Empowering Scouting in Africa
Good Morning Conference!
How nice it is to be with you here today. It is doubly exciting for me personally as this is my first visit to an Africa Regional Scout Conference and my first visit to the country of Uganda as well.
I extend my sincere thanks to our hosts. From the moment I walked off the plane and onto the soil of this great country, there has been nothing short of the warmest of hospitality and friendship extended to me and my colleagues gathered here. I’ve seen it with my own eyes and I’ve felt it in my heart of hearts. “Thank you” to my dear friends of the Scout Association of Uganda!
And to my colleagues from the World Scout Committee (WSC) and World Scout Bureau (WSB), thank you for all you’re doing to help bring added value to the meetings that will take place during this conference. I remain grateful to you for your support.
Dear delegates, you have a full agenda for your conference and I am convinced you will do well to fulfil every expectation set for this meeting.
You have the Regional volunteer leadership in place to do this and your Regional Staff is here to support each of them. To those who planned this conference and those who will deliver the promise it holds, thank you!
It has been exactly one year since the World Scout Conference in Slovenia where a new Vision for the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) was approved, a new World Scout Committee elected, and ideas/direction for a new Triennial Plan were formulated. It was an exciting time and a true turning point for our Movement.
Since that conference, I hope you have seen what I have seen: A new direction for our movement, a new vitality, and a new excitement about reaching more young people and at a speed that is rapidly approaching the television series Star Trek’s “warp speed!” Fasten your seat belts, because this World Scout Committee is going places.
Your new World Scout Committee is fully engaged and committed to fulfil their obligation to better support your Region and your National Scout Organizations (NSOs).
“…and it all began with a Big Bang!”
The Committee met for the first time in Slovenia while the ink was still wet on the ballots… well maybe there was not still “wet ink,” but they met swiftly to formulate plans for the next three years.
And so the “Big Bang” began with that first meeting and it was followed by an intense 12 months of activity that our Chairman, João Armando will share with you in a few minutes.
All of the activities he will share with you are aimed at strengthening Unity, Impact and Organisational growth.
Isn’t it always nice to talk about what we have done? To spend a little time in the past? It’s a matter of record. It’s easy to go back and see. It’s a “comfort zone” we all enjoy. It’s like telling old tales around a campfire. It’s fun. It’s relaxing. It brings a sense of reassurance.
But let’s ask the tough question, “What will you do for me now?”
Albert Einstein said, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
Our new Vision Statement demands our imagination:
“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.”
The time has come to use imagination to change our all too comfortable status quo and to focus on new ideas to reach more young people.
And my friends, the spotlight is on the Africa Region. Yes, the bright lights are shining on you right now!
The world is looking for you – yes you! – To show what this Region is capable of doing between right now and the end of 2023. “What will the Africa Region’s contribution be,” is the question of the day.
What will your commitment be?
It is from my personal experiences that if you try to do something big, then it becomes very hard to completely fail. Use your imagination and think of what the possibilities are for you and your NSO.
Let there be no doubt that Scouting is needed more today than at anytime in our history. Scouts are Leaders and Scouts are Messengers of Peace.
Just watch the news today to know there is a real need for our programme.
Know that we must – we must – do everything in our power to help our National Scout Organizations increase their capacity to grow.
To grow in youth members.
To grow in adult leaders.
To grow in financial support.
Please remember this: Scouting is a Movement of young people, supported by adults. From WOSM’s total estimated membership of over 40 million, more than 82% are young people. They are in their formative years; acquiring knowledge, skills and attitudes that make them more open to perform positively in society – not just in the future, but also today.
Even though they are still in a learning process, this does not stop them from active contributions, both within and outside our Movement. As we jointly define the outcome for this triennium, I urge that we continue to remember that the education of young people is at the centre of everything we do.
Now I come from Texas, y’all. Where I come from they often say, “Talk is cheap!”
I have said many times, publicly and privately, that you should expect (if not demand) decisive leadership from your World Scout Committee.
So this is EXACTLY why your World Scout Committee is moving forward with focused leadership to provide capacity strengthening tools to help NSOs.
In order to grow quality Scouting across the globe, we must support and strengthen the capacity of our National Scout Organizations.
Talk is cheap.
Support is required!
This led WOSM to create the Global Support Assessment Tool (GSAT). To support the rollout of this tool across the globe, a worldwide pool of trained volunteers and staff has been created to help NSOs set priorities, get adequate support in place and then monitor the results.
The Global Assessment Tool is your starting point for capacity building. If you have had the assessment, then don’t just sit there… let’s get things moving! If you have not had an assessment, then let’s get one scheduled!
The other tool that is available to everyone right here, right now is the Messengers of Peace programme where the application for financial support to help with capacity strengthening projects is encouraged. If you do not apply, then someone else will!
And that’s just two tools available for you to consider using.
During this conference, we hope many more ideas may peak your interest. And I fully believe in the theme you have set for the Conference, Scouting is indeed “Africa’s leading social force for youth empowerment.”
Over the next hours, you will continue the journey with my colleagues from the world level in Scouting. You will hear from our Chairman of the World Scout Committee, and others, on the updates and achievements of the Committee and its sub-structures in accomplishing the Triennial Plan thus far.
This will be followed by a series of important breakout sessions. During these sessions, you will not only get further details on the work we have been doing at the world level on those specific topics, but will also have an opportunity to provide inputs to influence the ongoing work.
Do take the opportunity to let everyone know what the Africa Region wants to say. Do ensure that the work we do at the world level also reflects everything you do in your NSOs and the Africa Region overall. Now is your chance.
During this Triennium, my priority as Secretary General is straightforward: How can we better utilize our volunteer and professional resources across the world to increase our global impact on young people and our service to NSOs?
With such focus, we will grow tomorrow’s leaders by providing young girls and boys with an education for life, based on a strong set of values.
To achieve this goal, we need to be united in our diversity.
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.
Every plan, every strategy, every action of ours should be done with the Scout in the middle of everything.
I believe in this, and everyday of my working life, I think of the Scout who is at the centre of everything that we do, 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 this morning with something personal: 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 from our Scout Promise… in some NSOs it may represent Duty to God and Duty to Country; 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 wrapping themselves in the very values found in our Scout Promise.
Now I do not believe anyone can tell me the value and values 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!