“Scouting made me feel like being at home”

Written by Madita Bünnecke

“Who are you? Where do you come from? How long will you be here? What was your name again?”  All those questions stayed in my life for the year I stayed here in South Africa. From the first day in August 2017, to the end of July this year, everybody was curious to get to know me and I was curious to get to know them.

To answer those questions for the last time: I’m Madita Alena Bϋnnecke, I am now 19 years old and I come from Dortmund in Germany. I lived there with my parents and my 16 year old brother. I am a Scout, I love reading and experiencing great adventures. I always wanted to live in another country and experience Scouting in another culture so I volunteered for the past year at the National Office of SCOUTS South Africa in Cape Town.

A year filled to the rim with Scouting. To be honest I did nothing but Scouting this whole year and I could not have had a better year! Gordon’s Shield right after I arrived was like jumping into cold water, I had no idea what Scouting in South Africa was like and I learned so much at that competition. I started to work in the National Office and had the chance to go up to Kimberley for the Lekgotla in October where I was able to meet lots of different Scouts from all over the country and the past and present Chief Scout!

At the end of August I also joined my host Scout Group 1st Claremont. I attended almost every meeting when possible and joined them on Troop Camp in December. I couldn’t have wished for a better host group. I have made a lot of friends and have had wonderful experiences. 1st Claremont became a second Scouting family to me. Thank you for that! Of course I had to try to give my best in supporting my Troop and I did my Limited Warrant in September followed by my Scout Warrant in April.

Photo: SanJamb 2017

In December 2017 I also went to SANJamb and once again had the chance to meet a lot of people from all over the country. I had fantastic ten days in the middle of nowhere in the Freestate. On top of that I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the friends I made on SANJamb in Durban in February and in Johannesburg and Pretoria in June. Thank you for hosting me!

If there was a camp or a course I always tried to attend it. I went to Kontiki Western Cape, Senior Cub Camp, PLTU, Upton Shield, Beaver Rose and the Cook Course.

Although South African Scouting was so foreign to me I quickly grew to love it. It is compared to our Scouting still very traditional and I was able to learn many new skills. And even if Scouting is in practice very different to the Scouting I got to know in Germany, in spirit we are all the same. It is simply amazing to see the brotherhood we have all over the world. I was so far from all my loved ones when I arrived here, but Scouting made me feel like being at home very quickly.

Lastly, I want to say thank you to my two host families who gave me a lovely home and made me feel very welcome here in Cape Town. Thank you for being a second family to me! Thanks also to the National and Western Cape office staff and Milly Siebrits. I thoroughly enjoyed my work and I always tried to give my best. You always supported me, helped me and lifted me up. I think you are a great team and I am very happy that I got the chance to be part of this team for the past year.


Looking into the future I have some exciting times and great adventures ahead. I hope to work on a ship for the next year and study nautical science subsequently.

I grew to love this country and its people. In fact I am already looking forward to coming back and meeting all the special people I met during my time here. Thank you for being so welcoming, open and inviting. I will definitely will come to see you again!

#Women’s Month #SAScouting #SCOUTSSA