Interamerican Leadership Training 2016 - ILT 4
My name is Siddeeq Shakoor and this is a piece of my story. Scouting has changed my life. Being a Scout, I’ve had extraordinary experiences that make my life amazing. Last year I decided to apply to represent Scouts Trinidad and Tobago at a training programme in Guatemala. Little did I know that this small venture would lead to my life’s biggest adventures. Being a participant at Interamerican Leadership Training (ILT 3) in 2015 has opened up countless doors in my life.
Having returned to Trinidad after my ILT training, I had made friends from nearly all the countries in the region all of whom were now empowered to be leaders in their countries and I intended to do the same. I began with a Messenger’s of Peace Project called ‘Food for Tomorrow’ together with 8 other Scouts that were on my team at ILT 3 and I was able to complete my goal with help from many Scouts and non-Scouts to provide one thousand hampers to less fortunate families in Trinidad and Tobago to help reduce hunger in the world. I also completed my New Leaders Certification Training and helped plan and execute the first Youth Forum of Scouts TT. My life was engulfed by the Scouting method - learning, creating a better world and all the while having fun.
Earlier this year I received news that I was selected to represent Scouts TT at Boy Scouts of America’s National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) Academy in Los Angeles, USA. It was an intense learning experience that helped me become a better presenter and leader.
Ever since ILT 3, I had dreamt of being selected to be a member of staff. Then one day my dreams became a reality. I was beyond happy. I was now able to pass on the spark that lit the fire inside of me to others. To me, this is one of the best parts of Scouting.
I had to have Skype calls at late hours to prepare various presentations and I had to go to Guatemala to attend Staff Development for 4 days in November despite having school, a sacrifice I was happy to make. It wasn’t easy as I had to know a very large syllabus inside and out which contained the content of the course and plan my presentations until perfection. Staff Development was the beginning of the forming of the staff family that I would come to know so well.
I then journeyed to Guatemala for the third time, on Christmas Day for ILT 4.
My role was to be a Team Advisor, working with a team of 8 people from other countries teaching them various topics and ensuring the team works well together throughout the course. I could not have asked for a better team. My team consisted of Scouts from Jamaica, Guatemala, Panama, Ecuador, Aruba, Columbia, Guyana and Argentina. Though at first we had communication problems since some members only spoke Spanish and some only spoke English, we bonded like we knew each other for years. We established a trust that changed us from the red team to more of a red family.
Apart from working with my team, I had to make a few presentations that included a Feedback Conference, a leadership style demonstration called ‘Front End Alignment’, the Fleur de Lis knot, a game called Zulu Toss, Problem Solving and Communication and all the while working with the staff to ensure all other presentations ran smoothly and efficiently. It was no easy task and at the beginning seemed truly massive. What got me through it all was the Scouts that were on staff who all supported me. I had the Assistant Team Leaders who always helped me and the Senior Team Leader who, though they always had big roles in the course, found time to help me with all my challenges. I am forever thankful to them.
Staffing meant getting up early, being on time, being fun, having fun, getting everyone motivated, getting through the various presentations, ensuring that everyone grasps the concepts, ensuring that your team is working well together, having late Staff and Team Advisor meetings, staying up late preparing for the next day and repeating this for the week. It was a crazy yet intense job and it was the best job I would ever have in my life.
I learned so much from being on Staff and I grew along with the participants. This was something that I felt I was made for. I felt like this was something I can do for the rest of my life and never be tired of it. Being on staff also meant keeping with the Disney theme that was chosen for the course adding to the fun and the memories for the participants. I even dressed as Buzz Lightyear and danced to high school musical for the opening campfire.
The best part of Staffing were the love and friendship that we shared among all the staff. We were strong, we were skilled and most of all ‘We were one with the ILT and the ILT was with us.’ We even had an adult staff who supported us in every way, neither limiting us or taking away from our fun but rather amplifying the fun and effect of the course. We were sleepy and hungry and tired but there was no other place we would rather be. I’m proud to say that we became the best of friends and at the end of the course, tears were shed as we would have to return to our countries. The course director, Ligia Bianchi from Guatemala was the queen of the course and ensured that everything went smoothly along with the other Adult Mentors and Adult staff.
Being on Staff I also had the opportunity to help my fellow Scouts from Trinidad and Tobago who participated this year and ensuring they got the best out of ILT. I was proud to see that both participants had fun and both developed themselves throughout the course and I expect great things from them back home as they continue to lead the National Youth Council.
After the course I’ve come back to Trinidad with a bitter sweet feeling in my heart, knowing that I have to be miles away from all the people I’ve grown so fond of but at the same time knowing that I was able to light the Scouting fire in some as it was lit for me a year ago and this is a priceless feeling. It was an absolute honour to be on Staff at Interamerican Leadership Training 4 in Guatemala. I’m home now in Trinidad but my Scouting fire is still blazing strongly, only growing from new experiences and will continue to blaze so it becomes easier to pass it on to those around me. I know that the participants at ILT 4 will create a better world and I intend to do my part as well. This was just a piece of my story.
"The most worth-while thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others"
"Try to leave this world a little better than you found it and, when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but you have done your best." - Lord Robert Baden- Powell
("True friends are never apart, maybe in distance, but never in heart.")