scouts-l Mail Archive for July of 2000: Answers to Lone Scouting in Egypt Inquiries
Alexandria Lone Scout (scouts_alex@HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Jul 27 2000 - 21:18:08 CDT
There have been several (30+ in the past couple of weeks), inquiries about
our activities here in Alexandria, Egypt. Rather than answer each one
individually this is a broadcast. Some of the topics addressed will probably
give cause to some threads on Scouts-L. This is most true of the organizing
of a scout unit at the American School. Flexibility is the key to making
scouting work in difficult environments. Here goes. Sorry it it so long but
there were a number of topics to address.
What puts fuul and falafel on the table and a roof over our heads is that I
am a financial specialist/consultant with an USAID contractor in Alexandria,
Egypt. Alex is about 123 miles north of Cairo on the Med. The city has about
2.5 million people in the city proper and another 3-5 million (depends on
who counts) in the immediate area.
In addition to work I am husband of one wife and father of two lads. I am
also active in the English-speaking community church, a newly minted member
of the English-medium school's board, member of the Sudanese school's
oversight committee, and consulting member of the school's scout committee.
I am also the SM (working title for Lone Scout Friend and Counselor) of a
BSA Lone Scout group. Last season we had two scouts. The older scout
completed his Eagle Scout on April
17, 2000. The younger scout will complete his Life Scout on August 7. We had
his Scoutmaster's Conference just before my solo return to Egypt last week.
He is nearly done with the merit badge requirements for Eagle Scout. He and
Mom will return here in about three weeks. Next year there will be only one
scout since the older lad graduated from high school in June and will remain
in the U.S. for college. There aren't enough interested people to get a
troop going so the Lone
Scout route works well for us. BSA won't let us register non-Americans as
Lone Scouts but has no problem if there was a troop. We might bend the rules
if someone really wanted to participate.
My wife keeps the house running (guys, this is no minor exercise) and has
time for visiting friends, shopping in Cairo, and assisting with all manner
of church activities.
We are trying to get some official scouting at the school for next year. It
gets complicated because the scout group is school based and needs to be
co-ed. For various reasons neither GSUSA or BSA will allow this so we may
create two units on paper and run it as one. GSUSA has more rules and is
much less flexible than the BSA's Direct Service Council. Neither will allow
mixed gender though. We came very close to registering as either British or
Canadians to be able to do the co-ed thing. We still may. The Egyptian
parents (50% of the families) want no part of a British based organization
but are open to Canadian. They would would like American. Campfire turned us
down flat. It gets circular which is a headache.
Last year the Lone Scouts did a number of interesting things. We visited
every site imaginable here in Alexandria. We also visited El Alamein 60
miles to the west of Alex; visited the Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza, Cairo;
climbed and camped on Mt. Sinai; snorkled in the Gulf of Aqaba; and visited
Luxor, the Valley's of the Kings and Queens, Karnak and other sites in Upper
This summer we hit London, Washington, DC on the 4th of July and puttered
around San Diego for a bit. The younger lad heads to summer camp with his
old San Diego based troop on Maui the first full week of August and then
returns here in Egypt August 18th. It works. It isn't backpacking in the
Sierra Nevada which I did as a lad and younger leader but it is high
adventure scouting in some unusual places.
This coming season we are planning to hit Siwa, Petra in Jordan, Cairo again
(it is just two hours by fast train), and possibly Qatar or Kuwait where we
will co-op with either BSA T-938 or T-970 for a week of adventure. We may
also co-op with BSA T-701 in Cairo on one or more of their outings depending
on what is on offer. With just 1-2 scouts it is easy to fit in stuff. It is
difficult to do real camping in a country where the police take a jaundiced
eye to foreigners
doing recreational camping on their turf.
If you are interested, follow the link in the signature block to our
website. The summer images aren't posted yet but the highlights through the
end of school are listed with images. I hope to
have the Luxor photos scanned this weekend and posted by Sunday. There are
five rolls of film so not everything will be posted.
Yours in Scouting,
Alexandria Lone Scouts, BSA
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