2014 marks the celebration of 100 years of Scouting in Fiji, but up until now, Rover Scouts have not been a part of this National Scout Organisation. Through the review and development of the youth program, in conjunction with a volunteer through the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development program in Australia, is was determined that it was now time to introduce Rover Scouts to Fiji.
While in some parts of the world, and especially in Australia, Scouting is mostly community based, with Scout groups not generally organised through schools (with some exceptions). In Fiji, Scout groups and Leaders work through the school system to provide exciting and educational Scouting programs to youth all over the country.
It was decided by Fiji Scouts that the best way to run Rovers in Fiji would be through the community, as Rovers are much more self managed and organised, and do not need to rely on a Scout Leader to conduct activities and service projects. This was a relatively new concept to be implemented, and that's where the partnership with Scouts SA was going to prove very positive.
Scouts SA sent a team of young leader trainers over to Fiji in February 2014, to work with the Fiji National Training Team, to develop and conduct the first Rover Training Course and kick-start Rovering. The Rover section of Scouting focuses on fellowship and service, and in Fiji, Rovers will play an active role in developing and implementing community development projects. These projects will engage young people and address basic needs right in at the village, settlement, town and city levels. This provides both learning and training opportunities for Rovers to become positive young leaders within their society, but to also contribute to the overall development of Fiji.
This inaugural Rover Training Course has paved the way for Rover aged Scouts and other leaders to understanding what Rovers is all about, and enable them to conduct the course around Fiji to help grow the newly founded section. A major highlight of the course was the opportunity to invest the first Fiji Rover Scout. This was an important aspect of the training as only a Rover can invest another Rover, and so it was a great honour to be able to start this tradition in Fiji. It was a a very proud moment to then witness that new Fiji Rover Scout invest the next 6 Rovers, each from a different district of Fiji, so they may be able to go ahead and start their own Rover Crews and conduct investitures and ceremonies of their own.
As a result of this joint effort of trainers, the Australian team has provided Fiji Scouts with the tools to go ahead and provide new opportunities for its youth. But the partnership goes both ways. Through our time spent with Fiji Scouts, we had some pretty amazing experiences. We have been reminded why we are Scouts. We have been reminded why it is so important to give our time and to exchange knowledge with other cultures and new friends. And most importantly, we have been reminded of the Scouting Fundamentals, and no matter where we are in the world, there are people that live by the same ideals and values, and that want the best for not only the societies that they live in, but the rest of the world too.