Alumni Update: Scout Leader

Alan Fernando Ramírez Mendizabal (Guatemala), Global UGRAD 2013-2014, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire

Since my early childhood, for as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved spending time outdoors. There is nothing better than a weekend in the countryside with my family and friends. In hindsight, it was just a matter of time before I joined the Scout movement.

Before spending a semester abroad in the U.S. as a Global UGRAD, I had already experienced so many crazy adventures with my scout brothers and sisters; we are a lot of things but especially a family. If getting the Global UGRAD scholarship wasn’t enough, I was placed at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire – a beautiful campus surrounded by nature. It has the majestic Chippewa river floating by it and there are several trains that lead you throughout the woods. I was there for the 2013 fall semester, and I had the privilege of seeing the color festival that it is autumn itself, and to behold the magic of a snow covered landscape.

As I said, I love nature. Spending time discovering it while being with awesome people just makes it a better experience. I went kayaking with some classmates, camping with other international students, skiing, and I even went ice fishing with a great friend of mine, Breana. Of course, loving nature also means taking care of it, and that’s how I met her – we were both in a club called Foodlums, in which we learned about low impact agriculture, organic food, and how to improve our lives as we improved the environment. I share these anecdotes with you because through all these activities I grew as a person and as a Scout.

When I came back to my country of Guatemala, my friends and I founded our own Scout group, with the intention of sharing with the next generation what we have learned, enjoyed, and experienced. We focused on demonstrating our role as protectors of nature by obeying the sixth norm of the Scout law – “we see in nature God’s work, we protect the animals and the plants.” Sometimes it’s easy to forget our role when driving our cars, using non-recyclable packages, and buying from certain brands without knowing the environmental consequences. We wanted our scouts to be better than us in that sense, to grow up as a fully aware generation, conscious of the impact we have in the environment.

Next December we will celebrate our second anniversary and I like to think we have had a positive and significant impact in the lives of our kids, our society, and the environment. As I write these lines I’m also checking the list of equipment for our next camping trip. I’m super excited to both share my experience with all of you, and because tomorrow is Saturday, which means scout activities.

Maybe next time I’ll share a little bit more about our activities and projects, and if there are any other scout UGRADs I would love to get in touch with you, or any other outdoor enthusiasts. I would like to share one last thing, the final message from Robert Baden-Powell, the father of the Scout movement, “Leave this world a little better than you found it.”

You can check out or follow my group activities on our Facebook Page


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