ALEXANDRIA TOWNSHIP, N.J. (August 21, 2018) - Alexandria Boy Scout Troop 112 recently hosted Itumeleng "Tumi" Phele, a 22-year-old Boy Scout Leader from Potchefstroom, South Africa, during his stay in the U.S. working as a camp counselor at Camp Keowa in Narrowsburg, N.Y.
"Many of our Scouts became friends with Tumi during Boy Scout Camp earlier this summer," said Scoutmaster Matthew Brown. "He is very inspirational because of his background and a great role model. We thought he would enjoy visiting New Jersey and Philadelphia and getting together with the Scouts before he has to return to South Africa. Our Scouts also have enjoyed being around Tumi and learning about his life in South Africa."
Tumi was selected to represent the South African Scout Association at Camp Keowa. He has been involved in Scouting since 2008 and has earned the Wood Badge, an advanced, national leadership course open only to Scouting volunteers and professionals. Today, he runs the 2nd Ikageng Troop in the North West Province of South Africa.
"I taught most of the Troop 112 Scouts about hiking, wilderness survival, geocaching and orienting, and they kept on coming to me even after the classes were complete just to sit and learn about my country," said Tumi. "We had a great time just being together and we stayed in touch after camp was over. I was excited to have the opportunity to come and visit for a few days. Several of the Alexandria Scouts and I have promised to stay in touch because we have become friends and want to continue to learn from one another."
Tumi solicited community donations and sponsorships to cover nearly $2,500 in expenses for his summer in the U.S. He is a student at Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, where he studies Entrepreneurship and Leadership.
"We attend the university throughout the year in South Africa so I had to get special permission to travel to the U.S.," said Tumi. "There is significant unemployment and lack of work experience among South African youth that graduate from both high school and university. I am trying to start small businesses and empower South Africans to make a living for their families while obtaining employment experience. It has been a dream of mine to come to the U.S. and start a business where African youth can come to the U.S. and work. I would like to speak with Americans about this opportunity so one of my goals this summer was to broaden my network. Hopefully, I will be back next year."
Alexandria Boy Scout Troop 112 recently hosted South African Boy Scout Leader Itumeleng "Tumi" Phele (center). Pictured (from left) are Alexandria Boy Scouts Rory Callahan, Jackson Feiner, Ben Brown, Tumi, Otto Savacool, Nate Saccal and August Savacool.