The Midrand Meerkats are here!

Written by Megan Evans, SSA Youth Influencer Gauteng

Earlier this month the 1st Midrand Meerkat Den invested their first Meerkats! The Meerkats is the youngest Scouting branch and caters for children aged 5 to 6 years old. This Scouting ECD programme allows the children to learn foundational and fundamental life skills and Scouting skills through play and exploration.

The day started with the Meerkat Song, Meerkat Promise, and the long-awaited investiture of five-year old Cassandra.  “I’m very excited to see how these children will grow into Cubs and then Scouts”, says Den Scouter Avesh Sundarlal, formerly the Akela of 1st Midrand Scout Group. “I look forward to the day that I get to bump into one of my past Cubs or Meerkats in 10 years’ time and see how they’ve grown and have them remember me as their Scouter – that’s going to make this all worth it!” A few months ago, Avesh realised the need for a Den in the Group and poured his heart and soul into the establishment of the Den and the Warrant training needed to get it up and running.

“Four years ago, I brought my son to 1st Midrand’s very first Cub meeting, and after many meetings just waiting around as a parent, I finally made the leap to volunteer and become a member of the Movement- and I haven’t slowed down since”, he quips. “I love that we have such a diverse set of personalities within the Den- and as we grow, I think it’s only going to get more interesting, which I am rather excited about!”

Following the Opening Ceremony, the Meerkats then practiced throwing and catching beanbags, sang “Alice the Camel,” and had an absolute blast trying to sculpt a Meerkat out of playdough. Avesh then led an interactive discussion with the avid adventurers on how to distinguish and remember North, South, East and West. They also practiced the correct way to pack a day hiking bag. The Meerkats then excitedly all packed their backpacks and went on a treasure hunt around the Group’s large grounds.

“A while back I was walking in the Mall of Africa with my son and we’d just come from a Scouting event, so we were in full uniform. I’ve become quite accustomed to people recognising the uniform and telling me their favorite Scouting stories, or even enquiring about the Movement. So, when I noticed an elderly woman observe my uniform and suddenly walk straight in my direction, I was ready for any question about Scouts that she was about to ask me. However, when she finally reached us, she exclaimed, “Where is the Checkers?” I was quite taken-aback by her question, but I realized that she associated my uniform and the Scouting Movement as being trustworthy and able to help her – and I was more than happy to help her find her way”, “, he reminisces when asked about a favourite moment being a Scout member.”

With new Meerkat Dens opening around the Region- and country- tomorrow’s leaders are getting the opportunity to express themselves, to learn about the outdoors, develop their personal and interpersonal relationships, and have fun whilst doing so, the future is definitely a bright place!

Listen to what the Meerkats had to say HERE.

The Meerkat Advancement programme entails 3 levels- namely the Bronze, Silver and Gold Star. Each level requires participation in Den outings, earning Challenge badges (e.g. First Aid, Hiking, Gardening, and Keep Fit) and Interest badges, and living by the Meerkat Promise “A Meerkat always Stands Tall”. Once a Meerkat turns 7, then conclude their Meerkat journey with their “Burrowing-Up” ceremony into the next branch of the Scouting Movement, namely Cubs.

To find out more or to sign up email or enquire about a Den near you here:

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