Rovers, where we have come from, where we are going!

Photo: Terence Vrugtman

2018 see’s Rovers enter and reflect on the past 100 years of Rovering in South Africa. In writing this article it is great to see how Rovers have grown and defined themselves in making their mark in Scouting through dedicated Scouters, and taking on additional service roles in the Movement, ensuring the life blood of Scouting is kept youthful.

To share some insight in Rovering and what Rovers are all about here are some useful details below:

A group of Rovers form a Crew, with a minimum of three members who are male or female, all of whom are of Rover age (18-35 years). A potential member can join if they are between the ages of 18-30 years old, however, a member may not join if they are older than the age 30.
Each Crew should have a Crew Council who manages and runs the Crew. A Crew Council is elected annually from all the invested Rovers of that Crew. A Rover Scouter (RS) should be appointed as a guide and mentor to the Rover Crew. A Rover Crew should have a separate meeting place, known has a Rover Den, which is a private space for Rovers to meet. 
Each Rover Crew should have a healthy balance of events that focus on personal development, involvement in Scouting activities with the Cub and Scout branches and service to the community. How the Crew sees these three categories and plans their events is dependent upon the Crew Council or the Rover Scouter.
You will find there is an extensive range of activities open to you. Every Rover Crew is different, and tailors its activities to the requirements and interests of its members. Outdoor activities such as bush walking, caving, canoeing, rock climbing and scuba diving are all parts of many Rover Crews’ calendars.
Rovers will develop your ability to lead other young people to adventure and you will learn the value of teamwork and cooperation. 
The word “Service” is synonymous with Rovers. Within your crew you will learn to appreciate the value of helping others. 
South African Rovers has for many years followed the ideals of young adults setting their own paths under the guidance of the Rover Scouter. Over the last number of years, the majority of Crews in South Africa opted for the concept of the Crew-in-Council, and so the wisdom of the Rover Scouter was lost. It was in this period that Crews and Rovers floundered slightly in terms of direction and purpose.
The Rover Programme works on 4 platforms of growth to develop the individual:
  • Personal – Grow yourself on a personal level, learn to construct a CV, get your drivers license and find your spiritual path.
  • Movement – Develop an understanding of the Scout and Cub sections, involve yourself with running a Pack or Troop meeting/event. Attend Scouter Training Courses.
  • Community – Review your community and establish how to improve it with an action plan, consider doing a community service project.
  • Leadership – Ultimately develop yourself to become a better citizen and leader in your Crew.
Each level is developed with a set of requirements to complete in order to move to the next level. One award needs to be achieved before completing each bar. Rovers strive to achieve their BP Award, the highest award a Rover can earn.
BP’s vision was to develop a Rover with the relevant skills to enable them to be more independent and contribute to society in three main areas; Self, Movement and Community. In South Africa these areas have been developed within the advancement programme, using BP’s vision. 
When a Rover joins they are first trained in essential life skills. Once these skills are trained, the Rover is expected to take these skills and use them within the Movement. Once they are confident with the skills they would need to use them in the Movement. The Rover is expected to go one further and use the skills in their community either through selected service projects, community service at local centers or any other form of service to the community. As the Rover had given service to the three areas of Rovering; Self, Movement, Community, they would become a better citizen and leader to their country.
The membership of Rovers in 2000 only consisted of 93 members which was less than 1% of the overall membership of Scouting in South Africa. At this stage there was not a very clear advancement programme for Rovers. In 2009 the National Commissioner for Rovers, Gerard Evans, developed a new advancement programme that brought about a change for Rovers and considered BP’s original vision and the needs of Rovers in South Africa. Rovers grew to numbers of between 300 – 400 in the next three years. With a clearly defined advancement programme, and dedicated leaders, the Rover branch continues to grow. The census for 2016 saw a total of 597 Rovers in South Africa and continues to grow every year. Rovers are the branch that will produce future leaders for the Movement.
I look forward to working with Rovers in taking Scouting to the next level!
Chair: National Rover Programme