I met with Robyn Wolstenholme at SCOUTS South Africa’s Appleton campsite where she is currently one of the wardens. With the ocean as our backdrop, we spoke about an adventurous life in Scouting that has opened doors for her in many ways.
“I joined the Scout Movement as a Cub in 2011 at 1st Randburg Scouts in Johannesburg. I was only a Scout for about a year before we moved to the Western Cape, but I remember one of our First Aid roleplays very clearly! We did a scene where somebody was robbed and needed help. It was done so well that till this day it still feels real – even though it was completely enacted”, she laughs.
“I joined 1st Gordon’s Bay Sea Scouts in 2014 and remained there until I turned 18. One of my favourite Scouting memories is the Cederberg Senior Scout Adventure”, continues Robyn with excitement. “It was so much fun! You get to do things you would normally never do out there in the Cederberg. We got to navigate the route on our own as a Patrol and improvise when situations arose. One of my friends got a blister, so we wrapped duct tape around it and forged on. I was also able to paraglide for the first time that year!
In Scouting people are different. They have a different mindset. We function as a team and are shown by our Scouters and Patrol Leaders how to lead correctly and effectively. Yes, we make mistakes, but Scouting is a safe place to make errors and learn from them. Both for youth members and for Scouters.
This is one of the reasons why I decided to stay on as an adult volunteer with 1st Gordons Bay until 2021. Currently I am an ATS with 1st Somerset West. I stayed in the moment as a volunteer because I wanted to get to a level where I could also help a child develop. I wanted to pay forward the knowledge I was given by older Scouts and volunteers, as well as the tips and tricks of the Scouting trade so to speak. Scouting is about the experience, and I wanted to be part of that for someone else. I remember seeing my Scouts going to PLTU. Watching them grow and seeing them change was a proud moment”, she adds.
Robyn’s journey of personal growth through Scouting didn’t end there. “I joined Rovering as that gave me the opportunity to set goals for myself as a young adult. We didn’t have a Rover Crew in the Helderberg, so together with our Rover Scouter Gavin and Scouts from around the District, we established one, and I was elected Chair. It’s great to see Rovering happen in our area now too. The renovation of the bunkhouse of the Appleton Scout Campsite on Signal Hill is my Squire Challenge. This ties in with my current duties as one of the wardens here. Four of us have been appointed to renovate and clean up the campsite so more training, activities and camps can take place here. It has been a lot of hard work, but when Scouts come and camp here and notice the changes, it is really rewarding. I hope that once we have completed what we are setting out to do that Appleton will be a functional and great place to come to for Scouts from around the region, and the country.”
So, what’s next for Robyn? “I am fortunate that I can combine my duties at Appleton with my studies. I am re-writing a few subjects as I aim to study Conservation Ecology at Stellenbosch University next year. I’m also working on my Rover advancements and continue to enjoy the beauty of the Cape area whilst exposing children to it too.”