My journey of growth and adventure

Mpumalanga youth Zwelithini Mkhabela shares his Scout adventure. His story is one of profound connections,  realising his potential and lots of fun.

“My remarkable journey started many years ago”, says Zwelithini with a smile. “I can still clearly recall the bright day in 2012 after the last Friday class, when I joyfully entered the Mjokwane Scout Group. My emotions were a mix of enthusiasm and curiosity. I had never heard of Scouting before, so I was excited to experience the adventures it promised. The early years were a mixture of excitement and worry, from my first camping trip to obtaining crucial survival skills. But what instantly made me feel at home was the warmth of my fellow Scouts and the constant direction of our Scout masters.

As the years went by, I noticed that I was growing really connected to Scouting. The explanation was straightforward but profound. I connected personally with the Scouting organization’s values and principles. I felt inspired to stretch my boundaries and realize my potential because of the focus on teamwork, leadership and personal development. The friendships I made over those years are some of the strongest connections I’ve ever had, built on our shared commitment to having a positive influence on our community and on our shared experiences.

I felt inspired to stretch my boundaries and realise my potential

There are many favourite moments, but the 2016 closing camp, which took place right before many of us started our college journeys, stands out as one of my favorite memories! It was a bittersweet time since we knew we were about to embark on a new stage of life while also realising that the knowledge and experiences we had gained through Scouting would remain with us always. Friendships that survived the test of time, were established during those nights spent around the campfire, telling stories and laughing.

But as life took its course, Scouting was put on hold while I prioritised my schoolwork and university life. Not until lately did I sense the call to Scouting once more. I rejoined my Scout Group, this time taking up the position of  Development Officer, drawn by the chance to make a difference. Reuniting with a part of myself that had been inactive for much too long gave me the feeling of returning home.

Reuniting with a part of myself that had been inactive felt like returning home

Looking back, I can say with confidence that Scouting has significantly changed my life in ways I never could have anticipated. The abilities I constructed, such as first aid and problem-solving, have been extremely helpful not only in Scouting but also in my academic work and personal life. More importantly, Scouting gave me a strong feeling of accountability to my town and the rest of the world. The different volunteer activities we conducted helped me realize how important it is to help others and promote change.

Scouting has been a pillar in my life from the moment I took my first pledge, through the difficulties I overcame, to the relationships I formed. It fostered in me a passion for exploration, a dedication to personal growth and a profound appreciation for the wonders of nature. As I continue this journey, I am grateful for the knowledge gained, the experiences created and all the opportunities that Scouting has provided for me.”