Last month, I was invited to the Africa Scout Day celebrations in Accra, Ghana. From 9 to 13 March, I had the pleasure and honour of speaking to key Scouting figures in the region as well Scout leaders and Scouts from more than 14 African countries. While
Last month, I was invited to the Africa Scout Day celebrations in Accra, Ghana. From 9 to 13 March, I had the pleasure and honour of speaking to key Scouting figures in the region as well Scout leaders and Scouts from more than 14 African countries. While it was definitely not my first visit to the region, their passion for young people and Scouting never fails to inspire me. On 12 March, I was invited to speak to Scouts and their leaders at the 6th All Africa Scout Day celebrations. Please allow me to share my speech with you. I have two messages to share with you today. The first one is a message for the young people and the second message is for the leadership of Scout associations that we have represented here today. So, the message to young people is that: A long time ago, like 56 years ago at the age of eight, I got to join the Cub Scouts. All my buddies joined, so I couldn’t wait to do the same thing and I joined the Cub Scouts with them. And I learned very quickly, that some dude named Baden-Powell came up with this idea that you raise your two fingers up in the air in the Cub Scouts sign and that represented the ears of the wolf. And you were supposed to be very quiet at that point because the wolf wanted to hear what was being said. But you also raised your two fingers way up in the air and recited your Cub Scout promise and your law of the pack. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my introduction to the fact that Scouting embraced things like duty to God – and it made it important for me then, my religious belief and my going to church every Sunday; duty to country – for I saluted the flag at school and did the pledge of allegiance; duty to others and duty to self. And that carried on into Boy Scouting where the Cub Scout sign wasn’t used. Now it was the Boy Scout sign with three fingers. And three fingers for a very good reason. Baden-Powell also developed a neckerchief with three sides. So the message to young people is to always remember, when you get ready to get your neckerchief out, the long side – if you will, the important side, was Baden-Powell’s message to you to remember that in your promise, you promise duty to God and country first. The other two sides, duty to others and duty to self. When our young people roll that neckerchief and wear it like our friend here does, they are literally wrapping themselves in the values found in our promise – duty to God and country, duty to others and duty to self. Jemima, thank you so much for your message. And to my brother, Wayne Davis, when you do the multiplication factor the impact that we have in society is absolutely incredible. And to you your Excellency, I learned last night that your friends in Ghana call you J.J., and with affection. It seems like all the last couple of times I’ve come to Africa, you’ve been there. And you have shared with me your passion to help people. I admire that passion, I respect your passion and I support everything that you stand for. Because I have a passion too, and it’s to serve young people. Because if we could turn a generation of young people into fine ladies and gentlemen, I promise you they’ll be better spouses, better parents, better employees, better employers and better prepared to give back to our society. No matter what, we must involve more young people in Scouting. If the programme is as good as we say it is, if we do those things I just listed then we must invite young people to join. And that is the keyword, invite! You cannot sit back and wait for them to come. You have got to go find them and invite them. You can find them in the living room of their homes watching television. You can find them hiding in their bedrooms playing video games. You find them out in the parks playing sports. You can find them on the streets walking around. You can find them in the alleys just talking among themselves. But find them! Find them and invite them to join the greatest youth movement on the planet. And I promise you, that we will have raised a new generation of young people that are prepared to give the leadership that I see in you, sir (John Jerry Rawlings). In case I didn’t introduce myself when I got up here – I always forget to do things like that, My name is Scott Teare. I am a Scout. I am a Messenger of Peace. And I am proud to be your Secretary General. Thank you!
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