It is rewarding to see people gain and grow

As we are celebrating Women’s month we are shining the spotlight on some of our remarkable women in the Scouting Movement. Rochelle Booysen chaired the organisation of the very successful event “Akela 2016”. Let’s find out more about her.

Rochelle joined Cubbing 16 years ago when her eldest son joined 1st Horison on the West Rand. “It is so important and so exciting to teach the little ones the life skills they need to know and when they grow up and you can see that they are fine citizens, with the best leadership skills, then you know you have reaped the rewards and done the best you can do” she says. “If you have had a hard day at work and you go to Cubs on a Friday, and a tiny voice comes shouting from the door of the hall AKELA, I missed you. Well my day is made!”


SSA: We learn in Cubbing to do a good deed and be of service to others as well as to conserve and respect the environment we live in. How important is it to learn this at a young age?
It is vital for the littlies to know what it is like to be treated with respect. Teaching that giving is better than receiving, show love and integrity to our environment. They sometimes teach us as well, when we plan these events for them.

SSA: So Cubbing inspires and helps children grow. What effect does it have on the adults who lead these children?
Well I have always maintained that if it were not for Scouting I would not be where I am today. I was such an introvert, you won’t believe.  But the Training Team and my Mentor showed me that I CAN do it, that nothing is impossible.  I give Scouting a big hoohaa, for my leadership skills that I have gained.  I have even maintained this in my work environment and it has made me a better manager.

How has Cubbing impacted you personally?
I have gained knowledge, skills, stacks of friends, a Scout family, social activities. I am a better person because of Scouts

SSA: As part of the Cub Programme children go camping. Often it is the first time they are away from home and from their parents. This is quite the milestone that they often indicate as being the coolest thing. What is the coolest thing for you as Akela?
Oh I just loved the camps that I ran. Putting the programme together and knowing that the Cubs enjoyed it when they go home and you have a parent send you a photo with their child fast asleep in the car, and seeing the happiness on their faces. Or a parent phoning you and saying all he/she talks about is the camp.

SSA: What makes a good Akela?
Lots of love for children, patience, guiding hand, a good listener and compassion.

SSA: You have been involved in the Movement for many years. What is it about the Scouting Movement that makes us different from other organizations?
It’s the values that we have been taught, our Promise and Law and to know we have to live by it.

SSA: Do you have role models from within Scouting that impacted your life forever? If so can you name one or two and why?
I have 2, one is Jill Dickinson who is my mentor and the other is Jeanette Angus who both inspire me with their spunk. I don’t know how to say it but they just have all the answers, and I really have always looked up to them.

SSA: Can you give us a brief summary of your Scouting career and indicate which awards you have received? Started as Akela at 1st Horison on the West Rand, then became ADC for West Rand and now Regional Team Coordinator Cubs Programme for Gauteng. Received my Cub Woodbadge, GS Commissioner Woodbadge, have completed my Adult Leader Training Course so I am a three beader. Also have completed my 10 year’s service.

SSA: What drives you to do this day by day?
My Passion for Scouting. It is rewarding to see other people gain and grow within themselves.

SSA: Apart from Cubbing, what is your professional career?
I am a Project Manager for an IT software company.

SSA: You work full time and have a family to take care of. Yet, you are part of a team of four who have spearheaded the new Cub Programme, written the new modules, developed the weekly programmes on a plate, you also run a Cub Pack and organized Akela 2016. How do you do it?
With loads of help and support from my family, my work and also from my Scout family especially on the West Rand. I love to do things that you can see makes changes within other adults. It is so rewarding. That keeps me going.

SSA: If somebody would want to join the Cub Programme team or would like to volunteer to help. What should they do?
They need to know that they will have to give extra time over and above what they currently do. But if they have a passion for Scouting that comes naturally. Need to just let us know and we will take them in with open arms. They can email

SSA: What is the nicest thing a Cub has ever said to you?
You are so cuddly Akela.

SSA: Lastly, we asked 100 Cubs what the weirdest thing is that they have eaten whilst on a camp. What is the yours?
Oh wow. Hmm did not like egg and bacon cooked in Oranges. But I think the weirdest was chicken feet.