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23 | 09 | 2017
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Mark Cassola

What is so great about scouting?
 
Scouting is probably the best ‘life simulator’ one can get. What we can expect to go through in life can be tasted in our scouting years, and therefore we can BE PREPARED for it! Scouting assists children in their development and character formation. I am not fit to tell other people what is so great about scouting, but just look at the history and numbers, and I guess that should already be enough. Our responsibility and duty is to keep it going!
 
 
What types of activities does scouting offer?
 
It offers so many opportunities that no list would do justice, however we can easily capture them under “learning by doing, through adventure and fun!” 
 
Which are your favourite scouting activities and why?
 
I have always favoured camping and abseiling. Camping gives me the opportunity to enjoy a few days of peace, close to nature and with my good friends. Abseiling still gives me that thrill, especially the first step, going from vertical to horizontal still turns my legs to jelly!!
 
Has scouting made you a better person and in what ways?
 
I hope that it has. Who knows what I would have been like if I never joined scouts? – I will never know. With Cubbie as my leader, I learnt above all to respect others, irrespective of who they are. Cubbie taught me so much, and now I hope to be able to pass it on to the younger ones as well.
 
Why did you choose scouting over sports or other activities?
 
There was not much choice in 1983! There were hardly any organized sporting opportunities back then. I liked the uniform, and therefore the choice was relatively easy. However if I had the same opportunities today I would not choose scouting at the expense of sports. I would go for both – no need to choose one over the other, but they can go hand in hand. We do have younger scouts that participate in all sorts of sports, and made it to national teams. One just has to learn how to strike a balance and manage his or her time well.
 
How would you promote scouting with someone who isn't familiar with the idea?
 
Scouting is probably NOT for everyone. People have to taste it, and then decide whether they like it or not. However it is a complete misconception in my opinion that scouting works miracles for anyone and everyone. To most of us, scouting is fun, adventure, service, doing our duty, and above all a complete learning experience. It is certainly NOT parading in uniform showing off numbers and bands and badges. 
 
How long have you been in scouting? What kept you in for so long?
 
I joined St. Aloysius College Scout group as a cub scout way back in 1983 – which means it is now 27 years. I could never come to leave the Group. Each year, every camp, every hike and every other activity are always a completely new experience. I have scouting and our Group in particular in my blood now!
 
Have you travelled with the Group?
 
I was very lucky, thanks to Cubbie of course to have travelled quite a bit I would say with scouts. My first visit was in 1985 as a Cub Scout, to Rome and London, where we met the Pope. In 1987 I travelled to Australia for the 16th World Jamboree. In 1989 I was one of the five to travel to the U.S.A for the National Jamboree at fort A.P. Hill in Virginia, visiting New York, Michigan and Washington. The best ever came in 1991, when we spent 2 months away, having spent about 5 weeks in Russia and Ukraine, and another 2 weeks in South Korea for the 17th World Jamboree. In 1992 I travelled to the U.S.A. yet again, this time to a National Camporee in Connecticut. In 1994 I travelled to Holland for the first European Jamboree, however at the age of 20 one does not get to participate in activities that are meant for younger scouts. More recently, July 2010 I had the opportunity to travel with a group of much younger scouts to Denmark for a Biking Adventure.