This month we welcomed another volunteer from Germany to the National SCOUTS South Africa office. Jula Wolf will be here for a year. We sat down with her to find out a bit more about our new Scouting family member.
SSA: Can you please tell us a bit more about yourself?
Jula: My name is Jula Wolf. I am 19 years old and come from Dortmund in Germany. Dortmund is one of the ten biggest cities in Germany and is located in the Ruhr area. It is a huge city known for its technology, service companies and university. It’s also famous for its soccer club BVB.
I have three siblings, Anna (17), Lennart (17) and Jonas (20). My mother, Yvonne, is a social worker and my father, Frank, works for an IT-company. Anna and Lennart still live at home and go to school in Dortmund, while Jonas moved to Mannheim last year to study. Before coming to South Africa I finished school in Dortmund. In my free time I volunteered as a leader for the “Wölflinge” (Cubs) and was a Rover. Actually, all my siblings are Scouts too and I like it! Many Scouts and friends call the four of us “Die Wölfe” which means “the wolves” because our family name is “Wolf”. The Scouting Movement in general feels like a second family to me but to have my “real” siblings there too, makes it even more of a family. Another point is that we could always help and comfort each other at camps if one of us felt homesick. Jonas does a lot of administration for the National and Regional levels of Scouting in Germany, so he knows many people. This is kind of funny because almost everywhere I go they know who I am when I say that I am Jonas’ sister. Outside of Scouting I like to play the guitar and meet my friends. My friends and I often met to go inline skating or swimming. We also liked to play games or go to parties.
SSA: When and why did you join the Scouting Movement?
Jula: I was seven years old when I joined Scouting. A friend of my brother Jonas was a Scout and he took him along one day. Jonas talked so positively about it, so I got curious and asked him to let me go there with him. From the first day on I liked the people there and all the activities and games. In addition they were planning a summer camp which I really wanted to take part in.
SSA: What makes Scouting so special to you?
Jula: Scouting is so special because of the people there. The atmosphere in my Scout Group is like in a family, everybody is nice to each other, the older ones help the smaller ones and we are just a team! But, I’ve experienced that people are not only nice in my own Scout Group, Scouts are nice everywhere. Wherever you are, Scouts welcome you like a sister or brother. I can always feel the connection! I think that is the different to other youth activities. In the Scout Movement everybody is welcome. You do not need a special skill, you just have to give your best and if there is something you are not good at, the other Scouts will help you to learn it.
SSA: You are a Scout leader for “Wölflinge”, children aged 6 -10. What activities do you do with them?
Jula: I love to be a leader for the youngest group, the „Wölflinge“ because the kids are so curious and active. It is so easy to make them happy, just with the little things like playing games, singing songs or exploring new things and places. My favourite activity with the “Wölflinge” is a game called “Capture the flag”. The children love this game and we can play it for hours. I also like to sit with them at the campfire and make stick bread, talk about the day and tell them stories about Scouting.
SSA: You are also a Rover. Can you tell us more about Rovering in Germany?
Jula: The Rovers in Germany are 16 to 21 years old. We meet every Wednesday for two hours. In this time we talk or sometimes we have dinner together, we plan camps or projects on our own, for example the highlight of the year for the Rovers in the region I live in is the annual “Rovercamp” which takes place over a weekend in September. It brings together about 300 Rovers from Dortmund and other neighbouring cities. We have fun together at the camp and participate in workshops. My favourite Rovering adventure was my first camp with the Rovers in the Netherlands in 2016. We went there without a leader and organized everything on our own: the journey, the food, the activities and so on. It was an experience that made me much more independent!
SSA: What made you choose to take time off and volunteer for SCOUTS SA in South Africa?
Jula: As already said, I have been a Scout for so many years and from the beginning it was my absolutely favourite hobby. From time to time it felt like more than just a hobby. It turned into a lifestyle. Before I start university and then a “normal life”, I want to use the chance to learn more about Scouting and to experience it here in South Africa. I have had the opportunity to meet Scouts from other countries at a few of our camps and that was always so interesting to me. I love international meetings, Scouts and adventures! I find South Africa so interesting because I like the nature here and I have already been able to meet SA Scouts at camps in Germany.
SSA: What do you hope to achieve while here?
Jula: I really want to learn more about South Africa and about the Scouts. But I do not only want to learn about it, I want to live it! I want to take part in the way of life here, make new friends and have fun. Of course I also want to improve my English. In the National Scout Office I want to be a help and support them with their projects.
SSA: SCOUTS SA’s motto is to “Be Prepared”… how did you prepare to come here?
Jula: I got in touch with some of the previous volunteers such as Madita, Jana and Christian. They gave me hints on what I should take with me and how to prepare. There were also some preparation seminars organized by the German Scout organisation DPSG. We talked a lot about what it could be like to spend a year in a foreign country and they also helped me find a host family, book a flight and other administrative stuff. When i got my visa I just had to pack my stuff, say goodbye to my family and friends and get on the plane.
SSA: You’ve mentioned that you love playing guitar, spending time with friends and doing good for the environment. Are there any specific activities you would like to explore whilst in SA?
Jula: In general I just want to have fun here, meet Scouts and make friends! I really love travelling. It would be so nice if I can see some parts of South Africa and explore the country a bit. If I get the chance, I would maybe like to try surfing here and I would be interested in seeing the view over Cape Town from Table Mountain.
SSA: Since your arrival you have participated in the Gordon’s Shield competition. What was that like?
Jula: The Gordon’s Shield was so much fun! I met so many nice people and I learned so much about Scouting here in South Africa. It is really different from Germany because we do not have competitions like these. I was also so amazed about how much the Scouts know about mapping and the knots for example. But mostly, I enjoyed meeting so many people. Everybody was so friendly and I felt very welcome. Hopefully I will meet them again!
SSA: Lastly, what is the one thing people should know about you here in SA?
Jula: I really like Scouting but I think here in SA I would be a very bad Scout because I am not good at knots, mapping and all the skills. Scouts, you have my greatest respect and I would really like to learn some skills from you! Another thing people should know about me is that I am a really active person, I like adventures and I always love to do activities or just meet people.
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