On Saturday afternoon Gilwell Reunion welcomed Mahroof Malik was the guest speaker, he shared his early experiences of the outdoors and challenged everyone to have their own adventure.
Recently appointed as a Scout Adventurer, his energy and enthusiasm for adventure and the great outdoors is obvious for all to see. Mahroof is no stranger to Scouts as he is a Group Scout Leader for his local group.
Growing up in inner city Birmingham in the ‘70s. He proclaims to have been a “feral child”, climbing trees, playing on building sites and being chased away by the foreman. The catalyst for giving Mahroof’s wild energy focus came from his Primary School Principal, who bought a piece of land as he saw the importance of the outdoors for inner city children. These trips were a lightbulb moment for Mahroof. “There were trees & a river – it was like Rivendell to me!”
Over time not only did Mahroof gain a love of the outdoors but also for the sport and activities that take you there. Whilst at University he joined the climbing society and enjoyed spending time on trips climbing at various locations around England and Wales. He was eventually challenged to lead climbing trips – realising that he was as experienced and qualified as the others he stepped up. This spurred him on to earn outdoor qualifications enabling him to access more adventures. Adventures he takes all the way back to those early school trips.
As a qualified Mountain Guide Mahroof enjoys the opportunity to engage and lead “my own community” in the great outdoors. From inner city Birmingham he has been to Iceland, Greenland and even lived with pack dogs.
“I’ve always had that Scouting spirit. I have that attitude of who set the restriction on what you can and can’t do. This is why I love scrambling up hills. It’s the same sensation scrambling around building sites as a child. You have to go out and experience, learn skills and take from the experience.”
Ultimately Mahroof aims to inspire others to get out and have their own adventure. “You are the adventurer within your group. Those early days were me tring to take it all in, enlightening myself with the world. Develop the skills, I take the approach – if you can’t – I must”.
“My call to action to all of you is: everyone has their own adventures and their own limits. Push yourself to have your own adventures. Every adventure is your own. It’s your challenge and your goals. In time these challenges will trickle down to our young people. I really want to see all young people building resilience, to challenge and push themselves and to meet their own goals.”
Mahroof admitted that sometimes those challenges seem like an uphill struggle. He advised “learn, plan, prepare and execute. Prepare in the best possible way to achieve your outcome. Also find the right people to travel with you and you will always have that bond – a shared experience.”
So having become a Scout Adventurer, Reunion Express challenged Mahroof to the ultimate question – What’s next?
He has many ideas but nothing planned yet. “I’d like to do all seven summits, or cycle no motorcycle around the world, that sounds cool. I’m tempted by a canoeing challenge, I want to get back into Kayaking.”
We’re sure everyone sends a warm welcome to Mahroof as a new Scout Adventurer and wishes him well in his future adventures.