Inaugural TOT big boost for sea scouting

Any organisation that lacks strong and organised leadership will not augur well for the long-term survival as well as the future of such body. This is taken seriously in the scouting world whereby scouting leadership is seen as the main asset and key to scouting success. Good leaders would help to produce good scouts who later on would become leaders of the worldwide movement. In scouting, the leadership training is known as Wood Badge training course.

Wood Badge is a training course for scouters which finally results in their receiving a certificate, a small neckerchief, a leather slide, and two small wooden beads on a leather thong. Lord Baden-Powell (BP), the founder of scouting, directed the first course in 1919 and gave each of the participants one of the beads which he had captured from the African chieftain Dinizulu. Thus did the course name develop, for its symbol was literally a badge of wood. Wood Badge is, further, scouting’s premier training course.

BadenPowell designed it so that scouters could learn, in as practical a way possible, the skills and methods of scouting. It is first and foremost, learning by doing. The members of the course are formed into patrols and these into a troop.

The entire troop lives in the out-of-doors for a week, camping, cooking their own meals, and practicing scout skills. The uniqueness of scouting is the patrol method. The use of the natural gang of six or eight boys – now girls also included – who elect their own leader and plan and carry out many of their own activities is a democracy in microcosm.

Here young men and women learn the give and take of working with people as they must surely do all their lives. Here, too, they are given leadership and learning opportunities which prepare them for their future roles as citizens. It is for this reason that it is so crucial that all adults understand thoroughly the patrol method. Last week, namely on 10 and 11 November, the Sarawak Branch of the Malaysian Scout Association (Persekutuan Pengakap Malaysia cawangan Sarawak) or PPMS in collaboration with the Sekretariat Pengakap Udara Sarawak (SPUS) held Train the Trainers Course also known as Training Of Trainers (TOT) for Pengakap Kanak-Kanak (PKK) Udara (air cub scouts) for the first time. It was meant to equip sea scouters with the necessary skills and knowledge to run their troops and therefore a big boost for them.

TOT course was held at the compound of the PPMS Headquarters at Jalan Batu Lintang, Kuching. Programme Coordinator of this inaugural event NurEeffandi bin Mohd Duchuki said the two-day course was participated by leaders of cub scouts or PKK from primary schools in Matang, Padawan, Serian and Asajaya regions. Also involved in the course was the Drone Unit of Malaysia Civil Defence Force (APM), he pointed out. “The course is aimed at exposing the cub scout leaders and those in-charge of the primary school scouts to various matters needed in their leadership in forming Air Scout Unit.

“Among these is their knowledge on drones, and as such we have kindly invited the Drone Unit of APM to get involved in this course and I use this opportunity to record my thanks and appreciation for their involvement,” NurEeffendi pointed out. Participants were also briefed and trained by the Sarawak Air Scout Secretariat (SPUS) on the Badge Scheme or Skim Lencana in the PKK Tunas Udara syllabus including Origamy, Arts and Craft, Rescue and Safety, Air Crew as well as Basic Drone with the concept of “Play More, Learn More and Get More” to attract the interest of primary school pupils into the scouting movement, especially into becoming Air Scouts.

Sarawak Chief Scout Commissioner Captain Zainuddin Tan Sri Hamdan, a highly experienced pilot, said Pengakap KK Tunas Udara is still new and alien to Sarawak communities and the whole of Malaysia and this inaugural course held in Sarawak is hoped to be an eye-opener for the state and the nation as a whole. Even though the air cub scouting is only ten to 12 years old in the state, in the course, leaders were given exposure to the knowledge of handling drones apart from search and rescue knowledge by leaders with experience and skills in such fields.

Capt Zainuddin hoped SPUS would further activate courses and training and extend these to teachers involved in the scouting movement in Sarawak, especially those taking charge of the air scouts in the schools. BP would be very elated that his movement has now risen up to the sky in Sarawak. TOT first course was not only an eye-opener; it was a big boost for sea scouting in the Land of Hornbills.