Empowered by the Scout Promise to lead and assist
The World Organization of the Scout Movement has over 40 million young people as members in more than 220 countries and territories around the world.
Yes, we have young leaders that are trained in emergency preparedness. Yes, they have the leadership skills to assist disaster relief organisations, such as our friends at the Red Cross. Yes, they have hands and feet and strong backs and they are there to help when and where help is needed.
No, we are not a relief organisation and our young members should not be expected to be the first responders. However, we are there at the beginning of a humanitarian situation, and we never leave. We help rebuild communities, and integrate and support young people for the long term.
Our young leaders help organise Scout activities for the young people that find themselves in a temporary camp for disaster survivors, or in one of the hundreds of refugee camps facing families fleeing from areas of conflict.
This could be seen during the devastating earth quake that hit Ecuador and the previous devastation seen in places like the Philippines, Nepal and Haiti.
Our Scouts worked hard in these search and rescues operations. Lifting rubble to help find survivors. Unloading trucks filled with food and supplies. Assisting in building shelters. They also helped in collecting food and clothing.
Scouts could also be seen in the refugee camps in Lebanon, Sweden and right here in Turkey.
They organise Scout activities to help bring to young survivors a little bit of the life they left behind. These activities help deliver a values-based, non-formal educational programme that helps in meeting the immediate needs of their current, desperate situation and better prepare them for the longer term future that lies beyond the confines of their survivor or refugee camp.
Scouts are empowered by the values learned in their Scout Promise to lead.
Never, ever underestimate the determination of a young Scout leader to help in a time of crisis. Simply point them in the right direction and watch the magic happen.
This message was delivered at the World Humanitarian Summit Discussion Panel held on 24 May 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey.