I want to learn and explore Scouting in SA

Written by Madita Bünnecke

A year of adventure in Mpumalanga awaits Thomas Blum. Thomas is one of the new volunteers from the German Scout Association DPSG who will be assisting the regional office in implementing their projects.

SSA: Can you please tell us a bit more about yourself?
My name is Thomas Blum. I am 23 years old and I come from a town in Germany that is called Mönchengladbach. Besides Scouting I enjoy playing football, basketball and reading books.

SSA: You have been in the German Scouting Movement for a while. Why is Scouting so special to you?
I joined the Scouting Movement in November 2001 because many of my cousins were also Scouts at that time. My cousins and I are members of the DPSG. Scouting is very special to me because of values like companionship, tolerance, environmental awareness and so on. These values are so important because they helped me to be a better person.

SSA: What makes Scouting different to all the other activities for teens?
The values that Scouting teaches children makes it special.  Also the Scouting activities, for example the camps where we go out into the nature and learn things like orientation with card and compass. One of my favorite memories is a summer camp in England in 2007. It was a wonderful experience. We hiked one week through Cornwall and after that, we stayed for two weeks at a Scouting campsite.

SSA: What has been your toughest Scouting challenge?
My first summer camp as a Cub leader was very difficult, but also a wonderful time for me. It was hard because I was the only Cub leader in this camp and I had never been on a camp as a leader before. I also had no one helping me lead the group of Cubs.

SSA: So you have now decided to volunteer for a year at another Scout Association. Why volunteer for a year?
I decided to volunteer because I want to learn and explore how Scouting is done in other countries, especially in South Africa. I had met some people from South Africa in Germany and they told me about the country so I got interested in coming here. I`m looking forward to learning many things about Scouting!

SSA: In addition to volunteering at the regional office, are you planning to explore SA a bit?
Yes, I’m looking forward to visiting one of my South African friends whom I met in Germany. I hope that I can visit Madita in Cape Town too. I also want to see the Kruger National park, the Blyde River Canyon and the Drakensberg!

SSA: Our Chief Scout says that adventure teaches you how to be a great leader. Would you agree with this?
Yes, I totally agree with him! Adventure means that you will gain experience. That experience you can pass on to your Cubs, Scouts or Rovers so that they can benefit from it and be prepared for their own adventures.

SSA: What is the one thing people should know about you here in SA?
That I look forward to meeting many new and interesting people here.  They should also know that my favorite football team is Borussia Mönchengladbach, which is the football team of my hometown and part of the German “Bundesliga”. My favorite basketball team is called Chicago Bulls and comes from the US.