BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – WITH all the negatives facing the younger generation, Director of Youth Geoffrey Hanley has thrown his support behind scouting organisations, noting that the youths’ involvement would assist in producing wholesome and productive citizens.
Hanley, himself a product of a scouting organisation, spoke exclusively with SKNVibes on Founder’s Day (Feb. 22) following the local observance. He explained that scouting employs a balance of discipline and fun while instilling morals and values which children could take into adulthood.
Hanley said that having looked closely at his life, he recognises the pivotal role his involvement in scouting played in his development from childhood. This, he said, coupled with the transformation he has seen in the lives of others involved in scouting, is testament to the fact that the benefits of scouting are far-reaching and long-lasting.
“We feel that once we have these kinds of organisations and the younger the children are in receiving the foundation of discipline and skills in terms of survival skills, cooking skills, knowing how to drill, the better it is. These are things that can help them throughout their life. I am a living testimony of what scouting can do in terms of the transformation, in terms of public speaking skills, organisation and so on. So, we are encouraging parents to enrol their children in one of these scouting organisations.”
Considering the importance of scouting, Hanley said he cannot underscore enough as it seeks to involve young people in activities geared at their holistic development.
“...It is extremely important for young boys and girls to get involved in organisations such as this at a very early age because it helps with their holistic development. Their public speaking ability it enhances, they learn about time management and how to attack problems in schools in terms of their weak subject areas.
“We also push patriotism in terms of the young people having an awareness for their country, respecting the flag, wearing the scout uniform with pride...These are some of the things you are guaranteed to benefit from once you are a part of the scout movement.”
Selflessness and conflict resolution are two principles that the local Assistant Scout Commissioner said are taught and are fundamental to the scouts’ development.
“Our motto is be prepared, and one of our laws is that we think of others before ourselves. So, this is something we impress upon the children in terms of making sure they go out into the community and help the elderly or try to do a good deed every day. Even if it’s helping another young person across the road, you would have been living up to your scout laws.
“We also try to instil in them techniques of how to deal with conflict. Because, what we find today, in particular among our young people, they get angry too quickly for nothing and we are trying to instil in our cub scouts and scouts that there are ways and means of settling a quarrel without it turning out to be violent.”
Presently, five scout groups are in operation on St. Kitts - the St. Georges Scout Group, Sandy Point Scout Group, Newton Ground Scout Group, Verchilds Scout Group and the Irishtown Scout Group which was recently formed.
Hanley told SKNVibes that plans are afoot to establish other groups around the island which would give youngsters more opportunities to benefit from the many experiences scouting has to offer.