On May 21, 2023, 160 scout members gathered in the cool morning air for the EduForest Study Camping at the Yehembang Kauh Study Forest. This place is beautiful and seems to be a fun study space.
Morning around 08.00 WITA. The sun’s rays began to appear and created charming shadow patterns on the ground full of leaves. All scout teams from the Jembrana district came by bus departing from each school. Each unit comprises 16 people, divided into eight boys and eight girls, and is accompanied by a scoutmaster.
Sometime later, several other parties came to the location individually, sat in the wantilan area, and afterward gave an introduction about scouting activities before this activity began. They are the Chairperson of the Jembrana Kwarcab Scout Movement, Secretary of the Jembrana Kwarcab Scout Movement, Head of UPTD KPH West Bali, Head of Yehembang Kauh Village, and Chair of KTH Giri Amertha. After singing the Indonesia Raya song and giving a speech, each party gave plant seeds to each scout team to symbolize the opening of the day’s program.
One of the scout members is a tough woman. Her name is Ni Putu Nita Purwaningsih (15), a student at SMP Negeri 3 Negara. Her interest in scouting began to take shape when he joined as Barung (the smallest unit of the Alert level in the Scout Movement) in a One-Day Camp (Persari), which was located at Baluk Rening Beach, Jembarana.
“Pray first, don’t say anything there later. Always say excuse me to the ‘keeper’ there,” her grandmother said. Her grandmother often expressed this sentence of advice before Nita left the house.
Nita, when she was getting ready to go home after EduForest Study Camping activity at the Yehembang Kauh Learning Forest
Nita liked scouting when she was still in elementary school and never imagined that this activity would become her favorite activity until now. One of the teachers at her school played a significant role in inviting Nita consciously and without coercion to explore non-formal education organizations with the characteristic brown uniform, beret worn slanted to the right, and red and white hasduk (it could be called: scout neck cuffs).
Scouts are an organization that has a lot of fun activities in it, but that’s not the only one. Nita said she often does volleyball, soccer, and badminton, even though basketball is her favorite sport.
“Yes. I used to like badminton the most. After that, when I was in middle school, I joined a basketball extracurricular. I have participated in a basketball tournament as well. One of them is the SMANSA Cup this year. Around February,” explained Nita.
The SMANSA Cup is an annual routine basketball competition between schools in Jembrana that is held at the Kresna Jvara Sports Hall and participated by across schools ranging from elementary, middle, and high school students. Representing her school, Nita became one of the core basketball club members at SMP Negeri 3 Negara.
Her introduction to basketball occurred when she ran after school and passed the Dauhwaru Field. That afternoon, for some reason, she was a little interested in stopping to watch the people playing basketball. “Funny,” she muttered.
“There is also the influence of the seniors. She once taught me to dribble basketball, which at that time I couldn’t. It happened when I was in elementary school. Continuing to junior high school, it turned out that there was a basketball extracurricular. So I’m joining in.”
She only mastered how to hold a basketball and dribble it properly three years ago. The role of a coach is so essential in this regard. I Ketut Kusumayasa, coach of the basketball club at SMP Negeri 3, who later became the school’s principal until now, shaped Nita’s playing pattern to become better and understand strategy.
Nita’s activities in lot of physical activities diverted her dream to become a doctor. She said there is no more motivation to lead to the profession. Later, her determination to join the Army Women’s Corps (KOWAD) grew. This idea appeared in the second grade of junior high school.
All of Nita’s activities are accompanied by prayers, great hopes, and guidance from her family. The woman had never wanted to be sad or feel down since her mother died when she was still in grade 2 of elementary school. Even though Nita, as an only child, doesn’t have time daily to meet her father. The father mostly delivers guests as a driver at a travel agency in Badung. He returns once a week if the guests sent are few but can return once every two weeks if the number of guests tends to be crowded.
Nita’s grandmother took over the role of parent. She mainly accompanies Nita in conversations, asking about daily activities, prayers, and anything that can be done for her grandchildren. Or conversely, Nita often accompanies her grandmother to the garden looking for any commodity crops that can be harvested from that place, such as durian, cloves, nutmeg, bananas, and mangosteens. Their house is in the Tukad Gelar area. The garden is also close to there.
Her intensity in going to the garden made her used to walking difficult paths, such as those in the Yehembang Kauh Learning Forest. Nita is one who is used to tracking in the forest, even though this is her first time there. For some of the other scout members, walking along the road in the Learning Forest is not easy, especially for those who only walk on asphalt every day. Some participants even felt that the path along the forest was quite extreme.
“At the first time, we walked (through the forest), we were guided, and after that, the road was a bit uphill. After going up, turn left, and we meet the cliffs. After that, there is a little way down. It’s a bit slippery there. One of my friends has never been to the forest. He doesn’t know what walking in the forest is like. So he fell, said Nita.
Several of Nita’s friends from one of her squads slipped and even fell into the gutter. The others didn’t help him right away. Such an incident instantly made the other laugh—likewise the response of him who fell, the one who laughed the loudest.
“I asked several friends and people who had just met there. Everyone has a good response because it’s fun. The tracking is exciting, and the planting of seeds is also. But some say that the tracking route needs to be farther away. As for those who plant seeds, they know how to plant the right seeds.”
In contrast to following the forest tracking route, the scout members who chose to do nursery activities also had a similar experience. The look on their happy faces didn’t go away. They took turns learning about nurseries, and after that, they immediately planted Vetiver in the space provided. Most of them just recognized the name of this grass-type plant.
This activity is a rare opportunity to explore the world outside the classroom. Students usually do more learning routines in a little room in daily activities. However, that day was a different day. They feel the passion burning within them in the middle of the forest, where every corner offers valuable lessons.
EduForest Study Camping provides an immersive experience about biodiversity. This activity also allowed Nita to get to know her colleagues better. They become one, exploring, learning, and laughing together.
“My suggestion is to increase the activities of scout associations, not just in the Penggalang level. But in other levels, like Siaga, Penegak, and Pandega too. Moreover, activities that are in nature are certainly exciting when in scouts. It means that more emphasis is put on all scout levels, so it’s not just for Penggalang,” suggested Nita for this activity.
Portraits of all EduForest Study Camping participants
EduForest Study Camping at Yehembang Kauh Learning Forest has opened a new world for Nita. She finds a more profound love for nature and his friends in this enchanted forest. Togetherness, curiosity, and a spirit of adventure enveloped his heart, preparing him to live the coming days at school with newfound confidence. On the other hand, EduForest Study Camping is expected to be a bridge to reconnect knowledge transfer from parents to the younger generation, which was disconnected, and bring students closer to the forest.
Two days after EduForest Study Camping activities took place, Nita was appointed by her school to be able to train in scout activities, especially camping, for students in junior high school grade 1 and grade 2. It is planned that there will be various camping activities held until next October.
Article & Photo: Nicolaus Sulistyo © IDEP Foundation