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Scout Camp Mangwele

April 21, 2013

First of all, a big thanks to those who donated for the camp. Everyone who attended has been telling me, and I can see for myself, that the camping experience really invigorated the troops that attended. Just as one example of what I mean, the last meeting for my Troop was planned and conducted by the Scouts without my help. I’ll attempt now to give a brief rundown of what happened at the camp.

But first, let me say what happened leading up to it. The goal as I envisioned it was to advance Scouts to the next rank beyond basic membership. This would give tangible growth to the Troops and it would put the Scouts in a better position to lead, because the requirements for future ranks involve planning things for the younger Scouts. The requirements for the Pathfinder rank are here, and it’s kind of a lot. So how were we to cover so much content in four days? Easy. We get the kids to do it.

Children in South Africa are used to being put to work. As a general rule, adults in South Africa don’t carry things. You just send a child to fetch or deliver whatever you want. Or for miscellaneous labor, it’s always children doing it. At my primary school, the children are responsible for sweeping their classrooms and polishing the floor and trimming the hedges. This is maybe the one aspect of the South African education system I’d like to see implemented in the US, except for the part where it’s usually divided by gender roles, with the girls sweeping and the boys hoeing for weeds. I mention this because there’s correlation, if not causation, with the fact that children in South Africa are very often harder-working and more reliable and more competent than the adults. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. If these kids are the future of South Africa, the future might be okay.

But anyone can sweep. The task we gave them at the camp was something not every child gets: we wanted them to lead. There were 6 Troops attending, and 6 aspects of the Pathfinder rank we wanted to cover, so what we decided is that every Troop would take a part and master it, and then at the camp they would be responsible for teaching all the other Scouts what they’ve mastered. The scouts in my Troop had the assignment of preparing everyone for a 10km hike. Rather than just being an attendee, every Scout would be responsible for making the camp what it is.

My time at this Internet cafe’s almost up so I’m going to cut this post short here. I’ll write about what happened at the camp, I promise. Maybe.


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  1. Scout Camped | Elsewhere on the Pale Blue Dot

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