The scouting movement in Vareš cherishes the tradition of raising young people in the spirit of community

If you visit Vareš at the end of March, you must have noticed boys and girls in blue uniforms, with the coat of arms of Bosnia and Herzegovina and lilies, cleaning green areas. They are members of the Scout Detachment “ZVIJEZDA/STAR”, who with their older colleagues cleaned almost the entire section of the regional road from Breza to Vareš. Members of other Vareš associations and employees of certain companies joined the action called “Scouts of Vareš for their city”. They were all gathered by Igor Hinger, German language teacher, activist, scout, leader of a tambourine orchestra and rock band, but above all an enthusiast of Vareš.

When he returned to his city from exile in 1997, Professor Igor, like all returnees, hoped for a better life. However, his Vareš began to slowly disappear. Those who returned to the city after the war, from 2000 began to leave again in search of job and better life. This time they do not come back. In such a situation, Professor Igor wanted to do something for the children who remained, to show them that there is still life in the city.

First, he founded the school’s music section, which later developed into a rock band, and the association and tambourine orchestra “Moja prva nota”. He soon reactivated the scout squad.

Today, nothing happens in Vareš without its scouts and young tambourine players.

They organize actions of reforestation and cleaning of green areas, decorate parks, take care of the environment.

Nature conservation is one of their main tasks. That is why camping trips are regularly organized where children are taught the skills of navigating in nature. Through various activities, young scouts learn independence and discipline. The scouting movement in the whole world is special precisely because it continues the tradition of raising a generation of young people, in the spirit of togetherness and teamwork. That’s what Professor Igor is doing in Vareš.

We try to convey to children a love for nature, but also to make them independent, to separate themselves from their parents. To instill in them, through play and entertainment, values that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, even when they leave Vareš – said local professor Igor for Local Works.

Wherever they go, scouts have friends

Scouting movement is a beautiful part of this country. Squads from different regions participate in competitions, organize gatherings. They visit each other. This is how they create lasting friendships and break the boundaries that society imposes on them.

In March, the 18th Scouting – Environmental Competition was held in Zenica. More than 300 children from numerous cities participated. From Zenica, via Sarajevo, Mostar, Banja Luka, to Vareš, but also Podgorica and Nikšić. The children had a first aid test, a scouting test, knotology and ecology, and a team of Vareš scouts won 3rd place. However, socializing is much more important than the competition itself.

-The friendship you gain while being in the scouts is the most valuable gift you can have. I have friends wherever I go. We teach our children first of all the importance of creating friendships – Professor Igor proudly pointed out.

This is exactly what attracted girls Elena, Matea and Ajša to become young scouts. The three of them have been together since kindergarten, go to the same school, and participate in all scout activities. All three love socializing and camping. It is not difficult for them even during reforesting or cleaning actions. They say they can’t wait for new actions. All three agree on what is the most important lesson they have learned.

We must always help each other, take care of nature and the environment and we must not be mean to anyone – Elena, Matea and Ajša explained.

When asked how long they plan to be girl scouts, they answer unanimously:

-Whole life!

The love with which the scouts from Vareš take care of their city and their dedication to the scouting vocation was recognized by the Federation of Scouts FBIH, which awarded the “ZVIJEZDA” squad the award – Knight’s Squad.

Wherever they are, people from Vareš love and help their city

Everything that is done in the Scout Troop requires money. Although they have the support of the local community, it is not enough. That is why they regularly apply for calls for grants and cooperate with local companies, but they also receive significant help from the people from Vareš from all over the world. Nowhere are people who left this country as attached to their city as those who left Vareš. They show it with their attitude towards scouts. It often happens that they donate money for actions or other activities.

– Those are people from Vareš who know what Vareš used to be like. They know the importance of what we do and they support our work with their donations – Professor Igor explained to us.

The love for children is visible in every sentence that Professor Igor speaks. That is why for the last two years he has been working to include children from remote villages in the activities he organizes. Vareš has many villages that are 15 or 20 kilometers away from the city. There are very few children in those villages. Sometimes just one. When they finish school, any form of sports or social life ends for them. The children don’t even have anyone to play with.

Professor Igor takes them to scout camps, organizes transportation for them so they can attend concerts and other cultural events. He often goes by car himself to pick up a child, just to provide them with the same opportunities that children in the city already have.

They play at midnight mass, as well as Eid concert

Almost at the same time that he started the Scouts, Professor Igor also founded the association “My First Musical Note”, through which a tambourine band and a rock band operate. Many members have been there since the beginning. Socializing with these young people does not end without a song. Ema, Ivana, Vanja, Filip and Mihael became a real family. They are sure that they will stay in the orchestra as long as they can balance their school obligations with the concerts. Although all performances are important to them, they are particularly proud of two.

– We played at the celebration of Independence Day last year in the City Hall and a few years earlier in the BiH Presidency. The town hall was a unique experience. We were all proud because we were playing for our country on such an important day – Vanja Andžić proudly explained to us.

Vareš is special because, despite the difficult war past, people have found the strength for forgiveness and the desire to live together. That’s why the tambourine orchestra regularly performs at pre-Ramadan and Eid concerts, and members of the Bosnian cultural community Preporod at the midnight mass. That’s how they learn about each other, because the better they know each other, the less their differences will be. This is the philosophy by which everyone in Vares is guided, especially Professor Igor.

– We in Vareš definitely live together, not next to each other. In the scouts we have Elena and Ajša, in the band we have Emina who sings really well, Ema who plays the drums very well. There aren’t many of us in Vareš anyway, if we divide people by religion, we wouldn’t get anywhere – pointed out Professor Igor.

We left Professor Igor and his scouts to prepare for new competitions. The most important thing for them is the one in September that they organize themselves: the International scouting-orienteering competition “Days of Friendship”.

And this September, as every year, around 500 children, members of scouting units from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region, will be staying in Vareš.

Author: Vedada Šećerbajtarević