My passions give me purpose!

Written by Dylan Cloete, SSA Youth Influencer Western Cape

Western Cape RTC Scout programme, Monét van Antwerpen, has a rich Scouting background and has been influential in empowering both young leaders and women in the Scouting community. I chatted with Monét about her Scout journey and her outlook on life.

“I’m a clinical pharmacist in training, and in the final year of my Master’s Degree at the moment. I plan to do my community service year as a pharmacist next year. People might imagine that pharmacy and Scouting have little that ties them together. On the contrary, I feel that Scouting might have driven me towards healthcare and the desire to make an impact in communities. I aim to continue to work in government facilities where I can drive change in terms of the care we provide to patients and their families. I’m sure that has stemmed from my promise to have a duty to others. I’m also a creative adventurer at heart. I love a good fantasy adventure novel and dabble in writing myself from time to time. I’m also a freelance digital artist when I have a gap between Scouting and school, and I’m an avid plant mom”, says Monét with a grin.

“From the outside, the Scouts looked like an adventure, so I pushed to get involved. I finally managed to convince my parents that yes, I definitely had time for yet another extracurricular activity when I turned thirteen. My younger brother was a Scout alongside me, and my parents knew little about Scouts when I first joined. I’ve always found myself lucky in that way, that I could have the space to explore who I am and grow my passion without any pressure from them.

While I was invested as a Scout at the 2nd Somerset West Scout Group in 2011,  being able to attend the endless badge courses the region offered was definitely a highlight in my Scouting career. I quickly fell in love with the regional Scout community. Attending the regional badge courses opened up this door and allowed me to develop relationships with people that today I consider colleagues and friends. ” she says with a smile.  “As I’ve mentioned, it was here that I got to enter into the Scouting network. Additionally, I was able to explore exciting new skills and activities that I would not have found a way to do otherwise. PLTU (Patrol Leader’s Training Unit) cannot go unmentioned. I’ve learnt my biggest lessons about working with people and leading teams as a staff member on this course.

More recently, I had the privilege to be the Chief Judge of the Gordon’s Shield Competition in 2022. This was a full-circle moment that made me take a step back and appreciate the Scouting journey. Gordon’s was always my favourite competition as a Scout and I have fond memories of slaving away over STA’s, encouraging each other to get that campsite “perfect” and the general excitement of competing using all kinds of Scout skills. Being able to stand on the other side of the competition was an exciting challenge and I’d encourage every Scouter out there to try and run a competition or badge course in the future.

I have had the privilege of embarking on an incredible journey within Scouting, and now, as RTC Scout Programme for the Western Cape Region of SCOUTS South Africa, I am excited to share my vision. The RTCs that have come before me have done an incredible job of setting up the regional badge courses, and I hope to continue improving and expanding the system. A few months into my role and I’m still finding new goals popping up every week! One goal is to transition some of the more oversubscribed courses into Districts, to both increase accessibility, provide more leadership opportunities for Scouters and Scouts and spread knowledge as much as we can. Secondly, I’d like to get Air Scouts back on the map, including re-establishing the air courses. 

I recently attended Scout Wood Badge as a participant, which opened my eyes to the bigger picture in Scouting and redefined my understanding of the goals of our Movement. One specific area I think we need to improve on in our region is our duty to others by having a greater focus on service to our communities. Currently, we have the National Challenge driving us to achieve SDGs, but I’d like to explore how we can implement these better in the Scout Programme in the future. 

Growth is one of the main aims of SCOUTS South Africa currently, and our Regional Commissioner, Nimmy Abrahams, has done an amazing job of driving this so far. With new Groups opening and some current Groups struggling to keep their doors open, I want to be able to offer the support that these Troops will need to get back on their feet. However, as with all these projects, it cannot be done alone and I’ll be working towards expanding the Support Team Member Scout Programme team. I’d like to see more of our younger Scouters get involved in regional activities and regional leadership roles. Over the last few months I’ve learnt so much, so I hope to open the door for others to have the same experience,” concludes Monét.

In closing, I asked Monét what her motto for life is. Her response “Find what you’d die for, and then live for it.” I’ve always found that my passions give me purpose in life, and I love that my passions keep me endlessly busy.”