WSC Chair João Armando Gonçalves welcomes participants at the opening of the largest #ScoutForum ever
Welcome to the 13th World Scout Youth Forum!
This is the biggest Forum ever! And it is also the most diverse, largely due to a very generous solidarity programme which enabled the participation of many countries that would otherwise have difficulties in participating. That programme also enabled the highest percentage ever of people participating both in the Forum and the Conference. I guess this is one more reason to be grateful to our kind hosts, the Scouts of Azerbaijan.
The WSYF has been an important tool for promoting Youth Involvement in World Scouting. Its main aim has been to increase the number of young people in the decision-making bodies of the organisation while providing an educational opportunity for a certain age range.
20 years after the first Forum on the current model, we may say that the educational aspect has always been a success and that progress has been achieved at the institutional level: we have more youth involved in different working groups or in committees, we have more youth participating in the World Scout Conferences, we have youth involvement initiatives in every Region, and we can even see a good number of former Forum participants taking significant roles at national, Regional and World levels.
Yes, the Forum has been producing results… but in a slower pace than it should. And we are not there yet.
We shouldn’t be happy until every institutional environment in the organisation makes young people feel comfortable, safe, valued and listened to (like how you are feeling in the Forum). Not because you are young, but because you are persons with your own ideas, dreams, expertise and opinions.
In this future environment, individuals are valued for what they are and what they can contribute, and not because of the years they have lived. In this ideal environment, people respect different approaches, value them, and learn from the interaction between different generations. Some day in the future, we will understand that all generations are made up of cool people, wise people, positive people, friendly people, and some… a bit more difficult.
World Scouting needs your help in exploring these new paths. We need your talent, your sense of responsibilty, your creativity, and your understanding, to work together with many other persons of goodwill from different generations. Together, we will be able to improve what we already have, and progress even more rapidly.
Also in this domain we need to Dream, Believe and Act together.
Which brings me to the 2nd part of my remarks: the very appropriate slogan of our Forum, about which I would like to share with you.
• Dreaming is the root of progress
• Ask yourself the questions: “Why not?” or “What if?”
• No, you cannot do EVERYTHING that you dream of… and that is fine
• Believe in yourself… and in others
• Yes, you will fail many times during your journey
• You write your own story but there are things you can’t control… and that is fine
• Dreaming is not enough; we also need to act on those dreams
• Never underestimate the power of small deeds and actions. Many big things once started small.
• Never forget that you are not alone - whether it is in your community or anywhere in the world
I hope that the next few days will be unforgettable, that you will be able to learn, to add people to your circle of friends, and to contribute to the future of our Movement.
I wish you a fantastic World Scout Youth Forum!