Nekta Main Ekta Hind Ki Visheshta” (Unity in diversity) is the speciality of India,” smiled Sree Lekha when asked about her experience at the KVS State Bharat Scouts and Guides Rajya Puraskar Testing Camp, hosted by the Chennai region. A week-long event, it was held at the K.V. 1 and 2 Schools in Tambaram for the scouts and guides from 18 divisions across the country.

Testing ground

Sree Lekha came from Hyderabad and was thrilled that this experience highlighted the concept of their school “K.V.’ism” that focussed on being “Miniature India.” It is here that we come across national integration at its best and our leadership qualities are honed and brought out. It was strange the beginning but we leave with great memories.”

The Rajya Puraskar Testing Camp is the testing ground for these youngsters before they step into the next and final phase, which will be for the Rashtrapathi Puraskar, the President’s Award. Night had fallen as they were getting ready for the inauguration of the campfire. Manjari Sharma, the AGSOE, KVS Guides from Mumbai, waves her hands towards the various tents in the sprawling grounds. “These were done by the guides as part of their test. They learn to make improvised shelters, learn different kinds of knots and lashings that will enable them to make chairs, tables and beds with the available material during any emergency, cook without utensils and above all, be true to the guide motto ‘Be Prepared’ at any time, at any cost for any emergency.”

Krithika from K.V. R.W.F., Karnataka region, said that this camp was a great experience as it meant not only learning and fun but one of great adjustment too. From eating to the use of toilets and sharing, we learnt to adjust with good humour. For those of us who had left home for the very first time to be in a camp like this, it was memorable and we are already looking forward to the next one.”

“Learning, sharing and teaching other guides was part of the fun of the camp,” says Swati Jayan from Thrissur.

Little Jenna of Bhuvaneshwar and Janki Sharma of Tuglakabad, New Delhi animatedly spoke of their tour of Chennai. “It is so clean, the people are so friendly and the food so delicious,” they say. Samvartika from the Kolkata region vigorously nodded her head as she said she “just loved the rasam” and was planning to get the recipe from her Chennai friends to try it out back home.

For the 510 Guides and the 590 Scouts who were attending the camp, this was not just a testing ground of their capabilities but also one of bonding, sharing and a great learning experience.

The camp taught them to be true to the guide motto ’be prepared’.

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