Australian Women’s History Month, Meet Samantha van Munster! Previous item 23rd New Zealand Jamboree Next item MyScout Read-Only

Australian Women’s History Month, Meet Samantha van Munster!

The last (but by no means the least!) person we are interviewing to round out our commemoration of Australian Women’s History Month is Samantha van Munster. She is part of Warwick Rovers, and in the past has been a branch leader Youth Lead. 

Scouts WA: An easy one to start us off: beach or mountains?  

Samantha: Oo hard to say- they each have their perks- mountains can create a lot of journeys just on a single path and more likely to be the only one of that adventure! 

Scouts WA: Great reasoning! And what would the title of your biography be?  

Samantha: The world is your oyster- this comes from a saying my parents have said throughout our (my sister and my) life. I believe this is a true statement as there is no written path for your journey of life but the one you make up for yourself. 

Scouts WA: What is your earliest memory of your time in Scouting?  

Samantha: I started Scouting in South Africa, at 1st Sundridge Scout group, Port Elizabeth. The Cub pack went out to do part of our fishing badge. All jumped in the back of our Akala’s Jeep and went to the fishing spot. Once we were all set up, we all cast off. Most hit the water but mine ended up hitting Pumba’s (another leader’s) car and hooked onto the tire. So, I caught a soft top jeep. – I was given a sympathy fishing badge.  

Scouts WA: That is quite a funny story! Apart from teaching you how to fish(!), how has Scouting impacted your life?  

Samantha: Scouting has impacted my life in many ways. And it shows in my day to day. With both my parents being in Scouting and Girl Guides, they saw it as a great organisation for my sister and I to join. When we moved from South Africa to Australia in 2007, Scouting allowed us to meet other young people in similar age areas with the same interests. The organisation allows every young person to choose their own path – for some it’s the social aspect, or adventure or leadership. Or it can be a mixture of all or some. For myself personally it brought out my side of adventure and leadership – when on an activity or running an activity, it teaches you so much in a fun exciting way. [From] the small activities at Cubs where you are attending, to the Scout section where you are doing more of the planning as well as attending, to the Venturer section where you are doing it all with leaders supporting where needed, to the Rover section, where you are doing it all, [Scouting] allows you to grow and develop different skills along the way and find your interest areas. My love and enjoyment of the outdoors has developed over the years, I excelled in Outdoor Education at school and obtained a job in the outdoors for a few years, passing on my passion for the outdoors and leadership to the younger generations in the organisation. 

Scouting has also opened the doors to traveling! Although I have traveled a lot with my family, the Scouting trips are different. Wherever we travel too, we try to stop at the Scout shop or hall. My most recent scouting international trip to Kenya, the 1st Africa Rover Moot 2023, allowed me to showcase a part of the culture I grew up with to my partner and [we] made some incredible connections with Rover Scouts who I am still in contact with to this day. 

Scouts WA: Wow! It sounds like Scouting has had a tremendous impact on you. In all that time, what is the most important piece of advice you have been given?  

Samantha: If you believe in it you can achieve it! 

Scouts WA: Something we’re asking all our featured women, is how can we encourage more girls to participate in Scouting? We know the benefits participating has! 

Samantha: Personally speaking, I don’t like the “how can we” I think it comes down to the image that scouts [projects] to the community. Scouting around the world is changing. In some countries girls are now allowed to join – although sometimes, [some] still separate [by gender, rather than being] mixed. It’s still a step in the right direction. If a young person wishes to join the world organization, it allows them to create their own journey and dreams they wish to pursue, it’s all possible and Scouting has a helping hand to ‘feed’ those journeys and dreams. 

Scouts WA: An interesting perspective! Our final question is: if you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why? 

Samantha: I have been very fortunate enough to have had dinner with 3 inspirational women in my life. I have grown up being a family person and still am. My mother, nana, and granny. They are all my inspiration as they have helped shape who I am today. My parents have allowed me to follow and chase my goals over the years. Supporting me in decisions I have made.