Let’s be good citizens and do our duty

Message from Chief Scout Brendon Hausberger

Dear Scouting members, parents and friends,

At this time of uncertainty where our country is shutting down to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, I would like to remind you that you are not alone. We’re all in this pandemic together, and together we can weather the storm and come through this stronger than before. I therefore urge you all as Scouting members to heed the government’s call for all non-essential service members to stay at home with your families.

Should you have to go out for the allowed purposes of buying food, medicine or seeking medical attention, please be safe and practice the recommended hand washing and physical distancing to protect yourself and those around you. This is a great opportunity to practice and demonstrate your planning skills to minimise the number of trips you will need to make over this period.

In line with this compliance, we are closing all of the Scout shops and offices. See more info below. Any Groups renting out your properties or halls should ensure that these are also closed and not operating during the period of the lock down.

I can understand that for many the order to lock down our country and practise social distancing can be a source of frustration and boredom. But remember that no one is immune to the coronavirus. If you’re young and healthy, the odds of overcoming COVID-19 are in your favour. For an immune-suppressed or elderly family member, friend, neighbour or colleague, the consequences can be dire. The lock down is therefore in place to break the chain of transmission and to potentially save the lives of the most vulnerable in our communities.

For those of you who live alone, remember it’s about social distancing and not isolation. Reach out to your neighbours, Scouting friends and family through mobile or online technology. Alternatively, wave or have a chat from the safety of your homes through windows or at a distance.

For those of you working from home, and trying to balance that with being a parent and a substitute teacher, remember that this is temporary. Be mindful that your child’s sense of safety and patience are also being tested. They are looking to you for guidance and confirmation that all will be okay. How you react during these trying times, will teach them how to face future challenges themselves, this provides us with an opportunity to be the role models that they deserve.

In order to help, we are creating “Scouting from Home”. This is a resource that can be accessed through the COVID-19 page on the national website as well as directly on the Scout Wiki. Programmes for all branches are being shared by Programme Chairs, RTC’s and Scouters for all to use. If you or your Scouter have some great material to help keep our young people productively occupied please share it with the National Chairs or your RC to upload. There will be lots of information so pick the ones that are practical and interesting for you.

We are also working with the training teams on rolling out some training for those of you whose courses had to be cancelled. The course directors will be in touch with you on those as they become available. We can’t totally replace the learning experience, but there are definitely some elements that we can complete over this period.

Let’s also not forget about our commitment to service and to making a difference in the lives of others. Let’s be of service when we can without compromising anyone’s safety and well-being or breaking the lock down regulations. If you know a vulnerable person in your area, stay in touch with them by checking in every now and again through a text, WhatsApp, email or a call. Don’t take unnecessary risks but if you need to go out for groceries or to the pharmacy, ask them if they need anything and drop it off in front of their door when you come home. Make arrangements for payment as needed without having to be in physical proximity of each other. This is a great opportunity for us as Scouts to take the leadership role in showing how social distancing is not social isolation and to support the vulnerable among us.

And don’t forget to take care of yourselves! The stress and worries about the unknown elements of this lock down are very real and for many of us our usual outlets of gym or physical exercise may seem hard to come by.  Be creative and look at how you can burn off that steam. Check out some of the many online resources for home exercise plans you could do.

It is human to think that “this will not happen to me” or “it’s not as bad as the media claims it is”. You may be spared from contracting COVID-19, or only suffer a mild case, but this is now a time to put others who are vulnerable first. Live your Scout Promise and Laws ! Let’s be good citizens and do our duty.

Yours in Scouting,
Brendon Hausberger,
Chief Scout

For “Scouting from Home” resources or more information: https://www.scouts.org.za/members/covid-19-info-for-members/

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