Csaba Orbán interviewed Andrea Szirbik, Translation: Zsóka Jakab
We introduced three of our scout leaders last year; and now we would like to introduce Andrea Szirbik. We first met in 2013 at a family scout camp in Oregon, and immediately started to dream about and plan founding a Seattle group. Our dreams came to fruition, and the Seattle group started in 2016, with Andi as part of the handful of leaders. She has been and still is one of our leaders. Andi recently returned from the leadership training camp in Fillmore, where she gained a lot of knowledge and positive energy. Today’s interview is meant to introduce Andi’s background to the readers.
Csaba: Why do you like to be a scout?
Andi: Scouting started for me 13 years ago when I moved to Germany with my family. My parents reached out to find Hungarian ties and programs and ended up connecting with the Hungarian scouts in Frankfurt. It was a great opportunity for me as a kid; I found my place in the community and forged lifelong friendships. I adored the camps, camp fires, singing, the activities and simply spending time together within the framework of scouting. These experiences laid the foundation for my love of scouting, and when I became a mother I wanted to share it with my children. So I became active again. I love the scouts, since it’s a cool community, with positive goals and a respectable value system. It also offers experiences that are no longer common today, such as spending time in nature, singing together, acquiring skills that are useful and support self esteem. To add to it, the Hungarian scouting serves as framework for conserving our culture, traditions and language – something that I find very important.
Csaba: What makes you feel like a scout?
Andi: This is an interesting feeling, since once you become a scout you are a lifelong scout. It feels good to know that I’m a member of a large extended family with many scout brothers and sisters all around the world. I feel like a scout because I attend, I participate, but mostly because my inner disposition agrees with what scouting offers: good mood, community, positive values, awesome experiences and programs, knowledge, skills, safety and friendship.
Csaba: What does scouting offer to you?
Andi: Aside from what I mentioned above, it means my and my children’s connection to our Hungarian heritage. It is great to have a place where we talk Hungarian, practice and preserve our customs in a playful way, and learn a lot. It fills me with awe that we can be part of this.
Csaba: Do you have a favorite memory you can share with us?
Andi: I have lots of favorite memories, but the most recent one is my participation in the leadership camp at Fillmore, last month. The effort put inro creating this camp resulted in a great experience from the beginning to the end, including the wilderness camping, group cooking, the unforgettable atmosphere of campfires, games, laughter, and community. I could go on for minutes with the list. The perennial favorite is the induction that I received now for the second time. Of course I can’t give the details, but the feeling that created in me is indescribable.
Csaba: What are your goals within scouting?
Andi: I would like to continue with my role as a leader and, it goes without saying, to keep my children involved. Unfortunately, since we live in Spokane, we can’t participate in all the activities because of the distance, but I will do so whenever I can. I have been able to participate in all the camps and virtual events so far and would like to continue like this in the future. I very much like your idea, Csaba, about forming a virtual scout group and hope that we’ll be able to execute it as soon as possible. I have an idea in the back of my mind eventually to participate in training camp to become an assistant officer at some point in the future.
Csaba: Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Andi. I wish you all the best and many more great scouting experiences.
Andi: I thank you for the interview.