An interview with Scott Teare - the new Secretary General of World Scouting
Scott Teare is the new Secretary General of World Scouting, taking over from Luc Panissod in the New Year. Scott has been serving World Scouting for several decades although in different capacities before taking up this top job.
Scott was awarded the Bronze Wolf by the World Scout Committee in September 2012 particularly for his contribution to international and World Scouting in his former role as the Director of the International Division of Boy Scouts of America. He contributed significantly to putting in place and effecting the Boy Scouts of America's international policy. As part of that role, he established diplomatic contacts, maintained relations and represented Boy Scouts of America with American businesses operating abroad, foreign embassies, key government leaders, heads of states and royal family members in an effort to provide sustained financial support and membership growth for World Scouting.
Scott takes up his new role at a crucial time for the World Scout Bureau, which is going through significant changes in its current management and relocation processes.
How do you feel having been selected as the new Secretary General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement?
Wow! What an honor. Absolutely thrilled and honored.
Can you tell us about what inspired you to apply for the position of the Secretary General?
First of all, Scouting has been my professional career since graduating from the university. I have worked in many different positions prior to having been named the International Director for the Boy Scouts of America. All have been rewarding and I always felt I made a significant contribution.
In April 2012 I was approached by some friends I truly respect and they asked if I would apply for the position of Secretary General. After thinking about this prospect for a few days, it became clear that I had actually prepared my entire career for this challenge. It was never my intention to pursue this position as a part of my career path, but sometimes things just seem to fall into place.
I applied, interviewed, and now I am on board.
You have a vast experience in Scouting, not only at the USA level, but also at the Interamerica and World levels. Can you tell us a little about your experiences and learning from various volunteer and professional capacities that you have so far served in Scouting?
I cannot help but think about the professional/volunteer relationships that have evolved over my years as a professional Scouter. It is almost an impossible phenomenon to explain. The relationship with volunteers is a partnership of sorts… each of us with a defined role to fulfil, and yet working together as a team to do the best we can possibly do. It is those shared experiences that have led me to where I am today.
I must also mention that I am so very grateful to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for allowing me to serve world Scouting these past dozen+ years of my career. I may have been an employee of the BSA, but I was encouraged and challenged to work in order to support Scouting in all corners of the globe.
Can you tell us a little about yourself, Scott Teare, the person?
Let’s start with this: My name is Scott Teare and I am a Messenger of Peace!
I joined the Cub Scouts at the age of eight. I remember sitting in the back of the school bus with my buddies learning the Cub Scout Promise and Law of the Pack. At that particular moment in time, the center of the entire Scouting universe was right there in my little neighborhood where I sat with my best friends. Who could ever have guessed that joining the Cub Scouts would lead me to a lifetime of friendships that would eventually span the globe?
As I look back at my early Scouting days, it was the friends that I made in Scouting that I kept in touch with in my later, adult years. Yes, I suppose my high school and university friends were important, but it was my Scouting friends that remained as my adult friends in later life.
My parents were very supportive of my Scouting activities. They encouraged me through their personal example to lose myself in service to others. We were not a wealthy family, but my parents did without many things to assist others in need. It is that act of helping others that defines the man I became. Those that know me best understand my passion to help young people.
Few people know that I had also considered joining the ministry. When my dad informed the pastor of our parish that I had selected a career in Scouting over the church, our pastor clapped his hands together and explained, “The church has won!” I never looked back.
I recently had a good friend “go home” by the name of Zig Zigler. Zig was a motivational speaker and author. He once told me that a child today spells “love” “t-i-m-e.” I can think of no greater gift a Scout leader can give to a child than time. It is what sets us apart from so many others in our far too often, fast-paced world. “Time” is a precious gift to give a young person today.
These are changing times in World Scouting and there are lots of new developments with the World Scout Bureau. Under the circumstances, what kind of challenges, risks and opportunities do you anticipate in your new role?
There are resolutions from the World Scout Conference that give direction to the World Scout Committee that challenge us to do better things in a wide-range of areas. Society changes. People change. The way we work changes. The very face of Scouting has changed. If the World Scout Bureau (WSB) – and this includes the Central Office and our six Regional Offices – are to remain relevant in a fast-changing society… then there is a need to re-think how we operate. However, changes need to happen for the right reasons and without interruption of services.
It has become clear that we must empower our regional offices to increase their support to NSOs… to help NSOs better build capacity. To some, this may sound simple. In reality, it is quite complex and will require focused leadership. I believe the World Scout Committee and professional staff are poised to give that required leadership.
People are interested to know more about what you do in your non-Scouting life, your interests and hobbies. Would you like to share some details?
There was a time when I played a lot of golf and went skiing as often as I could. As I became more involved in International Scouting, such activity was set aside. My family will tell you I have become a workaholic. I cannot deny this. However, reading remains an enjoyable escape for me… albeit that I now use an electronic book device. Ahhhh… modern technology!
What is your vision for the future of World Scouting?
That we do everything possible to reach more young people with the “magic” that Scouting brings to change lives.