It’s a beautiful sunny afternoon and we are welcomed by sounds of joy and excitement as the Cubs and Scouts at Thembani Primary School in Langa get ready for their weekly Scouting experience. The accompanying teachers welcome us with big smiles and the Scouting activities commence.
In order to understand how the Scouting-in-Schools (SiS) programme makes a difference in the lives of the Thembani learners, I sat down under a tree with Grade 7 learner Sibulele Peter (13). Sibulele lives in the vicinity of the school and joined the SiS programme earlier this year. “My friends told me about Scouting and said to me that it can turn my life around and help me fulfill my dream. That dream is to be a psychologist one day!” she says confidently. “I’ve seen people in my community suffer from depression and wanting to kill themselves. I want people to be happy and live normal lives so I am going to be a psychologist and help them.” However, before she joined Scouting she wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to follow her dreams.
“I never thought that my dream would be possible because I have always been a very shy person. Scouting was really a turning point in my life. In Scouting I am free to be who I am, there are no bounds holding me back. I have become bolder and I use my Scout values to speak up when I am being treated unfairly. Scouting has really helped me gain courage. That is also why I am going to be a Scouter too. Being in Scouts has been so memorable and a truly exciting experience. I want our future generation to experience this too”, she says happily.
“I have two favourite Scout Laws, namely number 7 and number 10. Scout Law number 7 says that “a Scout obeys orders”. In my community most people go astray when they do things they shouldn’t. If they would obey orders there would be no teen pregnancies, no smoking or drug abuse. Law 7 allows you to obey orders and become the best you can be! Scout Law number 10 says that “a Scout is clean in thought, word and deed”. I see that often when people are in Scouts they are clean and do good things. But then when they are out of Scouting they don’t always live accordingly. I wish they would stay true to the tenth Scout law so we could all live happily together.”
Sibulele and her fellow Scouts recently attended an environmental education camp at the Scout Adventure Centre Hawequas in Wellington. “It was really beautiful but also very cold,” she quips. “I learnt to build a tent, make a fire and cook our own food. We worked in teams which for me felt really good! I have always had to do things on my own. I don’t usually ask for help. So working together as a team was a lot of fun! At the camp fire we sang songs and danced!”
Scouting is her weekly outlet to just be a kid. “I am in grade 7, which means that I am a senior here at Thembani. We are expected to behave grown up and lead by example. I am proud to do so, but sometimes I just want to be a kid. In Scouting we can be children and play and have fun. When we grow up life will be hard. Scouting allows us to be free while we are young, it helps us to become better people and gives us hope that we can achieve more in life.”
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