The Boot

15 May, 2015

I was “recently” Booted from my Rover Crew, the preferred end to a successful Rovering career (in Australia, a Rover who turns 26 is Booted from their Crew in a celebration of what can be up to 20 years of Scouting as a youth member.)

Over my eight years in Rovering, I was able to achieve many things, including the knighting of several Squires, terms as Crew Leader, VRC Training Officer and Assistant Chair, a number of years on my Region Team, helping to run Mudbash, Rover Dinner, an Advanced Course in a different state, and the Victorian Contingent to two national moots. I hold the Rover Woodbadge, Baden-Powell Scout Award and WF Waters Rover Service Award.

In short, I like to think of myself as widely respected within the Victorian Rover community.

Gotta get a picture

Saying "au revoir" ... I don't think that Jess understand what "silly picture" means

After 19 years in Scouting, I can confidently say that the Rover Section was the one that had the greatest impact on me, the one that helped me grow the most as a person. some of this is because of the strong social element in Rovers, but mostly it stems from the way Rovers goes about the Aims of Scouting; promoting the physical, intellectual, social, spiritual and emotional development of its members, using the Scouting fundamentals to make young people better citizens of Australia and the world.

It disappoints me a lot when I hear people of all ages describe it as less than that, as a car club, a social club, or just a bunch of troublemakers.

I see it as a supportive place to step out of your comfort zone, to try different things — to “find yourself” if I can talk like a complete tosspot for a moment. I know full well that there are people who do not live up to these ideals that I’ve listed, and who are there just to race, to party, or even to cause a bit of mischief.

Being all arty and whatnot

Trying on a new shirt

So after all that, the big question: Am I sad to be leaving Rovers?

Not really, no.

For starters, I remain involved with the section for now while I see out various terms of office on Mafeking and the BPSA Support Team. I’m also a part of The Moot team, so I have plenty of opportunities to remain involved and in touch.

But while I am happy to stick around for a while and add value to the Rover Section where I can, I am also keen to get while the going’s good — I have no intention of being one of those Booted Rovers who hangs on for as long as possible, with a death grip that would shame a rockclimbing instructor.

A strange mist descended upon Mafeking as a slight rain drifted the paddock. In the passing glare a ghostly smear of laneway lights struck like the fingers of winter and as it tore across the field, a gale blasted a chill throughout.

Yet, here amongst bush scrub and soaked eucalypts, something had changed in me. Memories of flames and the eyes within, simplicity, attraction: love.

The fires still burn in campsites, but the warmth is gone, as with the faces; I scarcely remember any. Here, in this lonely chill, I feel the tide of Rovers ebb away and I can no longer hold any vestige of what once was and that my heart aches for what is missing.

Mudbash Fleeting - by “Dad” a former Ken Tickell Rover

I have been feeling the tide of Rovers ebb away since I was 21, when the first ‘generation’ of Rovers I had known when I first came up began to slip away… and I suppose that helped me to remember that my time was coming to an end.

I mentioned at the start that a Boot is the preferred end to a Rovering career, but a close friend of mine also finished up their time in Rovers at the end of 2014, for different reasons. We worked together in a range of things as my time came to an end and while I got to be the centre of attention at my very own Boot Party, they didn’t because they “didn’t make it to the end.”

This mentality is something that I have disagreed with for a number of years. I believe that a person who finishes Rovering before 26 who has found another organisation that meets their needs better than ours is just as worthy of celebrating their achievements as someone who is leaving just because they hit the age cap.

Maybe even more so.