“Scouting gives young people the confidence to be themselves”

4 minutes

Lana is a 20-year-old Scout (tabornica) from Slovenia. At the age of 16, she became the leader of the organising team for ZOT (Zimsko Orientacijsko Tekmovanje), a Slovenian national Scout competition held annually on the last weekend of January, attended by approximately 300 Scouts from across the country (aged 11 upwards).

Lana, 20-year-old Scout smiles at the camera.
Barbara Ribič

My original interest in the role was sparked when I was a kid. When I was around ten years old or younger, my patrol leader was in charge of the competition. At the time, she was an influential role model for me. I looked up to her as a kind and exciting person. In addition, she was also a leader and someone who taught me a lot and encouraged me to be a better person. However, she did this in a very friendly way. I was particularly interested in the role she played in our Scout group. 

I became part of the organising team when I was 11-years-old, I grew to love the competition. I loved the excitement of the event. So many Scouts gathered to test their orienteering knowledge and skills, but at the same time make friends from all over the country, see old ones and enjoy nature. The atmosphere was amazing and my love of the event became a big part of me as a Scout. At age 16 I took over the leadership of ZOT and fell even more in love with it through the organising process in the months before the competition. 

Scouts group picture of the organising team of ZOT.
ZOT Archives

In the course of this experience, I have learned a lot. From learning how to lead a team of 30 + volunteers, how to make them all see what a special part of the team they are and how much they contribute to the event to bettering my communication skills and understanding how to evaluate our work. One of the most significant things I have realised is that there is always going to be something not working out how you imagined it to. This is especially true when organising something so substantial. But it is on us to see the good, not stress too much about what could or should have been and make the absolute most of it. It is important to strive for progress, but we must be proud of what we have already achieved. 

The event in 2021 was one of the most unforgettable memories I made during my five years in the role. As a result of the pandemic, ZOT had to be conducted online. Competition preparations were conducted online and teams competed in their home municipalities across the country. During the event, the organising team communicated over Discord and phones from their homes. Thanks to their help and contribution over the past few months, we were able to successfully execute the competition. So, I (and a few helpers) drove around our hometown and delivered cake to everyone. Their happy, surprised, and excited faces will always be a lovely memory of something meaningful we did together. 

Lana and two Scouts hold a white box.
Jasna Trapečar Pavšič

Scouting provides a lot of value to its community. It gives young people opportunities to be themselves in an accepting environment and it encourages them to explore their interests and to do the things that bring them joy. By doing so, Scouting gives young people the confidence to be themselves and share Scouting with others. 


This article is part of the Scouting Forward campaign that aims to celebrate how scouting empowers youth to become active citizens to respond to the social, economic, and environmental challenges facing our world, supported by the Erasmus+ programme.