Of Scouting and Life Changes
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Four years ago, if you see someone shy, quiet, alone in a corner, and quite the introvert, that’ll be me.
Now, if you see someone outgoing and friendly, that’ll be the same person.
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It was a drastic change of personality which happened only in six days.
Four years ago, I joined the Scouting Movement. I didn’t know why the heck I did, but I can say it was the best decision I’ve made in my seventeen years’ worth of existence. I entered a six-day summer training and a three-day summer camp. And in those nine days, I grasped something much more important than anything I’ve learned from school.
There were about eighty of us who underwent the same summer experience. That summer was no joke – it wasn’t a simple social workshop. It was grueling, and literally a torture. We were working twenty-four hours straight – from school, learning military drills and finishing obstacle courses, but with the occasional fun of physically exhausting games; back to our own rooms, making utility racks from bamboos, and memorizing signaling codes and histories. Most of us arrive at school at six in the morning and come back home by ten in the evening. Every day of training was a guarantee of a full-body fatigue.
But that level of difficulty experienced by several people together creates friendship unimaginably strong for people who’ve just met in six days.
After that summer, the lonely introvert finally belonged to a group that already treated him like a friend, and more as a brother. The bonds that were created during that summer brought so much impact on my life not simply because of the many friends I’ve met, but more of the change that I went through after meeting all of them.
Just this summer, I’ve attended the Global Young Leaders Conference held in Washington, D.C. and New York City. It was a meeting of so many talented young leaders from six continents of the world. Just imagine if I had attended such a conference during the time when I wouldn’t talk to people. That particular experience would have been a waste.
I could say I learned a lot during that conference, but I would have not learned anything at all if I had never overcome my introversion. And that, I owe to the Scouting Movement.
I have represented the school in a few leadership conferences such as the aforementioned, and also the Eighth National Congress spearheaded by the Private Secondary School Administrators Association of the Philippines – all which I would have never gone to if not for Scouting, and all which taught me so many things about leadership, but none comparable to what Scouting has taught me.
And as time goes by so amazingly fast, after four years from that significant time of my life, from being that shy kid who didn’t talk to anyone, to becoming the boy who everyone treated as his/her little brother, and to the scout leader who attended prestigious leadership summits, I am wrapping up my high school career serving a much bigger purpose than I would have ever anticipated way back then.
I am now serving the Scouting Movement as its president.