the Movement even though I am busy as an adult, both in my studies and job. It keeps me active and continues to be my “non-formal education. We, as a Crew are getting our first Gold Star. This means that all the work we’ve put into growing the Crew and developing ourselves as individuals has been worth it”, Ubayd says proudly.
Scouting gave him opportunities at a young age, from which he thinks all our youth is able to benefit. With a few parents, Scouters and Rovers Ubayd also started the 1st Belvedere Scout Group in Cape Town.
One of his best experiences with the Rovers was attending the Rover Moot in Iceland last year. “Meeting new people and experiencing it with amazing fellow South Africans made it very special. I was also able to travel the country because of Rovering, which I really loved. Rovering gives me the confidence to try new things”, Ubayd says.
Rovering has also been a challenge. “To start a Rover Crew from nothing was a lot of hard work, but it was worth it. I can see how much impact the Rover Crew had in the community and on every individual in the Crew”, he says. ” We planned competitions and events for Cubs and Scouts, for example. Every project our Crew took part in had an impact. Sometimes it was a small one, sometimes it was a big one, but we always made a difference.”
“Personally, I have been involved in many projects, including painting, fixing halls and areas, as well as helping out at sandwich drives to assist schools with activities for kids”, he explains. “Rovering is something worth getting involved in. We want to do a lot of activities and post them online to tell people we are still out there and are influencing people’s lives. I think Rovering is simply amazing“, Ubayd concludes.