Scouts Spreading Love and Good Cheer to Juvenile Offenders in Cameroon
As part of their reaching out activities, the Scout Group Les Fourmis Laborieuses in Cameroon initiated a fun, educational and humanitarian outing to the Bafoussam Central Prison. The prison which hosts 32 juvenile offenders was pleased to open its gates to the 33 Scouts who brought great cheer and motivation to the young offenders.
These young offenders are most often abandoned by society and rarely visited or given the chance for interactions with other young people leading to them sinking into despair. The situation deprives them of the opportunity enjoy being young and do a lot of the things young people would do at their age. Realizing so, the Scout Group chose this activity as a way of helping them regain their self-esteem.
The Scouts were welcomed and spent a day with the young offenders, engaging them in prayers, games and other learning activities. They played team games in the form of challenges such as arm wrestling, tug-of-war, basketball (with blindfolded eyes), left-foot football and so on. This helped to create a unifying spirit among the Scouts and the minor detainees.
The educational activities were punctuated with inspirational talks on values such as discipline and respect for people and their property. A few of the young prisoners also had the opportunity to share their stories which hinged a lot on following bad influence as the main cause of them spending time under confinement. Through this sharing the Scouts also got first-hand experience of how bad behaviour can directly or indirectly deprive them of their freedom.
Towards the end of the day the Scouts and the young offenders exchanged gifts as a sign of new-found friendships. The gifts consisted of art drawings with messages inspired by the Scout Law and Promise. On their part, the young prisoners made kits from plastic waste such as rice wrapping bags and knitting thread. They also shared a meal and donated to the institution some foodstuffs to support the nutritional needs of the young offenders. To the Scouts, this was a very enriching experience that they committed to doing annually over the Easter period as a way of reaching out to young people living in difficult circumstances.