It’s a Saturday morning, Scouts are running from one base to the next at a Scouting in Schools (SIS) camp at the Gilray campsite.
As I walk around the camp I see a familiar face running a base where the teens are learning how to use an axe safely.
Siphosethu “Sethu” Chithiyeza, 19, joined the 3rd Gugulethu Scout Group as a child and is now running a Scout Group as an intern with the SIS programme.
“My grandfather was in the military when he was younger and wanted me to join the scouts to learn more discipline and skills. Every time I came home from scouting he would ask ‘What did you learn?’, and I would have to show him some of the things I learnt. It was really nice to be able to show him,” says Sethu.
“I am now 19 and can’t be a scout anymore. So, I joined the SIS programme for a year to get more skills and to learn how to develop skills in younger children.
“When I attended the training courses I was so inspired. I now want to inspire others,” he says.
“If you plant the seed of discipline at a young age, you can build the future generation. When people are older it’s too late to engage or change them.”
I believe the SIS programme is important in my community because there is a lot of violence in Gugulethu. Children hang around outside after school and see what others do. They start to think that violence and crime is okay. When scouts get together they are safe and with fresh minds get to do lots of activities.
“Sometimes when I get to a camp and look around, I only see a few resources. I wonder how our SIS manager Ahmad Solomons will be able to get things done. But he always smiles and makes it work. I am inspired by him not to give up, to do my best and to use my skills. If we do that together, we can make things happen.”
Sethu also volunteers at the 1st Ikwezi Scout Group and is very proud that his younger sister will soon be invested and get the opportunity to learn and explore the outdoors too.
“Hey, Sekaya! That is what people in my neighbourhood shout when they see me walking to scouts. ‘Sekaya’, which in my language means hope, is the name people use when calling scouts. That makes me feel proud.”
Jason Faro is an intern at Scout South Africa and involved with the schools programme.