Teen scout lands award for tackling global issues

Pinelands scout Kyle Cato receives the Scouts of the World Award from Paddy Milner, the provincial commissioner of Scouts SA.

Pinelands scout Kyle Cato, 16, has become the first South African to receive the Scouts of the World Award, recognising his ability to tackle global issues.

Kyle is part of the Kingfisher patrol in the 3rd Pinelands Troop.

Paddy Milner, the provincial commissioner of Scouts SA presented Kyle with the award at the Sea Scout Base, in Lakeside, on Baden-Powell Sunday, Sunday February 19, which celebrates the birthdayof Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the scout movement.

Scouts South Africa nominated Kyle for the award, which is made by the World Organisation of the Scout Movement.

The award challenges young people to think about global issues and tackle them in their community. And that is exactly what the Wynberg Boys’ High School pupil did.

“The award requires a commitment from you to make your community a better place and to run a project in the field of development, peace or environment in support of the United Nations sustainable development goals,” said Kyle’s mother, Cara Cato.

Kyle focused on two: children’s health and the environment. He was selected to go to the 2015 23rd World Scout Jamboree in Japan and saw how much recycling the Japanese did. When he returned home, he decided to ask the public to collect plastic bottle tops for him and he got a recycler to agree to donate a wheelchair for every kilogram of tops.

Kyle collected 2 000kg of bottle tops which were exchanged for eight specialised wheelchairs for children on the waiting list at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. He then collected another 1 190 bottle tops, raising R1 600 for Operation Smile. He added a further R28 000 from money he raised selling wooden keyring fobs with the Smile logo engraved on them.

Operation Smile South Africa arranges free surgeries for children with cleft lips, cleft palates or other facial deformities.

With the money Kyle raised, five children will get life-changing surgery.

The next project Kyle will be working on is a fund-raising day at Ratanga Junction in October when a portion of ticket sales will go to Operation Smile.