Centre de Ressource
I am writing these lines having just completed three years working for the Interamerican Regional Office of the World Scout Bureau in Panama City. Many memories come to mind since my interview in Curaçao: the moment when the then Secretary General, Luc Panissod, informed me I had been selected as Regional Director, my first days at work in Panama, facing new challenges; starting from scratch the establishment of a new office; and, the year spent in the offices of the
Scouts of Panama patiently awaiting the moment when we could start operations in the City of Knowledge.
The year 2012 was one of great importance in Guatemala. We have accepted the change the Mayan calendar presented on December 21, and in the circumstances have a great opportunity to generate real growth for different organizations,
government, businesses, individuals and the will to unite in forgeing a better country and a greater impact as Scouts.
There are always many initiatives to work on improving the country, but everyone focuses on their interest with isolated efforts. Social and Civil Organziaciones have proposed unifying goals to maximize impact. Thus was born the movement AWAKE GUATEMALA 2012 with a series of meetings that promote citizen participation.
I have participated in various scout activities around the world, and I have observed that
the number of scouts with special needs at these activities has been increasing.
It is very common now to see in World Jamborees young people in wheelchairs, on
crutches, with visual or hearing impairment, participating actively in the Scout Program.
Recently I was invited to participate in a workshop for scout leaders where they were
trained to work with children and youth with special needs. I knew, by the comments of
the participants, in addition to the quality and content of the workshop, that they were
made aware of the importance of integrating these children and youth in scout groups.
They deserve to enjoy the benefits of Scouting as much as any of us.
A few days ago I had an experience that left a pleasant taste in the mouth and in turn led me to a great
reflection I want to share with you.
My little son Santiago, who is just three years old, completed his first school year and because of this we
were invited to a festival in which the children presented a spectacle of music and dance that left us all
Santiago, along with his other classmates, danced and sang something about fruits. A green dress with
a hat hanging red balls, simulating cherries, was the outfit he used. Nothing else I can to say how good
he looked. My wife, Araceli, and I could not stop screaming and clapping excited to see our little son as
owner of the stage. Araceli then did a remark that sparked me to start a reflection. - This is our first order of
courses ceremony as parents. That made me think that Santiago is growing and that this order of courses,
marks the end of an era and the beginning of another...
The strength of a shared vision
On one occasion, a group of people visited the NASA facilities in Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA was, at that time, working hard on Apollo XI, which would take a man, for the first time in history, to the lunar surface.
One of the people who visited the modern facilities found a woman who performed the task of mopping the floor of one of the huge hangars. She sang while moving the mop side to side, leaving the floor perfectly clean and bright. It was then that a person came up to her and asked why she so enthusiastically performed their work, and what is it that keeps her so happy doing
a job that seems very simple and rather tedious? The woman’s response was, “I know that this is contributing to soon having a man on the moon.”
Today, it is common that we own a “lap top” computer. I remember those days when, if someone had one, it was seen as a rare specimen. “Look at that! For a computer of that size, which can be transported to wherever you want, it must be complex,” were some of the comments then.
Fifteen years ago, to have a “lap top” was a luxury that only few could boast about.
With the continuous progress of computer technology, they are now becoming cheaper, smaller, and lighter. Moreover, I am writing these lines using one of them.
I mention this because, while having access to this technology, it has improved the quality and quantity of work we do, whether at home, at school, or in our workplace. It is also true that this has led to see our customs being modified.
I say this because, every time I call for attention, it is becoming common that the person whom I am speaking about is in front with one of these laptops and, throughout the conversation and for only brief moments, this person looked up to see who is speaking. It seems that, today, one must have the competence to continue checking emails, social network sites, or even be talking (chatting) online and, at the same time, listen carefully to who is speaking in front of you.
Throw your starfish into the sea...
The futurist Joel Barker, in one of his famous videos on paradigms, talked about the experienced scientist and poet named Lorend Eiseley.
Eiseley was on a beach and, in the distance, he watched a human figure that appeared to be dancing on the edge of the sea. He became intrigued and noticed that the young man was taking the starfishes that had been thrown onto the beach by the waves, and then, running at full speed, tossed them back into the ocean.
Eiseley asked the guy why he did this. The boy, without stopping, replied that these starfishes on the beach would inevitably die. Eiseley insisted that there were thousands of them and it would be impossible to save them all. The guy did not answer and kept working enthusiastically.
In 1929, the 3rd World Scout Jamboree took place at Arrow Park, UK.
This Jamboree brought together thousands of Scouts from around the world. In the closing ceremony, Robert Baden-Powell, founder of Scouting, said:
Here is the hatchet of war, of enmity, of bad feeling, which I now bury in Arrowe. From all corners of the world you came to the call of brotherhood and to Arrowe. Now I send you forth to your homelands bearing the sign of peace, good-will and fellowship to all your fellow men. From now on in Scouting the symbol of peace and goodwill is a golden arrow. Carry that arrow on and on, so that all may know of the brotherhood of men.
Only a few years had passed since the conclusion of World War I and Scouting had passed the test, had shown its vocation to work for peace. After the Great War, many wounds were left open and required the good will of thousands of young Scouts to assist in the recovery process.
Baden-Powell gave a message to those Scouts asking to bring peace and goodwill to all corners of the world in so much need.
I recently had the opportunity to attend the National Congress of the Brazilian Scouts Union (BSU) in the City of San Luis.
It was a great experience in many ways. I was able to get up close to one of the largest National Scout Organizations of our Interamerican Region. I was present at the seminar that presented the new Youth Program materials that Escoteiros do Brazil fully developed, using, as a basis, the regional proposal. I also attended seminars for the Lobihno Branch (Cub) and the Pioneiro Branch (Rovers), where Alessandro Garcia, National Commissioner of Educational Methods, assisted by members of his team, introduced new materials, explaining the way they were developed and how they should be implemented in Scout groups.
I was also present at the presentation of new materials for the Management of Adults, where it was explained in detail how to work with them and the advantages of doing so in accordance with the provisions.
The beautiful Panama City, again, became the heart of the Interamerican Region to host the VIII Interamerican Scout Summit 2012. The hot sun, the sea breeze, and, especially, the Scout brotherhood were the ingredients that made this Summit a Scout success.
A great effort was developed to prepare the Summit. This is because the new executive team of the World Scout Bureau, Interamerican Region, arrived in Panama earlier this year, with only a few weeks to prepare their presentations and get incorporated in the preparation work of the Summit.
Since the completion of the 24th Interamerican Scout Conference in August 2010, the top leaders of the National Scout Organizations of the continent did not have the chance to meet again. Their return to Panama allowed them to experience the Regional Office, now fully completed and working, and to meet the new team and their action plans.