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Be of service...[edit]

Rovers are the third branch of Scouting with a strong focus on community engagement and social inclusion. Rovers develops leadership qualities and encourages Crew Members to grow themselves and find their path in life.

Rovers is open to all young men and women aged between 18-30. Being a Rover gives you access to a world of adventure, excitement, and challenge! You also don’t have to have been a Cub or Scout or Guide to join Rovers.

Rovering can also enhance your CV and increase your value within the employment market as it not only expands physical abilities but also develops character skills such as leadership, problem solving abilities and independence, which are highly sought after within our current society.

Are you making a difference in your world?

Rover Crew[edit]

A group of Rovers is known as a “Crew” and each Rover Crew is different, tailoring its activities to the requirements of its members. Crews vary in size from a handful of members to as many as 20. Most Crews meet monthly depending on how active the Crew is. Becoming a member of a Rover crew will provide you with a challenge and the opportunity to develop your personal abilities, as well as learning plenty of new skills.

Crews also thrive on social activities such as harbour cruises, inter-crew activities, sailing, hiking, camping, Minute to Win it Challenges and national and international events known as “Moots”.

Crew Council[edit]

This is the organising body of the Crew elected by the Crew to organise and run the Crew for one year. The Council consists of a Rover Scout Leader, Crew Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and two or three Rovers. Only invested Rovers can be elected to this Council, and this is where all decisions are made. To be elected to this Council is an honour not to be taken lightly.

With no two Crews being alike it is difficult to set a standard, but here are a few pointers:

  • The Council must be aware of the needs and capabilities of the Crew.
  • The Council must not over-extend the Crew. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, and that is not what we are looking for. Whatever happens, keep the fun element alive.
  • Maintain democracy in the Crew. Arguments can always be settled if discussed in an adult manner.
  • The Council has judicial powers. Crew members acting out of line can be called to appear before the Council. This is the most unpleasant task a Council may have to perform.
  • Avoid your Crew Council becoming a secret society. Take all decisions, programmes and activities to the Crew through the Crew in Council.

What do Rovers do?[edit]

The Rover programme is built around four areas of development:

Personal – Grow yourself on a personal level, learn to construct a CV, get your driver’s license and find your spiritual path.
Movement – Develop an understanding of the Scout and Cub sections, involve yourself with running a Pack or Troop meeting/event.
Community – Review your community and establish how to improve it with an action plan, consider doing a community service project.
Leadership – Ultimately develop yourself to become a better citizen and leader in your Crew.

Rovers could be described as a fellowship of the open air and service. You’ll find there’s an extensive range of activities open to you, and socially, you’ll be mixing with a group of young adults doing the things you want to do. Every Rover Crew is different, and tailors its activities to the requirements of its members.

Outdoor activities such as bush walking; caving, canoeing, ski touring, rock-climbing and scuba diving are all important parts of many Rover Crews’ calendars. In fact, when it comes to Rover activities, imagination is your only limit. Rovers will develop your ability to lead other young people to adventure, and you will appreciate the value of helping other people. The word “service” is synonymous with Rovering.

The friends you make in Rovers will be lifelong friends. You will plan and manage your Crew’s activities, and learn the value of teamwork and co-operation. Rovering has so much to offer; you will find the decision to join an easy one to make.

Aims of Rovering[edit]

The Organisational Rules of SCOUTS South Africa state the following as regards to the aims of Rovering:

“Rover Scouting is a Brotherhood of the open air and of service, the purposes of which are: to provide encouragement for the self-training of Rovers in citizenship and service, to encourage Rovers to pursue careers useful to themselves, and to render service to the Scout Movement and the Community”.

Rover scouting offers a series of challenging awards, cumulating in the Baden Powell award. There is no formal programme but Crews are encouraged to establish their own, based on the needs and interests of their members, planned at their discretion.

Becoming a member[edit]

Before being admitted to a Rover Crew, one must have attained the age of eighteen and not yet twenty-six.

One joins a Rover Crew as a Recruit irrespective of whether one comes from Scouts, Guides or as a newcomer. Rover Crews do not always meet on a weekly basis and therefore a three-month probation period is set, and after this time the Recruit is invested as a Squire. The non-Scout is first to be invested as a Scout, and must be prepared to accept the Scout Promise and Law and commit him or herself to the Rover Crew’s particular programme after acceptance by the Crew (and vice versa). When the Recruit is invested as a Squire, he or she then chooses a Sponsor from the available invested Rovers. The non-Scout must familiarise him or herself, assisted by the Sponsor, with the many Scouting skills.

A Service Task (or quest) is decided upon between the Squire and Sponsor, and this task should be of such a nature as to give the Squire a “taste of what is to come”. A word of advice to Sponsors don’t overdo it – you might scare them off! The booklets “What is Scouting” and “What is Rovering” and also BP’s “Rovering to Success” must be read.

Once you are a Rover you have a vote, and may also possibly receive a key to the Den, as happens in some Crews, thus allowing you to make full use of it in your spare time, as a quiet place, or for study.

How to join[edit]

To join you need to locate your nearest Rover crew and get in touch with the Crew Leader, or the Regional Rovers co-ordinator.

The Sponsor[edit]

Every recruit must, after completing his or her acceptance period, choose for him or herself a Sponsor, who is to be an invested Rover Scout. In the case of a new Rover Crew with no invested Rovers the Sponsor may be chosen from the squiring Crew. It is up to the Squire to choose a Sponsor, not the Rover Scout Leader to appoint one. In the case of a particular Rover being chosen too often, the Leader should take some form of action. Something can obviously be learned from this popular Rover, so take note.

A person cannot become a Squire if they know nothing about Rovers, so after allowing a suitable probation period to get to know the Crew, he or she then chooses a Sponsor. A period of service is set by the Crew for the Squire and a programme for that period is drawn up between the Sponsor and the Squire. Probation and service times differ from Crew to Crew, but a three-month period seems to be the average.

During the squireship period the Sponsor has some weighty responsibilities. If the Squire is a non-Scout he or she will have to get through some training in Scouting skills, and recruits must be made aware of the Scout Promise and Law, looking at it from an adult point of view. It is the Sponsor’s duty to make the Squire understand the ways of Rovering and the Crew’s traditions. The Sponsor places the importance of independence upon the Squire, showing him or her that the job means everything. By concentrating on the fact that the Squire must consolidate him or herself, he or she will learn “stickability”, confidence and determination, and even more important, will not be a burden to anyone.

The Sponsor who “talks down” to the Squire will not make a success of the task. Do not assume a superior attitude, Rovers are just not like that, they are on an equal footing in the Crew, with the Sponsor obviously being the more experienced member.

When all the above is complete, the Sponsor will prepare the Squire for his or her Vigil. Nowhere else in Scouting is one required to look so deeply within oneself before an investiture, than as a Rover. The Sponsor must be ready to assist the Squire with the Vigil. The Sponsor never questions the Squire on the Vigil; after all, a Scout’s Honour is to be trusted. Because of this, more often than not a lifelong friendship is formed (nothing sloppy or sentimental) but a solid, strong, clean friendship based on mutual understanding, tolerance and appreciation.

Self-examination before investiture[edit]

The final step that you are required to take before you are admitted to Investiture as a Rover is to submit yourself to some form of self-examination, which is in some sense a summing up of all we have said about the Scout Law and Promise, and about committing yourself to service. Finally, it is an attempt to get you to assess yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses, and your intentions against the background of Rovering

Lone and Deep Sea Rovers[edit]

Provision has been made within the Scout Movement to provide Rovering to young people who, because of various circumstances, cannot join their closest Crew and have joined the Merchant or South African Navy permanently. A Lone Rover is registered at Area Scout Headquarters and with the Area Rover Advisory Council, and is responsible to a Lone Commissioner appointed for that function.

Deep Sea Rovers are usually Sea Scouts who wish to continue in the Scouting Movement, and they are to be registered in the same way as a Lone Rover.

Country and Honorary Members[edit]

Once a Squire has been given their epaulettes (in other words, been invested as a Rover) he or she can never give them up. He or she may stop attending meetings, but should be placed on a “non register”, thus becoming a country member. It is important to maintain contact with this type of Rover, especially for those special traditional functions and large projects which cannot be coped with by the Crew on their own through lack of numbers. Their advice, knowledge, experience and “remember when” stories can be invaluable to Recruits, Squires and Rovers alike.

Honorary members should be few and far between. These are usually people who for many years have assisted and supported the Crew. By way of example, to help overcome some of the mystery and so-called secrecy surrounding the Rover Crew, it is often worthwhile inviting the Group Scouter to become an honorary member, thus giving him or her a better understanding of the Crew and allowing him or her to act as a buffer between the Crew and the Group Committee. These members enjoy a similar status to that of country members in that they are able to join in events and ceremonies of the Crew but are not able to vote on issues raised at general meetings of the Crew.

Rover's Den[edit]

Baden Powell wrote in his book Rovering to Success “It is not possible to run Rovers efficiently without a Den.”

The Den is to be under Rover management and is out of bounds to non-Crewmembers. This “taboo” might cause some complications with other branches of the Group, as some Group Committee Chairmen think all belongs to them. It is better then to have a Group Scouter to act as a buffer between the Crew and the rest of the Group, and make the GSM an Honorary Member of the Crew.

Keep the Crew and Den shrouded in mystery!

A den should be easily accessible to avoid crossing someone else’s property, as it always leads to trouble. If you are building a new den, do so on Scout property. The majority of Rover Crews have their dens in a room somewhere in the attic or basement of the Scout Hall. Building a new den from the foundation up is like no other project; it brings the Crew together as no other project ever will. When planning and designing the den, remember that there must be a meeting area, a ceremonial area, a kitchen and toilet facility (if there is no existing one nearby). Keep the kitchen within earshot of the meeting area to allow the coffee maker to hear what is being discussed!

Rover awards[edit]

See also[edit]