23 | 09 | 2017
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mark borg

What is so great about scouting?

The great thing about scouting is the opportunities it offers to its members. Scouting, unlike other youth organisations does not focus only on one thing such as sport, skills,  education, religion or particular hobbies but amalgamates all of these into one programme. It is a one-stop shop to fun and education. Scouting is a community where everyone is welcome with all their strengths and all their interests to come and learn more and also teach others which in turn contributes to the development of a better individual character.

What types of activities does scouting offer?

Scouting bases itself on a diverse programme offered to its members. Since scouting promotes being active in an outdoor environment a number of basic skills such as first aid, pioneering, camping skills etc are taught and most activities are organised in an outdoor environment. Activities range from educational to outright adventurous however the important theme behind each activity is fun.

Which are your favourite scouting activities and why?

My favourite scouting activities are expeditions, pioneering and abseiling. Expeditions give me the opportunity to practice orienteering and go explore places I would never to make it to with my car. During an expedition you get the time to be with fellow scouts, to walk and talk, to sit cook and eat together, to enjoy a fire and share jokes. It is a great activity not only for physical stamina but also for mental relaxation and team bonding. A successful pioneering activity is one which incorporates a good sense of imagination with skill and adequate safety measures. With two basic items such as wood and rope, we have built anything from bridges, towers, rafts, catapults, tree houses, obstacle courses…you name it ….we’ve built it. Abseiling represents my addiction to the adrenaline rush. I am a certified instructor of abseiling, and this will always be one of my favourite outdoor activities. Although it provides the thrill it is well known to give, it must always be treated with respect and all safety precautions must be taken at all times.  Just like expeditions give me access to all things horizontal, abseiling gives me access to all things vertical. Being able to walk on the cliff face where seagulls nest and endemic flowers blossom is just such a thrill.

Has scouting made you a better person and in what ways?

The motto for scouts is Be Prepared. Many people, scouts themselves, underestimate the meaning of these two words. Being prepared indicates an element of foresight and forward planning in everyday life to make sure that when an unfortunate incident arises, you are ready to tackle it in the best possible way, turning every potential disaster into a successful feat. I try to apply this motto in my life every day. One of the scouting statements that strikes me most in scouting is engraved in one of our youngest sections – the Cub Scout Law. The Cub Scout Law states: A cub scout does his best, thinks of others before himself and does a good deed everyday. Every time I hear cubs repeat these words it acts as a reminder that in such  a greedy world there is the need to go against the current of egoism and place others before yourself. The group has also given me numerous opportunities to lead different sections which in turn has helped me acquire leadership skills as well as team building skills.

Why did you choose scouting over sports or other activities?

When you go to football training you play football, and when you go to drama classes you learn drama, when you decide to collect stamps as a hobby you just collect stamps …but when you come to scouts you can do all these and another hundred thousand other activities all incorporated into one programme with one aim…FUN. This will always be secret of the scouting success, the fact that it has opened its doors to practically everyone.

How would you promote scouting with someone who isn't familiar with the idea?

I always use the same example when trying to interest someone in scouts. Imagine an average eleven year old boy. How many eleven year old boys do you know how to give first aid to a hurt friend, how many eleven year old boys do you know who can find their way with a map and a compass, how many eleven year old boys do you know who can build a fire and cook an international meal on it, and how many eleven year old boys do you know which have climbed on towers and bridges which they themselves have built. A number of people say..so what? When you grow up and need to find a job, does knowing how to tie knots or handle an axe or read a map really matter?  Scouting however gives much more than that. It gives the individual a set of skills and presents scenarios and situations where using these skills and working hand in hand with scout mates as a team, the group will not only overcome the situations but change the problems presented to them into solutions. It is the mentality that problems can be turned into solutions thanks to knowledge and teamwork that scouting wants its members to carry along with them through life. This is what scouting wants to contribute to society. 

How long have you been in scouting? What kept you in for so long?

I joined the group in 1990 at the age of 7 as a cub scout and have moved up the ranks for the past 20 years. Scouting is a place where I can relax, learn, teach and enjoy myself with others who I consider to be family rather than friends. Each stage of my scouting career has offered its set of challenges and fun and I would never look back and consider changing one thing in what I’ve been through with our group.

Have you travelled with the Group?

I’ve been to the UK twice, USA visiting Washington, Virginia and New York, Gibraltar, Italy, Ireland and Germany and have also led the group to Poland and Denmark.