The foundation of our program is the South African Scout Program, which has a system of Laws and a Promise, a commitment to a standard of behaviour. Without committing to these two elements of the Scouts Program, the child or adult cannot be a part of our Programme. This is, I believe part of the reason we have such high success with our participants. They not only know and have internalised these Laws but they live by them outside of the program. We utilize various activities to re-inforce these Laws including a self regulating mechanism called the Court of Honour. The CoH is where the children self regulate their behaviours and any issue with poor discipline is dealt with.
The Laws are:
1. A Scout’s honour is to be trusted.
2. A Scout is loyal.
3. A Scout’s duty is to be useful and to help others.
4. A Scout is a friend to all and a brother/sister to every other Scout.
5. A Scout is courteous.
6. A Scout is a friend to animals.
7. A Scout obeys orders.
8. A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties.
9. A Scout is thrifty.
10. A Scout is clean in thought, word and deed.
Keep The Dream196 has added 2 more for our province because of the nature of the issues confronting our
11. A Scout does not fall in love. In Limpopo if a child has a boyfriend or girlfriend they are having sex. So this law contributes to massive reduction seen in our teenage pregnancy rate, it also gives the children a reason why they do not wish to engage in relationships with their peers. For example: “I am a scout, I cant date!”
12. A Scout is not a fool. This rule reinforces abstinence from drug, alcohol use and criminal activities.
The causes of crime are complex. Most people today accept that poverty, parental neglect, low self-esteem, alcohol and drug abuse are all connected in explaining why people commit crimes. Some people are simply at greater risk of becoming offenders because of the circumstances into which they are born. For example: 40% of sexual offences occur in the home; 33% of assaults happen in the home; single black women experience high levels of abuse and murder by youth aged 15-35yrs of age.
We understand that Criminality is learnt through exposure at home, school and in social environments which should be the sources of safety, nurturing and support, unfortunately this is where criminal behaviour is internalised. 70% of the 20million (or 14Million) South African youth are more likely to be victims and perpetrators of assault, robbery, rape and murder than adults. 50.2% of surveyed children in one research said they had knowingly committed a criminal offence by the time they were 15yrs of age. It costs between R45,625 to R133,805 to incarcerate one prisoner.
In 15years, with over 12,000 children who have come through the program Keep The Dream196 has had one child criminally involved with the police and because of his age deemed incompetent to understand the seriousness of his crime.