Written by Aimée Granzier, SSA Youth Influencer Eastern Cape South
It was early on a sunny Saturday morning when the 1st Cambridge Scouts eagerly came together to do their community service. 1st Cambridge Scout Group is located in East London, and it is the Group I joined when I moved from Port Elizabeth to East London about four months ago. As a new Scouter at 1st Cambridge, I was responsible for organising this clean-up, and I was excited to do some community service with my new Scout Group.
We paired up the Scouts and started to walk alongside Bonza Bay road to look for litter. When we first started, we found very little litter and I questioned whether we had chosen the right location to do our clean-up. However, it did not take us long to discover the pollution. We came to a section of grass that looked clean at first appearance, but looking closer, hidden in the thick grass were piles of litter.
Three Scouts took it upon themselves to clean the rubbish that was blocking a nearby storm drain. Working together, they took turns to reach into the gutter to pull out a handful of litter. With every reach into the gutter, there was a “woah!” or a “this just doesn’t stop!”. The Scouts were in total disbelief at how much rubbish was blocking the storm drain and they managed to fill a bag by cleaning it out. A little further on, the rest of the Scouts were working to clear the litter hidden in the grass. Working together, the Scouts kept their spirits high while cleaning and jokingly shared some of their litter discoveries.
The Scouts were in disbelief at how much rubbish blocked the storm drain
We had initially planned to cover 6 km in our clean-up, but we only covered 2 km as the majority of the clean-up was spent focusing on this small stretch of grass which was overgrown and had become a dumping ground. At the end of the clean-up, we managed to collect more than 22 bags full of litter. Although thoroughly tired, there was a sense of pride and accomplishment in the Troop that we had managed to work together and that we made such a difference in our community.
After the clean-up, I talked to some of the Scouts about why they think it is important to do community clean-ups. Jayden, one of the boys who had cleaned out the gutter stated passionately: “It is important to help conserve our oceans and protect our wildlife. I think it is important to clean up so the trash doesn’t land up getting eaten and also to clean the area around you. If we didn’t clean the litter, animals would eat it thinking it is food and it would pile up in the oceans.”
Even though clean-ups are not easy, nor the most enjoyable of tasks, the 1st Cambridge Scouts have an amazing friendship bond which helped them keep their spirits high all throughout the activity and made the moment memorable. The Scouts displayed an enthusiasm for serving their community and stayed true to the 8th Scout Law, “a scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties” whilst working to keep their neigbourhood litter free.