We interviewed Bretislav “Breta” Kupera from Czech Republic who started Scouting with his children in a local scout group in Lohja.
How did you get into Scouting in Finland?
“My three children came from school with the idea to join Scouts. It was lost in translation that they decided to join to a “not yet existing” group. The group was going to be formed later in the year. I offered my help to the group but didn’t know that it means that I’ll be “akela” – the group leader for the smallest Scouts!
When I got a direct clear question on the next meeting I was surprised, but finally nodded, because it was a great opportunity for me to practice Finnish, be with the same nature oriented people and at least to bring some of my previous experience from Czech Republic.
The new group of Lohjanjärven Loiske was established and I started joining the activities. We started to prepare the plans of activities, events and think about group names.”
What kind of things are you now doing within this hobby?
“I’m akela – a team leader for Sudenpennut, which is Cub Scouts. I’m limited with language, but it is not a problem. Kids are very keen to learn and be active. It was difficult in the beginning that we lacked adults, so sometime it happened I was “alone” for the first half of the meeting when the other adult joined us later. I was happy that my daughters helped me with translation from Czech to Finnish and back. Also many of the Sudenpennut kids know English so well that they could help others.
I think I speak much better Finnish now, so I can at least give the basic instructions in Finnish. I think it makes our group very unique: children learn also English during Scout meetings! On the other hand, if I want to teach something new about the education topics of Scouting such as orientation in forest, safeness on the street or trash recycling, I need somebody to help me, because I can’t explain it in Finnish. It works very well now. We are two akelas, I’m more focused on playing games and education sports activities, and Hanna-Elina focuses on teaching and explaining.”
What’s your best memory so far?
“I think each meeting and event has its own atmosphere and I have a lot of memories. I can highlight the summer camp Melske 2019. But maybe it is more important that children experience growing. You know, if a shy boy or a girl first comes there, not talking or being active, and step by step they join more actively and a year after they turn out to be a great team member who helps the new incomers. That’s the greatest moment. Or if you involve a new game where that one child who never won in previous activities is the star and you see the happiness in their eyes. That’s what I like.”
What kind of things have you learned?
“A lot of practical things such as canoeing and planning activities for children. I must admit that the education system for new Scout leaders is excellent. I attended the unit-level training and it ensured me that I’m not alone here. I have a group of other adult Scouts around that support me. For several months I was afraid of how to prepare the activity plan. But I got training, a manual and together with my previous experiences in Pioneers (as Scouting was not allowed in Czech when I was a child) it works fine. And my Finnish skills are better now! 🙂 ”
Anything else you would like to say to new adults who wonder if they can join Scouts in Finland?
“We are nicely organized. Don’t be afraid to join, you will never be alone. You can have many trainings to support your skills and knowledge and how to do the right job and enjoy this great hobby in the Scouts!”
Are you interested in starting Scouting?