Empowering young boys to be victorious in life

The International Day of the Boy Child

On Sunday 16th May 2021 the Gilwell Scouting Centre in the west of Johannesburg was a hive of activity celebrating the International Day of the Boy Child. The event also marked the first of many activities for the Gauteng DSD Scout Groups, as part of a partnership between the Gauteng Department of Social Development (Boy Child Programme) and SCOUTS South Africa’s Gauteng Scout Region.

The Gauteng DSD Scout Group initiative aims to establish Scout Troops throughout the Region to effect moral regeneration through behavioural change. Scouting has been preparing children and youth to be independent people who are self-fulfilled and confident individuals who play a constructive role in society. The age appropriate experiential learning programmes focus on leadership training, life skills, practical and vocational abilities and personal development.

To kick start the programmes, Scouts and Rovers from the local West Rand Scouting District welcomed 65 boys from the Thuto Lefa Secondary School from Munsieville, Forte Secondary School from Dobsonville and Tshepisong Primary School from Tshepisong. The youths all aged between 12 and 16 got a taste of the “Scout experience”! The Scouts and boys were divided into 8 teams “Scout Patrols”. Each team was given a colour and then they rotated through 8 bases. Activities included map work, outdoor cooking, observation, an obstacle course, a team work activity, a water base, and a guided tour of Gilwell where the purpose of the Scout Promise and Law was highlighted.

Mr Bongani Ngomane, Chief Director in the Gauteng Department of Social Development addressed the youth and guests present, “There are three reasons we are here today. Firstly to celebrate the International Day of the Boy Child, secondly to show the boys here present today that we support them and want them to become victorious in life, and thirdly we want boys at home to know that we see and remember the good that our young boys are doing in the Region and encourage you to continue doing so.”

Mr Bongani Makhaya Deputy Chairperson of the Gauteng Men’s Sector added “In our current society it is important to deal with the issues our men are facing within the Gauteng province. Our focus is to deal with social and behavioural change and work with our adolescent boys and young men. They are our future brothers, husbands and leaders in our country. I myself was a Scout in my youth and the programme moulded me to be the man I am today. I hope the partnership becomes a preventative measure to create brighter futures for our youth.”

“We are excited to partner with the DSD and look forward to welcoming 200 new Scouts to the South African Scout Movement in the coming year”, said Dr Angus Hay, Regional Commissioner for the Gauteng Scout Region. “By joining the Scout Movement these young boys are joining 50 million Scout worldwide, and over half a billion since the inception of the World Scout Movement. For over 112 years Scouting has been shaping and changing lives and I look forward to see our new members present here grow.”

A sentiment that was echoed by Kyle Bevan, a Scout with the 1st Eagles Scout Group “If I had not been a Scout I would not have been as confident as I am today. I would not have been a prefect, I might not have the friends I possess or would not have chosen my career path without the guidance of Scouts in my life. I learnt to lead and to be empowered, to take responsibilities for my mistakes and follow through on decisions and actions. The uniformity that the Scouting brings through its values, programmes, uniforms – be it khaki, navy or the school uniforms with a scarf – covers up all differences in background. No matter who you are, which language you speak or what you believe in, you are a Scout. Scouting helped me find my way,”

During the activities we spoke to a few of the teenagers present, “We learnt to work together as a team and to concentrate when we played the maze game”, said an excited Kamogelo Khalianyane (16). “The obstacle course was the best! I had to really think about where I put my feet”, exclaimed Thato Moseje (16).

“This is a great initiative. It’s the best thing that could happen to the boys in the West Rand, Munsieville specifically. Scouting is the best way to handle our young kids”, concluded Kwame Moroeng, coordinator at Thuta Lefa Secondary School.

For more information about the initiative contact SCOUTS South Africa’s Gauteng Regional Commissioner Dr Angus Hay, angus.hay@scouts.org.za.Photos: Gauteng Regional Team.

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