#ScoutRespect: Why are you involved in Scouting? Because it is for all!
(WSBERO/Geneva) – I’m sure many of you reading this have had a similar encounter as I have; our friends wondering what is Scouting all about, and why are we involved in such an organisation?
What an important question! A question that my Scout leaders introduced me to at a young age, and one that was reignited for me by the then Scouting Ireland Chief Scout, Michael John Shinnick, a couple of years ago. A question that I have reflected upon over and over. Today, when someone asks me, this is what comes to mind:
Imagine a world where you can be who you want to be and not be judged.
Imagine a world where you have the encouragement, support, and respect of your peers and elders, as you explore who you want to become. Imagine a world where who you are is defined by how you live, what you do, and not by the colour of your skin, your sexuality, where you come from, or your religious beliefs.
For me, this safe environment where our young members can grow and learn, so that they can make a positive contribution to the world around them, is what Scouting is all about. A setting where we try to nurture understanding and compassion. Is it perfect? No. But I have had the immense pleasure of witnessing some amazing people who spend their days standing up for what is right, with the aim of getting our scout family closer to this ideal world.
Humanity is in a difficult place right now, with fear spreading, after such terrible situations like what we have recently seen in Ankara, Brussels, and Lahore. It is so easy to turn against people while we try to make sense of what is happening, and find somewhere to put the blame. But we must not. We must stand strong, and try to see that the only way forward is to listen and attempt to understand.
We may not be able to fix the entire world, but we can lead by example in our Scouting life, and know that helping our young grow with this compassion instilled in them, will help them develop into the kind of citizens this world needs.
So, why am I a Scout? Because Scouting welcomes you with open arms and an open heart. Scouting is for all!
Text: Paddy Hennelly (IE), External Representative of WOSM to the Advisory Council of Youth of the Council of Europe