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A heartfelt journey to scouting excellence

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The journey of Katherine Williams is not just a tale of accomplishments but a heartwarming narrative of self-discovery, camaraderie, and resilience within the scouting community.

Katherine Williams has etched her name in the history of scouting, achieving the coveted Springbok Scout Award in just six months. Picture: Danie van der Lith

The city of Kimberley just never seems to run out of amazing surprises. In the latest testament to the quality of the city’s citizens, young Katherine Williams has etched her name in the history of scouting, achieving the coveted Springbok Scout Award in just six months.

Katherine’s journey is not just a tale of accomplishments but a heartwarming narrative of self-discovery, camaraderie, and resilience within the scouting community.

This young lady’s scouting story unfolds with a touch of serendipity. “It happened by chance that my grandmother’s friend had asked her if she would like to go with her to Rooifontein Wildlife Club to see the animals on the farm,” Katherine recalls. This simple invitation led to a life-changing encounter when they drove past Scouts on camp that weekend.

Katherine’s life is surrounded by scouting, and achieving her springbok is testament to that. Picture: Danie van der Lith

“One of my friends was a Scout at the time and ‘dragged’ me out of the car while I was wearing “plakkies,” she said. The rest, as they say, is history. “I spent most of the day with them, and I enjoyed the lessons that were given. When I got home, I asked my father if I could join Scouts.”

However, the journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. Katherine, like countless Scouts globally, faced the unexpected curveball of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the major challenges that not only me but other Scouts faced was when we had to close down due to COVID-19,” she recounts.

The pandemic disrupted the rhythm of scouting life, halting essential advancement tasks. Additionally, the troop faced the poignant loss of their scout group leader. “It was a sad time, as we had no idea what was going to happen to our troop at the time,” she reflects. Months passed with uncertainty, but as Katherine affirms, “eventually, we were able to get back.”

In her scouting adventures, Katherine discovered the profound impact of various activities. For example, hiking, she shares, “taught me to be patient because while hiking, you have to hike at the pace of the slowest hiker.”

Katherine receives her Sprinbok badge from her father, Bruce Williams. Picture: Danie van der Lith

Camping became a space for knowledge exchange, she told the DFA, a place to share and learn. Construction and pioneering activities, where trust in the team is paramount, left an indelible mark on her understanding of reliance and teamwork.

Katherine says that when she first ventured into scouting, she was “very withdrawn and quiet”, but scouting became the catalyst for her personal transformation.

“As I began to become more comfortable, I started to become confident,” she said beaming. This newfound confidence extended beyond scouting, shaping her interactions in other aspects of life. “Before I started Scouts, I would not go up to people to introduce myself, but now I will do it without a second thought,” she affirms.

Leadership, a cornerstone of scouting, became a valuable life lesson for Katherine and taking ownership of tasks, both as a junior and senior Scout, became a defining principle for her. “Leadership is one of the most important lessons that I learned,” she says, “Scouts teaching Scouts is one of the foundations of Scouting,” she adds, emphasising the cycle of learning and passing on knowledge.

To those aspiring to achieve the Springbok Scout Award, Katherine imparts simple yet profound advice: “The journey is not easy, but if you put in the time and effort, you will be able to achieve it.” Acknowledging the occasional overwhelming feeling, she reassures, “It’s OK to feel overwhelmed from time to time as it comes with the territory. And that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but of being strong.”

Amidst the challenges, Katherine cherishes the lighter moments. Recounting a memorable incident, she shares a tale of resilience and humour.

“It happened about 2 years ago when my troop and I were competing in an event with other scout troops. At the event, I took part in the backwards running race and fell, breaking not one but both of my wrists.” Her father’s words at the time encapsulate the spirit of scouting: “You either go big or go home.”

Katherine lives her life by the scouting code, and through that is an inspiration to other scouts. Picture: Danie van der Lith

Scouting, for Katherine, goes beyond personal growth; it’s a journey of understanding and connection. “It has helped me to understand different cultures and religions,” she affirms. Emphasising the importance of community, she adds, “Helping others costs you nothing but a bit of time.”

Looking ahead, Katherine plans to stay connected with scouting, assisting the Cubs and other troops. “I also want to help my friends in the scouting movement to also achieve the Springbok Award,” she told the DFA with obvious determination.

For Katherine, scouting has become a family affair, reinforcing the belief that family extends beyond blood relations.

“If it had not been for my fellow scouts, I don’t believe I would have made it this far,” she humbly acknowledges. Her father’s role as the troop scout added another layer of motivation, and Katherine expresses gratitude to her mother for her unwavering support. “She gave up many evenings and weekends to give me this opportunity, and for that, I will always be grateful.”

In the heartwarming tale of Katherine Williams, we find a narrative not just of scouting achievements but of friendship, growth, and the enduring spirit of the scouting community. Her journey embodies the essence of scouting — a journey of self-discovery, camaraderie, and the enduring spirit of adventure.

Her motto, which she lives by, is from a diminutive but powerful character in one of the Star Wars episodes. “Do or do not, there is no try.”

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