Why I Scout
By Meg Cummins, Scouts NSW Youth Commissioner.
I would not be me without Scouting. Given it’s Children’s Week, I wanted to reflect on how being a part of Scouts NSW has contributed to my health and wellbeing in more ways than I could count – physical, mental and emotional – and has shaped everything about me, facilitating my evolution into the strong, determined, change-creator that I am today.
Scouts has been there for me through every major life event since I was seven.
I’ve always said; in Scouts you don’t make friends, you make a family and you build a community. This plays a huge part in how we grow and it is critical to a healthy childhood. My Scouting family has planned, prepared for and spent days in the middle of the bush together, dangled each other off the edge of waterfalls and supported each other’s serious projects and crazy ideas. We have spent hours walking the local beaches, picking up rubbish, and we have worked together to run ‘open days’ and invite our local refugees into Scouting, we have donated blood together and have worked to raise funds for those in need. We support each other through highs and lows.
But Scouts has given me more than a family for life.
Thanks to Scouts I have gained new skills through courses and workshops applicable to every aspect of my life. I get to learn on the job and make mistakes in a safe environment. I am mentored and supported, I have access to and participate in leadership courses across Australia and overseas.
I’ve had the opportunity to learn about our world and to discover more than just my backyard or local park. From attending an international leadership training course in Ecuador, to representing Scouts Australia at the Asia Pacific Youth Forum. I’ve even spent two weeks camping at the biggest World Scout Moot in Iceland!
With this chance for discovery comes the realisation that while the world isn’t perfect, I have something up my sleeve that sets me apart from others. Scouting.
Through Scouting, I am able to dream big because dreaming big is what effects change. I am a problem solver armed with an incredible network of people who support me creating a better world.
I have a platform to be the voice for those who do not have one and I am an active change creator.
I have a strong sense of appreciation of our natural world and I have a sense of purpose.
Scouting has allowed me to dream about what can be changed and to have a go at changing it, to aim high and to understand that I have the capacity to influence, specifically with the issues that relate to my generation and to those who come after me.
I am the Scouts NSW Youth Commissioner and I advocate for youth empowerment. I have been the Assistant Project Manager on a Humanitarian Engineering Project in Rwanda. I have led a team of uni students to design and implement the interior of a net zero energy house. I have acted as a member of Junior Chamber International Australia’s National Board. All of this has only been possible through the skills, values and support I gained through my scouting experience.
So just in case you’re still asking; why do I scout?
Because where else can I make friends for life, travel the world, chase my dreams, stand up for others and for the issues I am passionate about, hike through the mountains, canyon down waterfalls, snow shoe through snowy mountains here and overseas, learn to lead and solve problems and work towards a better world through the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals?
Scouting is a journey. It has held my hand through hard times, given me a nudge when I needed it and shown me that I can be and do anything I can dream of. I would not be me without Scouting.