Lilly’s Gold Star Journey

Supplied by SSA Youth Influencer Caroline Boshoff

The Eastern Cape South Region and the 1st Cambridge Meerkat Den are proud to introduce their 1st Gold Star Meerkat! Lilly’s Scout journey started in October of 2022, with the opening of the Meerkat Den at the 1st Cambridge Scout Group. She was one of 3 girls who were the first Meerkats in the Region.

Rafiki Charlotte Nepgen shares Lilly’s journey with us all.  “That first term was a whirlwind of activity as we strived to complete the National Challenge in one term. Lilly is a dedicated and enthusiastic Meerkat who strived to do her best at every task she was presented with. As a Den, the Meerkats worked hard to earn badges and by the end of the term we could award 3 Bronze Stars, thanks to the requirements of the National Challenge! We also took part in the National Camp-in in November of 2022, which presented the opportunity to earn even more badges! Being ‘chucked in at the deep end’  when starting our Den certainly was hard work, but at the start of 2023 the girls had amassed many badges, and also gained two new Meerkat friends.

2023 brought much excitement as we learned about recycling and started our recycling project. We also started the year off with a toy drive for the Salem Baby Centre as we worked on our Community badge. Lilly donated generously from her own toys and clothes, and helped repaint the Centre’s wooden building blocks.  She takes part in every event with enthusiasm and an eagerness to learn.

Lilly went on to complete her hiking badge at our Dassie Trail hike in February 2023, working her way steadily towards her Silver Star. She is a determined little girl and with every meeting and event she had her eye on that Gold Star! In another first for our District, the Meerkats took part in our first annual Derby Day which was a joint event with the Cubs, not only from 1st Cambridge, but also from 1st Vincent and 2nd Gonubie. The Meerkats all worked on their Keep Fit badges at this event.

The Safety badge had been an on-going process since the Den started and we completed it in 2023, with a visit from the local fire department, who spoke to the Meerkats about fire safety, demonstrated some of their equipment, and then took everyone on a ride in the fire truck! Another wonderful experience that year was the National Camp on Brownsea Island!  We chose to camp out at Cefani Resort on the Wild Coast. Once again many badges were up for grabs including their Adventure and Raft Builder badges. Being the diligent Meerkat that she is, when Lilly wasn’t able to attend a meeting (which was very rare), she had her mom ask Rafiki what she had missed and if she could catch up with the tasks at home. We worked on the Scientist interest badge over a couple of meetings, and then illness struck on volcano day, and Lilly had to miss Meerkats. So she made her volcano at home!

With the challenges of a new Den and the Scouters finding their rhythm and working on the 2023 National Challenge, Lilly and the “original 3” Meerkats had completed quite a few challenge badges, and the Gold Star was in sight. Lilly was determined. The only badges she needed by the end of the year were her Handcraft badge and the World Around Us badge. The online Mob Day earlier this year enabled her to complete the World Around Us badge and Lilly worked hard during the holidays to complete all the tasks for her Handcraft badge so she could complete the requirements before her 7th birthday, with mom sending Rafiki photos of all of her work.

I am very proud of Lilly and all she has accomplished. She is a kind and friendly Meerkat who is always respectful of those around her. It has been a privilege and an absolute delight having her as part of our Den. Lilly has started working on her Burrowing-up badge and Akela is already impressed by how quickly Lilly is fitting in, learning to stand at attention and at ease, and learning the Cub Salute and Handshake. As a Scout Group we look forward to guiding Lilly through the rest of her Scouting journey and seeing her accomplish all her goals.”