– Chief Commissioner
There is no doubt that parents value what Scouting does for their children. In an independent survey, parents of Scouts said the pursuit is worthwhile for their children’s positive development.
They opined that their children have more confidence, learn the importance of responsibility, have a wider cross-section of friends, and have a chance to pursue things they might not get to do otherwise, such as an adventure.
Guyana will be sending six Scouts (Explorers and Venturers) to the 22nd World Scout Jamboree in Sweden from July 27 – August 9. There will be four Commissioners who will attend the Caribbean Chief Commissioners Conference in Trinidad & Tobago from Sept. 1-3.
The six scouts are; Joshua Ramcharitar of Queen’s College; Patrick Fung, Harvest Alexander, Aslam Hussain and Joshua Cholmondeley, all of St Stanislaus and Levi Deo of Brickdam Cathedral Scout Group.
These youths all testify that scouting has taught them discipline while educating them and developing their personalities amongst other positive benefits.
Chief Commissioner of the Scout Association of Guyana (SAG), Zaida Joaquin, said scouting started in British Guiana in 1909, two years after it was founded in England by Sir Robert Baden-Powell. Guyana was the first country in the Caribbean where scouting was established, and the second in South America. The initial Scout Group was founded at Queen’s College, by Sgt Major George Manley, a member of a British regiment stationed here.
Joaquin noted that scouting, also known as the Scout Movement, is a worldwide youth association, with the stated aim of supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development – that they may play constructive roles in society.
“We are a movement of adults and young people, freely and voluntarily committed to development and to making the world a better place. We are a non-formal educational movement, complementary to the family and school, working towards the holistic development and continuous education of young people,” she added.
The Chief Commissioner further asserted that the movement employs a programme of informal education with an emphasis on practical outdoor activities, including camping, woodcraft, aquatics, hiking, backpacking, and sports. Another widely recognized movement characteristic is the Scout uniform, by intent hiding all differences of social standing in a country, and making for equality.
World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) describes Scouting as “…a voluntary, nonpolitical educational movement for young people, open to all without distinction of origin, race or creed, in accordance with the purpose, principles and method conceived by the Founder…”
The aim of Scouting is to “contribute to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities.”
Chief Commissioner Joaquin explained that as a Scout, youths will learn basic first aid, hike and camp, learn how to live in the outdoors and discover many ways to care for the land. “Youths can cook your meals over a camp stove and identify all kinds of plants and animals that are part of our environment. No matter what happens, you will know how to take care of yourself. You will develop strength, confidence and good judgment. You can also find out how it feels to be a leader. You are exposed to leadership at an early age.”
Adding that the scouting movement worldwide builds positivity in youths, Joaquin said the emphasis on “learning by doing” provides experiences and hands-on orientation as a practical method of learning and building self-confidence. Small groups build unity, camaraderie, and a close-knit fraternal atmosphere. She also noted that these experiences, along with an emphasis on trustworthiness and personal honour, help to develop responsibility, character, self-reliance, self-confidence, reliability, and readiness; which eventually lead to collaboration and leadership.
“Adventure! Fun with a purpose! That’s what Scouting is. It is also the doorway to friendship. Scouting is a world-wide organisation with over 35 million members. Almost anywhere you go, you will find Scouts. Scouting exists in 216 countries in the world. There are only six countries in the world where scouting does not exist,” she related emphatically.
Nationally, over the past year, Scout Groups from around the country were engaged in many activities, including an Art Competition in October, last, a Stove-top Competition in April 2011, and the 85th National Anniversary Cub Camp held at Ft. Wellington Secondary School, West Coast Berbice in May 2011 for the Cubs Scouts (7-11 years).
“There was also a Backwoodsman Competition for the Explorer (11-15 years) and Venturer (15-19 years) Scouts; Clean Up the World in September 2010, where Scouts came out in their numbers to ‘Clean up our Seawalls’ and the 101st National Anniversary Camp for the Explorer and Venturer Scouts in November 2010 at the Scout Headquarters and recently completed National Pioneering Competition, our next expected and most anticipated activity on the Explorer and Venturer Scout Programme is the National Expedition, whereby the Scout will go hiking and doing activities along the way; this is set to take place over the weekend of July 8 -10, 2011,” Joaquin informed.
Among all the fun, there was some training both for the youths and for the adult leaders. Training for the youths included the National Patrol Leader Training for the Explorer Scouts, while simultaneously there was a Sixer Training for the Cub Scouts in 2010.
On the international level, there were three Leaders who attended the Regional Communications Seminar in Paramaribo, Suriname in April 2010. A contingent of 10 Cub Scouts and 2 Leaders attended the 12th Caribbean Cuboree in Curacao in July 2010.
The Chief Commissioner attended the 24th Inter-American Scout Conference held in Panama in August 2010. Also, she and the District Commissioner, Domonique Van Sluytman, attended the 39th World Scout Conference in Curitiba, Brazil in January, 2011. (Rabindra Rooplall)
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