I learnt to trust, to be bolder and to lead

Pia Ramcharitan joins our SSA Youth Influencer team from the KZN Region. Pia will be sharing community service, environmental conservation, and personal achievements of members from within KZN. If you have implemented a service project or would like to share how Scouting impacted your life, send an email to pr@scouts.org.za.

Here is how Scouting has taught Pia to trust, to be bolder and to lead.

Written by Pia Ramcharitan, SSA Youth Influencer KZN

The wonderful thing about campfires is how it brings everyone together. The bright, warm blaze, the singing and laughing, and the spirit of community. That was one of the first experiences I had in Scouts. I remember being so shy and nervous when I came in.  At a mere age of 7, everything seems larger than you would ever be. As I entered the Surat Hindoo Scout Hall as Cub, I suddenly had a feeling that things were about to change for the better. My Scouting journey had begun.

I learnt the basics of both life and Scouting skills. My first camp was an eye opener to the adventure that awaited me in my future and left me with lifelong memories. I continued in Cubs, working my way to the top with the motivation from my Pack and Leaders, earning me my Leaping Wolf Badge. Hereafter, I advanced up to Scouts.

I was met with a more advanced programme and was given the opportunity to interact with people from different ages and backgrounds. The Scout motto, Law and Promise became not just passages to know, but instead a part of my morals and values, shaping me as a person. Scouting opened my perspective of the world. I learnt the value of teamwork whilst having fun. One of the core memories I made was on an obstacle course on a camp, where we were blind folded and lead through it by a partner. The whole time I was terrified of walking into a hole or straight into a tree, but I had a great partner guiding me through. This taught me how to trust and allowed me to let my guard down with my friends. By learning to trust, my walls lowered, and I became bolder and open to new experiences. With Scouting, I had the opportunity to lead my peers which boosted my confidence levels and encouraged me to learn team management skills.

I saw myself grow and develop character and ambition alike.

Through Scouts, I was able to travel and seek adventure. I had the wonderful opportunity to go to the South African National Jamboree, held in the Free State in 2017. The experience of connecting with people from different backgrounds was phenomenal. I got to try so many new and fun activities whilst learning new skills along the way, such as archery and rafting.

Pia’s first Cub camp

As the years went by, I saw myself grow and develop character and ambition alike. I attended training courses, such as PLTC and PLTU, which helped me build my knowledge and leadership abilities. As an Assistant Patrol Leader, I was able to bring back new ways to improve my Patrol, and better their Scouting journey in turn. This encouraged me to aim for the top award in Scouting – the Springbok badge.

Along this part of my Scouting journey there were many highs and lows. The Springbok path was not an easy one, requiring hard work and dedication. This saw me on another adventure, leading my Patrol and Troop through various activities. I had the opportunity to plan and run my own camp and hike. I was able to do this thanks to the years of experience that I had gained on my path to Springbok. With the Covid pandemic, I saw many challenges that could have delayed my Springbok badge completion. Thanks to a supportive Troop, and all the assistance and guidance given to me by my leaders, I was able to pull myself up and complete my tasks. The tantalising taste of success and the joy of completing these activities was truly rewarding. I enjoyed bonding with my Patrol and experiencing this journey with them.

Today I stand proud at the age of 18, as a Springbok Scout, who has also earned her Bushman’s Thong. This adventure has inspired me to continue to work hard and aim for the best. Scouting has allowed me to blossom into the person I am. It has given me the courage and determination to better myself. Although this chapter has drawn to a close, it is however not the end of my Scouting journey. I look forward to continuing my Scouting path as a SSA influencer, and sharing the many wonderful moments experienced by others on their journey in Scouts. One of the things that I love best about being in Scouts is giving back to the community. By helping others, I have the ability to uplift the community and in our founders words “try to leave the world a little better than when you found it”.