Promote growth towards unity, grow future leaders as a team
Dear Brother and Sister Scouts,
I’m excited to be here with you today. Although I’ve visited Korea in the past, I am excited to be here again to spend this time with old friends and new found friends.
I’d like to thank the Korea Scout Association for being such an incredible host. I think many of us are feeling quite at home, thanks to their kindness and hospitality. They’ve gone all out to ensure that we have a productive conference.
Kahm-sa-ham-nee-da (thank you)!
The stage is set and we’ve a full agenda ahead of us. While expectations are high, I have no doubt that you’ll be able to meet them. You have the Regional volunteer leadership in place and your Regional staff is here to support each of them.
Some members of the World Scout Committee and my colleagues from the World Scout Bureau are also here. In fact, WSC Chairperson João Armando is here, as well as Vice Chairperson Jemima Nartey. Earlier, we also had Vice Chairperson Dan Ownby with us.
I would be remiss if I did not mention to you how proud I am of my World Scout Bureau staff. And this includes those here from both the Kuala Lumpur and the Makati City, Philippines Support Centres.
If you have any questions, do speak with the World Scout Committee members who are here, or, of course, any of the staff as well. All of us are here to support and add value to the meetings and discussions that will be held in the following days.
We left the World Scout Conference in Slovenia with a brand new Vision 2023. United by this ambitious vision and guided by the Triennial Plan 2014-2017, we have been engaged in high gear and moving full speed ahead, taking concrete and sustainable actions. This, of course, has been made possible by the unceasing energy of the World Scout Committee, and the tireless support of the World Scout Bureau.
There are also a number of people in the room today who have helped propel us forward.
Since receiving their mandate over a year ago, the World Scout Committee and staff have swung into action, strategising and planning for the triennium, tweaking and improving their plans over time. Needless to say, I’m impressed by their dedication to serve the Regions and NSOs by taking concrete efforts to fortify the unity, impact and organisational growth of the Movement. You will hear about these efforts from our Chairperson, Joao Armando.
I’m sure that by now, many of you would know our Vision Statement by heart:
“By 2023 Scouting will be the world’s leading educational youth movement, enabling 100 million young people to be active citizens creating positive change in their communities and in the world based on shared values.”
It’s been said that “Vision without action is just a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”
The Scout Movement is in the business of changing the world and with our vision in place, all we need is to now heed the advice of one of the world’s most famous inventors, Thomas Edison — "There's a way to do it better — find it.”
My challenge to you is to find that better and more effective way that will help us reach out to even more young people! Our Movement is counting on the NSOs of the Asia-Pacific Region to achieve great things.
The Asia-Pacific Region has embraced this mandate, getting more involved and change-oriented. You have adopted a number of major policies and programmes to reach out to even more young people via your 24-member National Scout Organizations (NSOs), two associate members and several potential members you are working with.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say again — let there be no doubt that Scouting is needed more today than at anytime in our history. Scouts are leaders and Messengers of Peace!
Messengers of Peace
Our Scout Messengers of Peace (MoP) have so far logged more than 635 million service hours. And I’m proud to say that the Scouts of India and the Philippines are among the top five in community service hours in all the world, while India, Malaysia and the Philippines are among the top five in the number of community service projects. And did you know that the top five users of scout.org are from India, Indonesia and the Philippines? That’s amazing!
Besides that, Scouts in the region have actively provided relief efforts during natural disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines (2013), the floods in Malaysia (2014) and the earthquake in Nepal (2015). Your training in disaster preparedness and first aid provided the much needed help in recovery and rehabilitation, and inspired hope in the victims. That’s what I call active citizens!
I believe that the Scouts in the Asia-Pacific Region are capable of doing much more. So, if you have ideas for projects that will strengthen your local Messengers of Peace programme but do not have enough funding, talk to us and apply for financial support. This fund is among the many “tools” we have created to nurture quality Scouting across the region.
Global Support Assessment Tool (GSAT)
The other tool that will help NSOs in capacity building is the Global Support Assessment Tool (GSAT). I can’t emphasise enough on the vital role NSOs play in expanding the reach of Scouting worldwide.
In our Vision for 2023, it is more imperative than ever that we assist our NSOs to build capacity, and to increase their financial support, as well as their number of youth members and adult leaders.
To achieve this, we have created a worldwide pool of trained volunteers and staff to help your NSO to build capacity, to set priorities, to get adequate support in place and monitor results.
So far, five NSOs have had a GSAT assessment – Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Sri Lanka. I hope those NSOs that have not yet done so will schedule one soon.
Programmes and Policies
Scouting is a Movement of young people supported by adults. From our total estimated membership of over 40 million, more than 82% are young people.
Scouting, therefore, provides learning opportunities in which adult volunteers support and encourage the development of young people from childhood to adolescence and early adulthood.
This period is the crucial stage to develop their values, knowledge, skills and behaviour that will allow them to contribute positively to society not only in the future but also in the present, as proven time and again by our Messengers of Peace programme.
Therefore, it has always been a practice at world level Scouting to review policies within our Movement. I’m pleased that this Region has been conducting implementation updates on various policies and programmes throughout this year. I’ve been informed that
• the Region will be aligning the APR Plan 2015-2018 to the Strategy for Scouting, and sharing of the Strategy/World Triennial in NSO planning/envisioning
• the World Adult Resources Policy was introduced in workshops, seminars, and leader training courses
• the revised World Youth Programme Policy and World Youth Involvement Policy were discussed at workshops and a Rover Council meeting (Scouts of China)
• 50% of NSOs in the Region have adopted the World Scout Environment (WSEP) Programme
• the Solar Badge was launched in the Region under the WSEP Badge
I’m pleased that you’re making great progress in those areas, and look forward to closer collaboration between WOSM and the Region’s NSOs to get you to “think globally and act locally” in relation to the plans, policies and programmes.
In the next few hours, you will receive updates on the progress and achievements of the World Scout Committee and its sub-structures in accomplishing the Triennial Plan.
After that, you are encouraged to participate in a series of important breakout sessions where you will be briefed on what we have been working on at the world level. You’re invited to provide inputs, which may influence ongoing efforts.
This is your chance; let your voice be heard! We want to ensure that the work we do at the world level mirrors your efforts in your NSO and the Region.
As Secretary General, my priority this triennium is to better utilise our volunteer and professional resources across the world to increase our global impact on young people and our service to NSOs.
And I invite you to make this your priority, too. To achieve this, we need to be united in our diversity, and promote growth towards unity.
As a team, we will grow tomorrow’s leaders by providing young boys and girls with an education for life, based on a strong set of values.
But it all starts with a trained leader. For me, this was my Scoutmaster John McWilliams.
Mr. McWilliams allowed the Scouts in my troop to assume various leadership roles. Oh yes, he was always right there in the background, should we ever require his sage advice.
He allowed us to fail from time-to-time, failing is all a part of learning. And I will always remain grateful for the leadership skills he helped me develop.
It is no coincidence, therefore that I could never bring myself to call Mr. McWilliams by his given name. He always was, and always will be, Mr. McWilliams to me. And I think this speaks to the high respect we have for our Scout leaders in a local Scout group.
Our commitment must be to give every young person we possibly can the opportunity to join a local Scout group.
It is in a local Scout group that values are shared.
It is in a local Scout group that leadership skills are learned.
It is in a local Scout group that our National Scout Organizations can help people change lives, and even sometimes save lives.
Everything that we do – our plans, strategies, actions – should be done with the Scout in mind.
It’s something I live by, each and everyday of my working life, and I remind all my team members to do the same as they work to serve the World Organization of the Scout Movement.
I’d like to close with something personal. It’s a bit of philosophy I shared with our Scouts at the closing of the World Scout Jamboree in Japan:
Think for a moment about the neckerchief we wear. Why does it have three sides?
I suggest to you that the longest side of our neckerchief represents Duty to God and Country from our Scout Promise; and that the other two sides each represent Duty to Others and Duty to Self.
If this is true, then when Scouts wear a neckerchief, they are literally wrapping themselves in the very values found in our Scout Promise.
Now I do not believe anyone can tell me the values and value of Scouting is not worth whatever effort is required to ask more young people to join! To have them wear a neckerchief. To have them wrap themselves in the values of our Scout Promise. Not just recite the words in their Promise… But to live the words in their daily lives.
If you believe in Scouting as I do, then let’s join in helping make our Vision for 2023 a reality.
Dear friends, my name is Scott Teare.
I am a Scout.
I am a Messenger of Peace.
I am proud to serve as your Secretary General!
[Photo credit: Kyuho Choi and Hank Hyungkyu Jang from Korea Scout Association]