20.10.2017 18:28

Being a scout is not at all about making a fire with two stones, says one of them

Autor: Vanda Šujanová | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

When Nermin Jukan shows me a scout poster with a tree, a boy and houses on it, I do not exactly know what I am looking at. Then he begins explaining what I should notice and why is it important – and I feel like I am talking to a very passionate kid rather than to a 22-years-old student of Informatics. We met in Brno, Czech Republic, where he came to study through the Erasmus programme from Slovenia. He knew we were going to talk about scouts, so he chose a propriate place and time to meet, a park filled with playing children on a sunny day.

He arrives on time and with a typical scout scarf and a whistle around his neck. We find a place to sit and start to talk casually. He joined the scouts back in Slovenia when he was still in primary school. Then he left and came back years later – when asked why, he thinks for a moment but cannot tell whether it was the invitation from a friend or the nostalgia that helped him decide to rejoin. ‘I knew that being a scout is basically all pluses and no minuses so I wanted to retry that again,’ he sums up.

The most stereotypical image of a scout in many people’s head is definitely a bunch of kids making campfires and fishing with their bare hands so they would not stay hungry. Nermin shakes his head in disapproval. According to him, the physical activities are just the top of the iceberg. I lean back and inquire what is under the surface, he does the same and speaks with no hesitation. ‘Improving yourself as a person, learning how to deal with life the right way. It’s about values. Respecting yourself, respecting others. Pretty much everything goes on from this. To be generous, emotionally mature, helpful.’ Helpful he is indeed, he agreed to meet me even though he was struggling with an illness at the moment.

Then he takes a moment to describe what the whole thing means to him. ‘The highest goal for me is to give back what I was given during the years. To make a difference in how children and young adults evolve and mature,’ he says. He is concerned about society having issues in every area you can think of and believes that scouts are one of the few course-correcting activities children can do. ‘You just have to be a good role model.’

When asked to give one exact example of how the scouts actually try to help the society, he looks at the playing kids near us. Maybe that’s the reason he chooses to talk about the problem that many countries fight – underage drinking. The age of drinking kids is dropping, not only in Slovenia. Nermin suggests that it may be simply due to boredom. Scouts try to prevent this by offering them a choice on Friday nights and organize various activities kids can join.

At the end of our meeting, he shows me the above-mentioned poster. The houses represent inner structure of the members and the boy depicts how the uniform is formed. However, the most interesting part is the tree. It has roots and branches and each has a tag on it with a word or two. The tree is a representation of the values he talked about earlier. ‘The roots are all about relationships, with yourself and others. Body of the tree and branches in the middle belong to global awareness and spirituality, ‘ he explains. Physical activities are on the top. ‘As you can see, they are the least important thing in scouting. Here you have it visually shown.’ With a smile, he of course refers to the image people have about scouts.

Klíčová slova: scouting, inspiration


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