Ms Crystal Abdoll joined the Governing Board of SCOUTS SA in 2019. We touched base with her to find out what motivated her to join our Board and whether her perception of the Scout Movement has since changed.
“When deciding to take a seat on the Scout Board it was the SCOUTS SA Vision to create a better South Africa that was the determining factor”, explains Crystal. “I wanted to be part of an organisation whose vision and mission are to ultimately serve the greater good of South Africa by providing opportunities to young people.”
“Unfortunately I was never personally involved in Scouting or guiding as a youth. However, my younger brother was a Cub in the eighties and later became a Scout at the Northpine branch in Cape Town. At the time I envied his weekly meetings and later the camps he attended because he always came home with new insights and new activities he had participated in”, she ponders with a smile.
“I am of the opinion that Scouting has an important role to play in South Africa but especially in the lives of young people as articulated in its vision. While South Africa has numerous positive attributes like innovation and creativity; many parts of our society experience social ills like violence, substance abuse, lack of respect for life, authority and the environment, entitlement and an acceptance of mediocrity. The Scout Movement offers young people the opportunity of exposure to good role models in a safe and secure environment. The various programmes offered by SCOUTS SA instill discipline, confidence, compassion and courage in the young people who participate, while at the same time allows them to have lots of fun. I’m also thrilled that females are now also participating”, she adds.
I have been so humbled and impressed by the commitment and passion of the Scouts leadership and volunteers.
Since joining the Scout Board Crystal has gained more insight into how and why our programmes are run. “I have been so humbled and impressed by the commitment and passion of the Scouts leadership and volunteers. The creation and facilitation of programmes for our boys and girls often entail that leaders are away from their families, a significant sacrifice considering the pressurised environments we operate in.”
Crystal herself has experience in raising a family, volunteering and building a successful career. Crystal was the Group Executive: Shared Services (designated CFO) at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and was previously the Chief Audit Executive (CAE) at PetroSA. She is also a Specialist Audit Committee member at the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries and a director at the South African Gas Development Company and Republic of Mozambique Pipeline Investments Company (Pty) Ltd.
The primary role of the Scout Governing Board is to oversee the governance of the Scout Movement in Scout Africa and to ensure that we meet our defined objectives which are aligned with our Constitution. Crystal has a thorough understanding of good governance, its benefits and the critical role it plays in driving an organisation’s performance in a sustainable manner.
“I think of good governance as the good practices and manners that underpin how we participate in, manage and run our various initiatives and programmes at the Scouts. It determines how we engage with each other, use both organisational and natural resources, how we lead and how we hold each other accountable to our principles. Good governance is an important ingredient to achieve our vision and is therefore a non-negotiable”, she states. “As a Board member my aim is to contribute to the growth and sustainability of SCOUTS SA and in the short-term to formalise risk management policies and practices in order to ensure that we achieve our strategic objectives and create a better South Africa.“
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