The Rhodes University Mountain Club (RUMC) has collaborated with Rhodes University Community Engagement (RUCE) to provide an exciting opportunity of brotherhood, learning and development for young nature enthusiasts in Grahamstown. Thandi Bombi reports below.
The St May’s DCC Cub Scouts, headed by Anna Talbot with the assistance of Josh van Staden, is a guide group for boys that is aimed at developing a dynamic educational program with an emphasis on the outdoors. This group was started because Grahamstown had many scout groups that only catered for girls and none for boys.
With a program that is prescribed in sections dealing with awareness, community, the outdoors, personal growth, and aptitude, this is a great learning opportunity for the Scouts. “There are not many programs that engage boys outside of sport,” said Talbot. “Cub and Scout curriculums aim at teaching life skills and is wholesome and educational, which I dream every child could have.”
The current scouts aged 8-12 are all from Grahamstown East and are the first boys in the area to receive an opportunity to join the world wide movement that was started over 100 years ago. Although it officially opened in March 2015 the scout group is still in the process of getting started, it aims at continuing to grow in Grahamstown to one day have a positive effect on the youth. “Our 20-something member Cub Pack may be tiny in comparison to the worldwide movement but the changes that I have seen in people who grew up in a Scout or Cub group are incredible,” said Talbot.
In the few months the program has been operating, the boys have participated in and achieved many things; “We have grown beans, made solar ovens and cooked in them, made instruments and power tools, attended the international parade and learnt how to swim,” said Talbot.
Although this is an exceptional community engagement program, there is very little opportunity for expansion because of lack of support. “The program is geared towards developing any age group and could expand into a scout group for older kids,” said Talbot. “As much as we would love to involve other children, we simply don’t have the man power to ensure sustainability.”
“We are hoping to get more volunteers this semester,” said Talbot. “Students’ eyes could be opened and they would be humbled to be able to share and learn from these young boys. It is also a great opportunity to prove that the generation they are a part of makes a positive mark.”
So whether you are male or female, a nature enthusiast willing to try something new, DCC Cub volunteering could be for you. Talbot meets volunteers outside the RUCE office every Thursday afternoon at 13h30 and they all go to the DCC. “What’s better than an afternoon filled with fires, gardening, playing in the sun, learning first aid or cooking,” said Talbot. “We’re looking to be part of a 40-million member worldwide youth movement, you could be part of that too.”