iProj 2017 – Reflections of a Scouter

By Sam Chan

This will be my last International Project. I was pretty sure of it.

For some context, this is my third International Service Project (iProj, for short) with the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group. It has been a very hectic trip with little room for reflection; but that’s just the nature of trying to do what we can with the amount of time that we have.

I remember not knowing what to expect on my first iProj when I went to China in May of 2012. Days went by fast, city after city, everything felt like a blur. Second trip – Malaysia and Singapore in 2015 – was the same. We met so many people that I’m embarrassed to admit I could not remember everyone’s name. Last minutes changes to your itinerary, crossing a busy highway with 26 other people, early mornings acquiring breakfast for the contingent — it’s never an easy two weeks.

Very often people ask me why I go on these trips. Why I take two weeks from my limited vacation days to go on such a stressful trip. I may even have said that this will be my last time going on a trip like this. As we approach the last leg on our Crew’s 6th iProj, I am reminded again the answer to this question. A few days ago, we volunteered at the Chao Xing Elementary school, where we spent a day teaching Canadian songs and games to a group of Taiwanese children. Despite the language barrier, we were able to make a connection with them. At the end of the day, we exchanged hand written post cards.

What makes these trips worthwhile is watching our Rovers discover the magic of these International Projects, just as I did five years ago on my first trip. Despite any language barrier that may exist, we are always unconditionally welcomed with open arms and with the warmest hospitality. I am again reminded of the excitement I experienced when working next to new friends on an environmental service project, or learning new Scout songs and cheers in a different language. Reflecting on the impact we have made all over the world puts my efforts into perspective. iProjs are made up of moments like these. I am glad to be here to experience this with our Rover Scouts.

When the next call goes out for volunteers for our next trip, I’m not so sure I am able to say no.


Sandra Lee

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