Newly elected World Scout Committee Chairman Rick Cronk was speechless! In just three months Saudi Scouting had put together a national action programme for cleaning up the environment.
During Rick’s previous visit he discussed with Abdullah Fahad, the Scout association’s volunteer CEO, how the Boy Scouts of America ran environment protection programmes. Abdullah saw this as a vital need in the Kingdom where areas of desert are taken for granted by picnickers and campers. Plastic bottles, bags and other debris buried in shallow holes are uprooted when the wind whips up the sand.
On a bright day in March, Rick joined the Chief Scout Prince Faisal and 1,000 Scouts from the Riyadh region for the launch of their cleanup programme. The Scouts fanned out and on the first day collected 12 tonnes of rubbish. The next day they worked with picnicking families, explaining the need to bring rubbish home. With the families they collected 16 more tonnes of rubbish!
Countrywide, the total was 75 tonnes in just one weekend!
The most important accomplishment was not the impressive volume of rubbish, but the message of environmental protection brought to 150,000 homes in the Kingdom.
“It’s all about leadership,” Rick says. “Abdullah and his team of leaders had the idea. They worked closely with two Saudi environmental non-governmental organizations, got sponsorship from Saudi companies ... and made it happen! But Abdullah’s team are all volunteers - they have no paid staff at all! They thrive on challenge and really enjoy their work. So the funds invested in the programme have been multiplied 100 times by the volunteer efforts of the Saudi Scout leadership. What an incredible team!”