22nd European Scout Conference - Stokke, Norway
Dear brothers and sisters in Scouting
We left the World Scout Conference, in 2014, with a new Vision for the Scout Movement in 2023.
To make this vision a reality we committed to concentrate our efforts on 6 Strategic Priorities: Educational Methods, Youth Engagement, Social Impact, Diversity & Inclusion, Communication & Relations, and Governance & NSO support.
As you know, the committee developed a Triennial Plan that is the key reference for the work to be undertaken. This plan, which was shared with the entire Organisation, was built around 3 main ideas: Unity, Impact and Growth
I’m happy to report that exciting developments have happened in the past year and a half, and some others are in the process. And I can give you a few examples:
1. The work on our definition and measurement of Social Impact, as to what it means for us
2. The work on a new Communications & External Relations Strategy, including the definition and scope of collaboration with partners like the United Nations
3. The preparation and/or delivery of Youth Events: WSJamborees (Japan & North America) and WSMoot (Iceland)
4. The improvement of our internal working methods, as a Committee, and the overall transparency in WOSM
5. The implementation of the Global Support Assessement Tool (GSAT) which has now been used by more than 25% of NSOs and is seen as a valuable instrument for improvement
6. The new era of strengthened collaboration with key partners such as the World Scout Foundation and WAGGGS
7. The strong focus on membership, covering issues like recognition of new NSOs, reporting systems, or criteria for admission
8. The implementation of a series of financial best practices and management systems which enables the organisation to have a better control over its resources
9. The work on finding a new Representation and Fee Systems which will be more fair, aplicable to all, and able to face, in a sustainable way, the demands of an Organisation that aims to serve 100 million individual members not long from now
10. The preparations for the 2nd World Scout Education Congress that will happen in Kandersteg in May 2017
But on top of all that I also want to share that we started working on the future: thinking on the elements of the next triennial plan but, more importantly, about the potential changes our organisation needs to do in order to achieve our Vision 2023.
In recent times, European Scouts have given the world a remarkable example of what it means to be welcoming, supportive, compassionate. To be at the “service” of other human beings. The work you have done in providing relief and support to people running from a devastating war in Syria was outstanding and moving. I was touched by the stories I read from initiatives been taken in Austria, in Germany, in Former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia, in Greece and so many more places. I thank you for the inspiration you provided to Scouts from all over the world. But above all, I thank you for the Service you provided (and still do) to other human beings.
This is how our Movement can strive to develop and grow in these changing times: by maintaining our common values, by sharing with, and learning from, our colleagues, and by being ready to build our common future together.
Let me finish by telling a little personal story:
Every time I visit an NSO I try to visit some local groups and meet young Scouts. I normally like to ask them “What do you like in Scouting? Why are you a Scout?” I have been having the most heartwarming responses, as you can imagine:
"Because it’s fun | Because we do lots of activities | Because we make friends | Because we do projects in our communities | Because we can improve our weak points, our flaws."
A couple of months ago I was visiting a very special local group in an NSO in this Region. As I sat with a unit of venturers I asked the same question. A 15 old girl looked at me, with a big smile and shiny eyes, and told me
“I like Scouting because here I can be myself. Nobody judges me, unlike what happens in other places."
Is there a better example of an inclusive environment? Of an environment which values our individual differences and builds from them?
Let’s do everything possible to keep Scouting this welcoming environment which respects the differences and builds from them. Doesn’t matter if we live in the UK, in Japan, in Kenya or in Peru. We’re all part of this big family which wants to grow.
We have to count on each other to be the leading educational youth movement in the world. I, and the other brothers and sisters around the world certainly count on you all to build that.
Thank you for all you do for Scouting and for the young people in Europe.
I wish you a good and fruitful Regional Conference!
Extracted from the World Scout Committee Chairperson’s Address to the participants of the 22nd European Scout Conference on 19 June 2016.
Photo credit: Bjarne Lohmann Madsen