Scouts earn YOPEY nomination for work in Swaziland
SCOUTS from Crow Country earned a nomination for a prestigious award after paying their own way to Africa to join a building project. Hester Potterill from Royston and Mica Taylor from Melbourn were among 41 Explorer and Network Scouts who spent two weeks
SCOUTS from Crow Country earned a nomination for a prestigious award after paying their own way to Africa to join a building project.
Hester Potterill from Royston and Mica Taylor from Melbourn were among 41 Explorer and Network Scouts who spent two weeks in Swaziland last year, helping improve facilities at the country's national scout centre.
Their efforts earned them a nomination for 2010 Hertfordshire Young People of the Year (YOPEY) award, a contest which recognises the outstanding achievements of young people.
Mica described the trip as "life changing", and said two abiding memories of her trip were the spiders and the state of the toilets.
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She said: "The smell was something else, you could chat to the person next door and the spiders - they were as big as your hand."
"But it taught us so much about other people's lives and how we live back home. Despite their problems people seemed really happy always laughing and singing."
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Swaziland is one of the poorest countries in Southern Africa, and the scouts spent their time at the centre cutting steps, burying water pipes and, with scouts from other nations, constructing a BMX track and a play area for local children. A vegetable garden also had to be fenced off from the village goats.
Mica and Hester each raised �1,350 to fund the expedition, on which they were joined by Steve Renwick, a builder from Royston who is also an Explorer Scouts leader.
They also took items with them, including bikes, clothes, and sports equipment, which they distributed to Neighbourhood Care Points - a cross between a primary school, orphanage and day-care centre.
Bheki Metfula, Swaziland's Scout Commissioner for Development, said: "We are so grateful to the Scouts of Hertfordshire for the generous contribution they have made in improving the quality of life for the various communities in the valley of Buhlebyeza."
The pair are now in with a chance of winning a top prize of �1,000 in the YOPEY contest, which carries a total prize pot of �2,600 thanks to contributions from sponsors GlaxoSmithKline, North Herts district council and Crow Country firms Johnson Matthey and TTP Group.
There is still time to enter an inspirational young person for the awards by visiting http://www.yopey.org. Entrants must be aged from 10 to 25, and should live, work or study in Hertfordshire. Young people can nominate themselves.