(Every week, I interview a new Scout or Guide from around the world to learn more about how Scouting or Guiding impacts on their life)
"Scouts, as an organisation, is run quite differently around the world. In many parts of the Asia-Pacific it is run in conjunction with the government education system – a primary reason why membership numbers are higher per capita than in other places. But Scouts can still be enjoyed in such places. Tumblr User oriental-fleur-de-lis is a Venturer Scout, who started in 7th grade and has continued to 11th grade today as a member of The General Association of the Scouts of China. Today simply called ‘Scouts of China’, it only operates out Taiwan.
In previous times when Taiwan was under martial law, every middle-school aged individual was mandated to join. Since then, Scouting education is used instead in the education system. OFDL predicts that most 7th graders would pass a Tenderfoot Rank easily – the foundation level rank in organisations such as the Boy Scouts of America. While never having been a full Leader yet, she is currently an instructor for her Venturer troop and a junior instructor.
RSP: What is Scouting like in Taiwan?
OFDL: Sort of complicated. The number of people involved just keeps dwindling in every section aside from Cubs and Scouts. Venturers like us are really rare now. Most top-tier high schools like ours don’t have enough people to form even one patrol, maybe because Scouting is a club option and many kids chose rock band and breakdance and stuff. Aside from that we mainly follow the BSA system of training, with similar ranks. (Tenderfoot->First rank->Second Rank->Lion->Great Wall -> National Flower). I think we traditionally place a heavier emphasis on Scoutcraft though.
oriental-fleur-de-lis’ group is quite active in their Scouting: “So far we’ve camped out multiple times, cliff-dived, rappelled off buildings, held barbeques, swam in the ocean, cooked food without using utensils, made tables and makeshift kitchens out of bamboo sticks and rope, served at the New Year’s Flag Ceremony, entertained Cubs and Beavers from Hong Kong, fund-raised for autism, and scaled the tallest peak in Taipei.”
RSP: What does your uniform look like?
OFDL: We wear a khaki shirt, army green trousers and a scarf/neckerchief. The sea and air scouts wear different colours but they are just starting out in Taiwan and really rare. I’ll attach a photo of me in uniform below. Some scouts also wear berets, some (around half, especially younger scouts) wear shorts with long green socks and a garter with some sort of fluffy stringy ball thing attached. The top part of the sock is rolled down to cover the white part of the garter leaving only the coloured fluffy ball visible. Personally I prefer trousers. And a few women wear green skirts too but those are rarely seen. Both the fluffy ball and the shoulder loops are colour-coordinated to indicate scout section. The Cubs wear yellow, Scouts wear green, Venturers wear light blue and Rovers wear red. Leaders wear purple. Usually if you hold a position within the troop then you get an extra logo on the shoulder loops according to your job.
While service is a big part of what oriental-fleur-de-lis does with her Scouts, she points to the opportunities it has given her as primary factors for doing it still. “I do Scouts because it trains the mind, body, and spirit to become tougher and unafraid in face of a challenge. Also, I’ve made friends both in real life and online because of Scouting, and overall I’m really happy to be part of this amazing community that is undiscriminating, friendly, strong and educational.” She says.
As part of the school curriculum, leadership training camps are run for Scouts. Run as a four-day boot camp, the participants did everything themselves. One night had them completing a campsite construction piece until 2am. One day had them hiking in the mountains where lunch was eggs fried on the heat of the rocks in the path. oriental-fleur-de-lis remembers the joy of diving into the ocean at the end of the hike, and being sworn in as Patrol Leaders at the end of the camp.
With Rovering and Woodbeads in her future, there is much in oriental-fleur-de-lis’ future of Scouting.
Thanks for your time oriental-fleur-de-lis!"
To read more interviews, please go to http://roverscoutproblems.tumblr.com/tagged/zambarau%20moot