Written by Jana Lorenz
Lingelethu Doctor Hlelani started his Scouting career in 1999 when he joined the 1st ACC Scout Group. In 2000 his Scout Group closed down, but 3 years later he returned and joined the 2nd Embonisweni Primary School Group. He has had many roles in Scouting ranging from Patrol Leader in the Zebra Patrol, to junior Assistant Troop Scouter and Chairperson of the 1st Motho ka Motho Court of Honour. He also received his Wood Badge and opened his own Scout Group, 1st Ed-U College.
Doctor is very passionate about Scouting which allows him to embrace his love for travelling and adventure. “Scouting played a major role in my life. Today, I am a responsible man and the leadership skills I possess, I got through Scouting. Because of the Scout Promise and Laws, I am able to make the right decisions.”
“When I am in Scouting, I feel free from everything. I am inspired to always want to KNOW. I learnt so many things when I was a young Scout i.e. mapping skills, First Aid, how to cook and most of what I know today. Also, being a Scout has kept me out of trouble in my community which faces a lot of problems with gangs.”
One of Doctor’s favourite memories is helping one of his Scouts achieve a top award. “We visited a care home called ‘Morning Star where we got the opportunity to give back to the community and to play and show the kids Scouting activities. We did pioneering games with them. It felt so good to see kids out of Scouting enjoying our methods!” he reminisces.
In 2015 Doctor decided to take on another role within the Scout Movement, that of Regional Commissioner of the Free State. “It was a new thing for me to lead Scouters older than me. A lot of work was always sent to me. Everyone wanted the RC to do everything. It was a challenge but I was fortunate to have a good mentor, Mr Mgaga, on my side. He has really helped me to improve my leadership skills. Firstly, we invited all Scouters to attend a workshop where we presented all the positions we have in our Region. This helped them all to get a clear image of what is expected from the Regional Commissioner, the District Commissioners and the Scouters. Now, our Scouters follow the right procedures before coming to me as a Regional Commissioner. I’m very grateful to all the adult volunteers in my Region and Mr Mgaga as we now work as a Regional Patrol.” he says with a smile.
In the future, Doctor wants to have more top awards and First Class Scouts in his Region. “I would like to have one event whereby all Free State Scouts come together so we can meet and I can involve our youth more in making decisions.” he says. He also plans to recruit more adult volunteers and kids. “Even though SCOUTS South Africa is a youth organisation, adult volunteers are really important. Without adults in such organizations, there would be no proper management and leadership. Adults also act and encourage children as mentors.”
Doctor is now a parent himself. Because Scouting had such a big and good influence on his life, his daughter is now a member of the Movement too. “She is in Cubs. I want her to get a good start and promote her personal development. Through Cubbing she will learn discipline, leadership, develop her sense of responsibility and learn all about emergency numbers (SOS).”
“All in all Scouting is my life and I am proud to be a member. I want to thank my mentors, especially Ntate Mgaga, Milly Siebrits and Brendon Hausberger for believing in me. God bless! Also thank you to the Scouting Movement! One Love! One World! One Promise!”