Message from Chief Scout Brendon Hausberger
Every year as the December holidays roll around, there’s something comfortable about repeating the same rituals or traditions that you and your family have shared year after year. Maybe it’s setting up a Christmas tree or a Menorah, perhaps it’s celebrating Bodhi day. For others, it’s just taking the time to be away from work, being with loved ones, and restoring yourselves.
As those who follow the Christian faith will know, according to Luke, before the first Christmas, when the angel appeared to the shepherds he said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”
I suspect this Christmas many of us desperately need good news that brings great joy. I wish I could tell you the pandemic was all over and that 2022 will be a year of success and recovery, but I am a Scout and I won’t mislead you like that.
We have had another year of Covid pandemic, with all the lockdown and challenges it brought. We have lost friends, parents, brother and sister Scouts. Some of us lost our work or income, or our homes, or have depleted our savings and look forward with a sense of dread. For those lucky enough to continue to work, we have had to work remotely and interact with our fellow leaders, Rovers, Scouts, Cubs, and Meerkats via zoom, teams, and a hundred other virtual means. Just as we saw the end of the tunnel, a new variant was identified, with all the uncertainty that has brought.
This reminds me of the lyrics of the Andra Day song” rise up”
“You’re broken down and tired of living life on a merry go round, and you can’t find the fighter, but I see it in you so we gonna walk it out, and move mountains.
And moving mountains is something that all of you have done over the past year in some form or shape. So, I want to celebrate you! You are here today because despite those challenges, despite those obstacles, you put one foot in front of the other. You faced up to every morning and found a way to cope, to carry on, to overcome. You proved yourself to be better than the challenge, and that is good news!
You continued to make a difference in the lives of the young people you served. Badges were earned, Leaping Wolf, Springbok, and BP Awards were achieved. Many of you were recognised for your volunteer service.
You brought a view of the outside world that was bigger than the four walls people were living in, at a time when they desperately needed to see more. And as restrictions eased, you created opportunities for them to get out there and put the “out” back in Scouting.
So, while we all acknowledge the challenge of the year past, let’s begin to imagine our new adventures for the year ahead. Be inspired to set new goals and seek ways to stretch and strengthen your abilities. Look around you for glimpses of greatness, and imagine ways we as a Scouting family can ascend to heights we never considered before.
Let’s stand together to uphold our treasured traditions and reaffirm the values that have made Scouting the great youth movement that it is, whilst also looking ahead and transforming and positioning our organization to ensure we remain meaningful to our members and society at large.
Next year we will continue to embrace the vision of World Scouting’s Messengers of Peace and Sustainable Development Goals initiatives, which encourages Scouts to engage in acts of community service as global peace-building and sustainability activities.
Our youth deserve nothing less than our best. You have always given it and your commitment to them is unwavering, and for that, we thank you.
Without your continuous efforts and diligence to provide the very best meetings, activities, and events we would not be the force for positive change in South Africa that we are. We also thank your families for giving you the time to serve Scouting. Your time, your dedication, and your caring spirit is what makes Scouting great.
So if you have reached the end of the year and wonder what it is that you have achieved… remember that you “rose up and moved mountains”. You prepared youth to follow their dreams and along their journey to create a better world. You inspired your peers to take one step at a time and to never give up.
My sincerest best wishes to you all for a happy, healthy, and restful holiday. May this season bring you the blessings of your traditions, restore your soul, and prepare you for a better year ahead.