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Louis Nusbaumer aka ‘Ara’

07.10.2022 – STÉPHANE HERZOG

His totem name is Ara. Why choose this for his scouting nickname? Louis Nusbaumer, a 21-year-old student of geography and environmental sciences, no longer remembers. He was seven when he became a Cub. Today, Ara is the chief of the Venture Scouts, a group of 15- to 17-year-olds from the St-Michel scouting group in Delémont, canton of Jura. Like thousands of other scouts, he was involved in the ‘mova’, the federal camp for the Swiss scout movement, which took place this summer in the Goms valley (VS). Ara arrived at the camp before it opened, along with other chiefs of the Venturers unit from the cantons of Jura and Berne.

The group built a log tower in the camp. “The view was stunning. We connected four tarpaulins to make a roof for ourselves,” he tells us. Amongst other activities, the Venturers helped build a giant tree hut. They strolled around freely in this enormous camp of 30,000 scouts. There was only one rule: stay together and be contactable by phone. “We spent two weeks living together and that created some very strong bonds,” smiles Ara, for whom one of the key values in scouting is acceptance of oneself and of others.

Why have a uniform? “Scouting comes from the army, so it’s from there,” comments the young man, considering this a reasonable question. In scouting language, the uniforms distinguish between different age groups: turquoise shirts for the Cubs, beige for the Scouts, red for the Venturers and green for those in charge. Within the St-Michel scouting group, the leaders have chosen to wear red, “to remain closer to the Venturers”. Will Ara be at the next ‘mova’, in 14 years’ time? “Why not? The movement always needs volunteers,” says Nusbaumer.