Benjamin Mortimer’s Leaping Wolf Journey

Ben’s Leaping Wolf journey was one he thoroughly enjoyed. It was a good thing he had the whole year to do it in because some things took quite a while.

A word from Ben (written up by his mom):
The whole family enjoyed the spinach he grew from seed after lots of hard work in his little garden. Ben learned how to prepare the soil with many layers of kitchen waste and soil. His oupa and dad were a big help as the hole he had to dig to prepare the soil was very deep!

He enjoyed doing the First Aid Course, especially getting to practice his new skills on some “injured and sometimes bloody” volunteers…his scarf came in handy for someone who had “hurt” their arm.

Ben has also learned how to stay safe when hiking; for example that you need to stay together, and if you get lost, don’t panic, whistle to get help. And ALWAYS HAVE YOUR FIRST AID KIT!

He loved his Survivor Camp where a lot of his Leaping Wolf Interest Badge work was done; he had to build his own shelter which he slept in, he learned how to collect water using a solar still and he had to cook his own food (pitta pocket and armpit fudge were his favourites).

For his personal challenge he learned how to bake chocolate cake. He practiced so many times that the family was sick and tired of chocolate cake and he made Crunchies instead to share with his Cub Pack to celebrate that his personal challenge was done.

We were grateful that some of his school projects lined up with some of the Leaping Wolf badge work and Ben was able to share on plastic in the ocean as part of his global awareness task. And he got to share on one of his favourite things, his metal detector! For Technology in Action Ben brought his metal detector to Cubs. He explained what it is used for and showed the Cubs how it worked. There were lots of questions which Ben was happy to answer (he could have talked for days!).

Ben’s knotting board turned out really nicely. His grandpa gave him a nice piece of wood and his mom and dad worked with him as he worked slowly on the board, knot by knot, until all the knots were stuck on the board properly, labelled with the name of the knot and how it is used (typed up by Ben himself). All the knots he’s learned came in handy during Kontiki when the Cubs had to build rafts and then take a parent for a row!

A word from Ben’s mom:
As Ben’s mom, I could see that Ben really did enjoy working on his Leaping Wolf badge; having something specific to aim for and work towards helped him to stay focused. The fact that it was a long process and couldn’t be hurried (our child likes to rush things) taught him patience and perseverance. He had to work on many of the challenges over the course of several weekends so completing each one was a cause for celebration.

Ben is now one of the Sixers at Cubs, and he takes those responsibilities seriously. It amazes me how he goes about the business of helping to set up for Cubs when he arrives, knowing where everything goes and how it should look, then raising the flag and leading the other Cubs through the prayer and promise. He has grown so much and he loves being a Cub.

He loves camping and hiking and has had so much fun at the many camps he’s been on, and at each one he has learned so much! Ben’s Akela and her team makes sure that their camps are lots of fun while they learn about navigating by the stars, using the sun to tell the time, etc.

At Cubs, Ben has been accepted for who he is, and he has flourished as a result. His Akela isn’t fazed by his busyness; instead she channels it and brings out the best in him.

We are very proud of the grit and determination that our boy showed over the course of completing his Leaping Wolf badge. It was hard work, the Log Book was not his favourite…but it is something he will treasure in the years to come and we are grateful he had this opportunity to get stuck into something that will become a milestone in his Scouting adventure.

A word from Akela:
Ben has severe ADHD and generally he bounces of the walls at our Pack meetings entertaining everyone. When he turned 10, I was not sure if I should give him an invite letter to do the Leaping Wolf. In consultation with him mom, we concluded that we would let Ben decide if it was a journey he wanted to try. Once he started, he was determined and was not going to give up.

Up to that point, Ben had really struggled with knots. Due to his severe ADHD, I offered a compromise to him with regards to making a knotting board. I would tie the knots, and Ben then had to recognise them and tell me their uses. He said no, he would learn to tie all the knots. And learn to tie them he did! Some of them he even managed to tie behind his back!

When Ben became a Second, he and I made a deal – he would try his best to stand still and concentrate during the Grand Howls. What I learned was that when Ben is given a specific task, he takes it seriously and does his best. And everyone else is also reminded by Ben that they are supposed to be standing still and concentrating during the Grand Howl. Ben is now one of our Sixers, a job that he takes very seriously. He certainly sets an example for all the other Cubs as to the character traits we are looking for in a Sixer.

Ben managed to creep into the hearts of all the Cub adult leaders in the Cape Border District. We have many District Cub events and as such, everyone has gotten to know Ben, and be entertained by his antics. During the time that Ben worked on his Leaping Wolf, all the adults would enquire about Ben’s progress. At the Pack meeting when we presented Ben with his Leaping Wolf badge, all the Pack Scouters, some Assistant Packs Scouters, and our District Commissioner attended the ceremony. This is a testimony to the kind-hearted, loving and generous nature of who Ben is as a person. It has been a absolute pleasure to get to know Ben and have him as part of our Pack at 1st Vincent.

Sharon du Plessis
Pack Scouter
1st Vincent