Scouting, a true Southey family tradition

Written by Maria Southey, SSA Youth Influencer

I recently joined our National Youth Influencer team and today, on #InternationalDayofFamilies, I would like to share how Scouting has become a tradition in my family!

It all started with Don and Brian Southey, both Don and Brian joined the Cubs around 1960-1963. The brothers were part of the Greyville Scout Group, which was known as the 7th Durban Scouts back in the day. Later they joined the St Mary Anglican Church which we believe was a Sea Scout Group. Don shared that he and Brian would go down to the bay and canoe around for hours! They would canoe to Salisbury Island in the middle of the bay, as well as to Camp Fish Eagle. After a few years both Don and Brian stopped Scouting.

Don’s focus as a young adult was on his love for canoeing. But my grandfather Brian was drawn back into the Scout Movement as the Troop Scouter of the 1st Dundee Scout Group when both his sons were in Cubs and Scouts. It seems that the whole family was included in the Scouting Movement, even my grandmother Jennifer Southey was part of the committee of the Dundee Scouts for more than 12 years! For their excellent service to Scouting and their community, Jennifer and Brian were awarded the ‘Citizens of the Year’ in Dundee. As this family embarked on their journey, they would have never thought that this would become a Southey family tradition.

Both my dad, Greg Southey, and my uncle, Grant Southey, grew up in the KZN Scouting community, going on to earn their Chief Scout and Springbok wards. “Brian and I made sure that the brothers worked hard to achieve their Awards and that they earned them in spite of the fact that their father was the Troop Scouter” explained Jennifer’ “At the time I wasn’t allowed to sign my boys off on any advancement done at home. Brian told the boys to go to a friend’s house and ask their parents to sign their advancement off once it was completed up to standard. Even though Brian was hard on them during their Scouting career, he made sure that the standard was up to his expectations. This made Greg and Grant deserving of their Springbok, knowing that they held the high standards and expectations from their father.” Once receiving the Awards, the family stopped going to Scouts.

However, once a Scout always a Scout! After school, Greg did an apprenticeship at Iscor in Instrumentation and completed his NT5. During this time, he also completed his National Service as all men had to do after school.  While doing his apprenticeship, he returned to Scouting as a Rover with the Northern Natal Rover Crew.  “The Crew was focused on supporting Scout Groups in the area”, adds Greg. “As a Rover I helped at 1st Ladysmith, 3rd Newcastle, 1st Dundee, and 1st Vryheid Scout Groups, and even ran a few District events. In 1992 I also became Troop Scouter at 1st Dundee, my old Troop as they needed someone to run Scouts. Two years later, Iscor retrenched many people, and I became a full-time Youth Pastor in the Nelspruit Methodist Church of SA. It was during my time in the ministry that I met a young Afrikaans Voortrekker lady, who was also part of the Young Adults at church. I was impressed that she was going to hike the Fish River Canyon, and one year later Madeleine and I got married”, he says with a smile. Uncle Grant walked a similar path as his big brother however he studied logistics, worked in Durban, Cape Town and then in 2021 moved to Nelspruit. He is currently the National Director for HAMNET of South Africa.

Madeleine and Greg have 3 children. My brother Bruce has just completed his BSc in Agricultural Science at the University of Pretoria where he is currently a Master’s student majoring in Horticulture focusing on pecan nuts. He was a Scout at the 58th Durban Air Scouts from the age of 12 and earned his Airman’s Cord, Bushman’s Thong, and Springbok Award. Me, Maria, am their second child, and I am currently studying a BEd in Foundation Phase Education through Unisa while working at Durban Girls High School. I also grew up in Scouting and earned my Springbok, despite the COVID-19 pandemic! Since the age of 15 I’ve occasionally helped with the catering for my dad’s Scouting training courses.  Currently, I am an Assistant Den Scouter and recently joined the KZN Youth Influencer team. My younger sister Iolana is currently a Cub at the 58th Durban Air Cub Pack and working on her Leaping Wolf.

And as tradition would have it, my  mom Madeleine is currently the Pack Scouter and my dad Greg has been volunteering with the 58th Durban Air Scout Group for 12 years, first as Assistant Troop Scouter, then Troop Scouter, and currently Scout Group Leader. “Over the years at 58th I obtained my Introduction to Scouting (IAL ), my Warrant, and my Woodbadge. I also completed the Mentor, Tutor, and Assistant Leader Training qualifications”, reminisces Greg. “I can truly say that I have a passion for Scouting and training. There is so much more to learn. You are never too old to learn new things!”

As you can see, Scouting runs in my family – as well as working hard in reaching our goals! Since 1963 the Southey family has been known to always give their time to the Scout Movement and to always put others first before themselves. We are hoping that this very special tradition stays in our family for years to come. Remember, once a Scout, always a Scout!