Juzer A Shaikhally
Looking Looking back to year 1976…. the first time my class ever heard of the name DEAS, when Cdr T. Almedia came to our school to present the Award Programme. Even though I was in the Scouts and member of the School Mountaineering Club, the reason I joined was the aspect of self-motivation of the Programme and Adventurous Journey. My Award Journey was from 1976 to 1979 where I made new friends and completed my Bronze, Silver and Gold. Undertaking the various sections during my Award journey helped me in many ways in looking at the same problem with different angles. The Social Service section helped me to give my spare time to others in society and even today, when time permits, I do help out with the programme Teach India. The Adventurous Journey section got me out from my inner self. This section, during my time, was the most sought after section. It did make one realise their true motivation and the limits one can go to. At all three levels we had to cook all meals and I have had the pleasure of moving around Maharashtra in the interior regions too.
Marksmanship as my Skill taught me to be cool, calm, patient… I was really happy that finally I could make it to the All India Shooting Competition level. The Physical Recreation session under the Physical Efficiency Test would bring all boys in the Award Pogramme every Friday evening, which we looked forward to. Residential Qualification was really the turning point where I met different people from Maharashtra staying together for a period of 5 days and undertaking the cleaning of our Award Campsite at Matheran.
Even though I did follow in my Dad’s footsteps by joining him in business, my lust for the outdoor, which I had developed through the Award Programme, made me start an Adventure Company with my friend as partner; this later became a proprietary concern and at present, for the past two years, I am affiliated with Adventure Tours firm in Mumbai as an Adventure Programme Manager handling more than 750 schools in India. Having gone through the Award programme in many stages as a Volunteer, Asst. Regional Officer, Award Leader, on the Committee of the GAHS, West Zone Award Authority, it has given me great satisfaction that I have helped many young people going through the Award Programme and helped change their lives. Many still do call me up and even come to meet me whenever they are in town. Our Gold Batch of 1979 does still meet at least twice a year and we look back to our golden years that we all spent together while participating in the Award Programme.
Yes it has given me the bread and butter in my life, maybe I am a changed person and I do wonder if I had not undergone the Award Programme, would I still be out in the Nature, Wild... always making new friends every week… or… sitting behind a desk doing a normal 9 to 5 job… Yes I do have a lot to pen down… it did bring back memories and tears… even the first International Walsall UK Exchange in the year 1980/1981…. I am in touch with my friends from Walsall…..
Yes the Award has transformed me from the quiet, shy boy I was in school, to who I am in the present.