Scouting in Schools volunteers welcomed back from USA trip by Minister Marais
Fourteen young Scout leaders who recently returned from working at summer camps in the USA met the Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais, this week to share their experiences.
Before being selected to work in the USA, all 14 had been volunteers in the 2018 “Scouting in Schools” programme, which offers scouting to disadvantaged learners in Western Cape schools. This programme is run in partnership with the After School Programme.
“The US kids were all very friendly and interested in Africa. While they were advanced educationally, many did not have some basic life skills, like how to light a match or ride a skateboard,” said Aslam Smith, who said that his experience as a volunteer in local schools gave him the skills to cope as a camp counsellor.
A number of volunteers learnt new sports skills, including Buhle Ndlcini who excitedly explained that he had learnt how to tie zip lines and set up climbing ropes.
Paddy Milner, the Scouts Western Cape Regional Commissioner, said the 14 camp counsellors had to first go through a local application process then have international interviews via Skype.
“I’m very proud of them. It has been wonderful to see how they have grown since they first entered the Scouting in Schools programme as unemployed youth with no experience,” said Milner.
None of the 14 had ever been on an international flight or imagined that they would find their way to the USA. Ahmad Solomon, who heads the Scouting in Schools, said he had shown the volunteers the door but they had entered.
“You are now role models. America is now possible to your communities because you have been there. Do your best and be your best because there are young people looking up to you,” said Solomon.
“You are my heroes,” said Minister Marais. “Thank you for teaching them our South African heart-beat.