EL’s youngest Bok scout

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CLARENDON High School pupil Kelsey Savage, 17, will tomorrow be awarded the pinnacle of scouting achievement – the Springbok Scouting Award.

She is the youngest woman from East London to ever achieve this award.

The hard-working, confident and courageous young woman far exceeded the requirements of receiving Springbok colours.

She spent countless hours organising a successful knitting drive for 67 Blankets for Mandela, which collected a total of 149 blankets for the needy.

OUTDOOR EXPERT: Kelsey Savage , 17, from Clarendon High School is the youngest woman to achieve Springbok Scouting Colours in East London Picture: SARAH KINGON

She led a three-day hike over a course for which she was only given the route the night before; planned and ran a three-day camp with no adult supervision; cooked a three-course meal over an open fire; and constructed a 7m high watch tower in seven hours using only rope and poles (no nails and hammers).

Troop scouter at 1st Cambridge, Murray Fennel, said: “Kelsey has far exceeded the requirements of becoming a Springbok Scout.

“She is a well- rounded, quality candidate who is a critical thinker and can tackle any problem thrown at her,” Fennel said.

Clarendon High School for Girls principal Pat Rose said: “Kelsey is an outstanding young lady. She is very organised and compassionate, versatile and hard- working.

“She goes the extra mile in everything she undertakes in a humble, quietly confident manner.

“We awarded her an honours blazer when we heard about her qualification for a Springbok Scouting award,” Rose said.

Kelsey said: “I felt ecstatic when I found out [about the award].

“It made all the matric exam stress fade away. It meant all the years of hard work had paid off. Scouting has taught me to grow in confidence, grow up and function as an adult.

“The scout’s motto [be prepared] is something I live by.

“The hardest part of the requirements was the hike. It was a real test of my mental, physical and emotional strength.

“But when we encountered problems, I was able to take charge and make the right choices to get us back on track,” Kelsey said.

“Scouting teaches you the basic things that humans used to be able to do, like making fire without flint or navigating in a forest if you’re lost.”

Her grandfather served as a scout master and her grandmother as a guide master, and passed scouting down to her father and then to her and her siblings.

While her time as a scout will officially end when she turns 18 next year, Kelsey said it will always stay part of her life as she hopes to become an assistant troop scouter and earn a “Bushman’s Thong” after receiving 15 interest badges.

A new scouting group will begin next year in Gonubie.

Children aged between eight and 11 are invited to join the cubs, while 11-18 year olds can join scouts.

For inquires, e-mail: gonubiescouts@gmail.com

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