The secret of getting ahead, is getting started

Written by Amra Faye Greenan,
Supplied by Thozamile Dingaan, SSA Youth Influencer Northern Cape

15 year old Amra Faye Greenan is a Scout with the Gladstone 4th RLY Troop in Kimberley in the Northern Cape. She has been in the Movement for 5 years and shared her Scouting journey with us in the hope to inspire others to follow suit.

When I started my Scouting journey I knew that I would learn a lot of different things, for example, knots, map work etc. I was only 10 years old when I started my journey but I was already too old to be a Cub. It was a very fun experience to get to know new people. On the 9th of June 2017 I was invested and was finally able to wear my uniform for the very first time. In Scouts there is an annual Battered Boot Night Hike.  It is a competition where Gladstone, and many other Troops, compete for the Battered Boot. We hike from 18h00 the night until 06h00 the next morning, while hiking you have a PL (Patrol Leader) and second Patrol Leader. They are the ones leading you in the direction the compass leads them. While hiking you have no communication with anyone besides the Patrol you walking with. You should know your map work very well and make sure that you and your Patrol are safe at all times. The boot comes a very long way. If you Google you will see that Scouts has come a very long way too. Gladstone’s Scout’s colours are green and gold. I am the current Patrol Leader of the Swifts Patrol.

I am currently busy with my First Class and it is the second highest advancement you can achieve in Scouts. I have had so many challenges while completing the other advancements, such as injuries, weather conditions and getting lost. In 2018 I took part in the Battered Boot Night Hike once again and my Patrol Leader at the time was very ill while hiking. So, our Patrol took the decision to drop out. It was still a very fun experience. I am actually very privileged to be able to be part of the Troop.  I am able to learn a lot of new things while keeping busy with Interest badges. I have 37 Interest badges on my right sleeve. Some of these include Swimmer, Horseman, Campfire leader, Sportsman, First Aid and many more. My Swimmer was the very first badge I achieved when I started my Scouting journey. I really enjoy doing all the different challenges SCOUTS SA sets out for us. The most challenging badge to achieve was my Backwoodsman. I finally received this badge in 2021.  In 2018, I achieved the most improved Scout of the year award.  I really wasn’t expecting it. In 2019 I received the best attendance of the year as I never missed a single Friday night session.

Setting a goal and achieving it, is one of the best feelings in the world.

On receiving the huge amount of Interest badges I have been rewarded the Bushman’s Thong. It is a cord that gets worn once you receive 21 badges or more, because I have received 37 badges I have 3 thongs on my shirt. The next one I will be working on is the Service cord.  I also achieved my Diversity Awareness badge and was the first Scout to receive it in Gladstone. It was a lot of work but I pushed through and achieved it with a smile on my face. I am currently busy with my SDG challenges (sustainable development goals), my Silver President Award, as well my MOP (Messenger of Peace) badge. It has been challenging because of all the Covid 19 regulations but we will always smile and take advantage of every opportunity we get to be able to do something for the community. When I am done with my First Class I will be moving on to the highest advancement a Scout can get, being the Springbok Award. It is a very challenging one as only 1% of Scouts achieve it. You have do a 40km hike, plan and run a 3 day and 2 night camp, and these are only a few of the required tasks.  This all has to be completed and achieved by the time I turn 18.

I recently as well handed in my POE (portfolio of evidence) for the Plastic Tide Turners Challenge. This badge is about learning what plastic pollution does to the Earth, land and water/sea. We did a lot of fun activities such as, made a broom out of old plastic cool drink bottles, we went on a cleaning spree in my neighbourhood and collected a huge amount of black bags full of trash.  I am still collecting rubbish as the days goes by, as it is an on-going thing.  I am still busy with the board for our pledge and the logo of the challenge. We are making the logo out of bottle tops and have been busy with it since we started. I can say we almost finished with it and will be donating it to the Gladstone Scout hall. I learnt how long it takes for certain items that we throw away to decompose in the water or on the land. For example, a disposable nappy takes about 450 years to disintegrate and a Styrofoam cup or plate takes 50 years. I learnt that my bad habits are actually not a good thing at all and it is destroying our land, seas and the air we breathe.  I have pledged to try my utmost best to stop these habits or to change my ways. I will continue to try to help other people do so as well, by encouraging them to do it too.

Being part of the Troop is really a fun experience and a once in a life time opportunity. What Scouts has taught me so far is that you need set your goals for yourself and work your way to them. Never let anyone or anything stop you from getting what you want to achieve in life. Setting a goal and achieving it is one of the best feelings in the world. I would say I really wouldn’t let anyone take this opportunity away from me as it is a once in a life time and it is really lots of fun. Once you start something don’t ever turn back because you will regret everything about your decision. Get the right mind-set and you will see how much you will and can achieve. Like Mark Twain once said: “the secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Start accomplishing your dreams and your dreams will open each and every door for you. I read a quote that goes as follows “you can either experience the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.” Never give up because once you give up, your chance is gone.

#scoutssouthafrica #tideturnersplasticchallenge #PromiseToThePlanet #Scouts4SDGs #girlchild