I found a new love – the unorthodox ‘sport’ of caving. A weekend option turned a throwaway decision into a passion and now I have even been invited to join the Greater London South Caving Committee. This happens a lot: a chance weekend away ignites a subdued spark within you, leading first to experience, then expertise. Consider the Service Team, dedicated to looking after the Broadstone Warren site in East Grinstead, a place that has remained central to the Dulwich Scouts over the many years of service. There is an enormous sense of fulfilment to be found in hours spent hacking at rhododendron; and chopping wood not only facilitates access to some exciting weaponry, but also facilitates site-access for the general public. This energy, channelled into something so genuinely helpful to the local community, always seems to justify the aches and pains of the day after. Finally, there are the amazing, once- in-a-lifetime international trips, usually aimed at Years 11-13. In 2014, I was lucky enough to find myself on an expedition to Tanzania, a three-week tour of villages, schools, and natural wonders. It sounds like a cliché, but this really was a life-changing experience. Encountering this fabled part of the world proved immensely valuable – and provocative. It has helped me to realise that there is more to life than exams, grades and the dreaded world of employment. In fact, I plan to return to Tanzania during my gap year to work with the tour company that we used that is run (by
of endless knowledge, and there isn’t anything else I would otherwise be doing – debaters tend not to be renowned for their extensive social calendars anyway. The first story takes place at the final of SOAS Schools. Christoph and I were poised in opening opposition on the motion about a hypothetical drug that offers immortality to those that take it. We ran points about the perils of overpopulation and how the distribution of the drug would be taken over by the likes of GlaxoSmithKline; but in the end we managed to argue that it would lead simultaneously to mass overpopulation and the complete elimination of younger generations. Thankfully, only we seemed to notice the contradiction, and Christoph and I managed to win our first competition together after more than three years of competitive debating. I later had the opportunity to debate with one of my heroes, Ben Woolgar, the former coach of Team England, at the LSE Open, a competition open to any entrants but predominantly those attending universities across the UK, and the basis for a second reminiscence. After being carried through a series of preliminary rounds, we reached the final of the two-day-long competition and were confronted by a motion that suggested people be allowed to sign contracts that cede their future rights (for example selling themselves into slavery). Despite the challenge, we persevered and somehow managed to win the final of the competition.
chance) an OA and an ex-Scout. But first, let me return to where I began. I am now a Young Leader. I now catch glimpses of nervousness in new members bewildered by the unfamiliar. And I know that not all will respond as I did. Scouting isn’t for everyone: if the new recruit hasn’t acclimatised by, say, the fourth meeting, his future likely hangs in the balance. But to those teetering on the edge, I ask this: how do you truly know if you’ll enjoy it or not, if you don’t get stuck in? Think of the opportunities, facilities, and friendships; the sense of purpose, the achievable goals… what’s not to like? Captain’s log Team England Captain Kenza Wilks (Year 13) shares the highlights of a year When I was told that I was being called upon for a contribution to The Alleynian , the suggestion was made that I keep a diary. Whilst I have not quite managed that, I have gathered together a collection of anecdotes that may be of mild interest to some. It might be difficult to imagine why any rational teenager would volunteer their time to argue with others in the stuffy hallways of London universities, I maintain that the debating society is by far the best society on offer at Dulwich. The constant academic vigour that debating encourages can never fail to excite those in the pursuit And the uniform is rather fetching, too…
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