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Skautské století – Generations in dialogue

24. Mayo 2012

Youth can be a tremendous source of energy, creativity and values that can shape a better future. This strong belief was the basic foundation for the World Scout Committee to have chosen Youth for Change as one of its 4 key areas of work until 2014. But to benefit from the valuable input from youth demands that there is healthy, open and fruitful dialogue between different generations. A dialogue from which all parts involved may benefit from. This is why it is crucial to create opportunities to put generations in dialogue.

The “Skautské století” project is giving young people the opportunity to better understand the older generation in Junák (Czech National Scout Organization) and also understand themselves better in terms of who they are as Scouts. They learn about history of the Scout Movement in the Czech Republic as well as the Czech history, and identify themselves with democratic principles and citizenship values.

Rover Scouts and Ranger Guides (though the project is not exclusive to this age group) record the memories of older Scouts and Leaders shared by them orally. The recordings are further processed with the help of a partner organization Paměť národa ( Final recordings are uploaded on the project website - Skautské století (, specially designed to document all the developments of the project and to serve as one of the main outcomes of the project. Other outcomes include various exhibitions, fora with the witnesses of the project, publications etc.

All this is done through encouraging intergenerational dialogue with the people who lived through difficult totalitarian times, however with the Scout idea constantly on their mind. Young Rover Scouts and Ranger Guides can see that the dilemmas and problems the older generation went through in their younger days are in principle very similar to their own. The older generation can share their views and ideas and develop closer contact with the young people. This connection is beneficial for both sides – in terms of: getting rid of generation stereotypes, and establishing new friendships and relationships. “Skautské století” project collects, preserves and shares the life stories of Scout witnesses who lived under totalitarian regimes, about their lives within and outside the Movement. The project is taking place in all regions of the Czech Republic, and involves in varying extents of time, hundreds of participants.

The Skautské století workshops will help reveal very important results of the project. During the workshops, a historical event is taken as a base for a game, which is followed by a review discussion. Participants are often confronted with moral dilemmas from the past and are encouraged to look for parallels in today’s life to help understand the context better.

“Recording brought me a lot of new information. I was surprised to find out how fun it is to learn more about the beginning of Scouting in our country and how everything in the history of Scouting here amazingly held together. Witnesses, whom I talked to, knew today's leaders, when they were small children. They know about their friendships and struggles and I can observe how everything has transferred into the present time, like the foundation of the legendary campsite... What surprised me the most was that I could perfectly understand old people! I had always thought that they had outdated opinions, they didn't like young people, they spoke too formally and only about times when they had been young and everything had been perfect. But everyone I talked to was very kind and helpful. And when I visited them, they received me with great enthusiasm. And most of them were very relaxed, when I spoke with them.” Bela Marie Samkova (17 years old)

At the end, one question seemed to be ringing in the minds of all young people involved in the project: What did it mean to be Scout then, what does it mean to be one today?

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