John D. Jayakumar
November 07 is the Foundation Day of Bharat Scouts and Guides. It is on this day in the year 1950, the various Boy Scout and Girl Guide organizations in India united to form one National Unit called Bharat Scouts and Guides. It is the right occasion to pay a little tribute to this little giant of a movement that was founded in the year 1907 by Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden Powell of Gillwell.
SCOUTING today is a worldwide grass-root educational movement of the young people and their adult supporters. It is the world’s largest uniformed youth movement with upward of 40 million in membership in 162 countries of the world. When the last count was made, only 6 countries did not subscribe to the vision and mission of Scouting, but even that number is shrinking, for Myanmar has joined back the movement as I am writing this piece.
Although the original idea for Scouting for boys, as a peace scout movement came from a soldier, a much decorated one at that with many campaigns under his belt, right from the outset, the movement was driven by the boys and girls themselves (yes, the girls were there from the very beginning, who created a place for themselves in a movement that was not originally meant for them). They read the booklets written by Baden Powell, the founder of Scouting, organised their little scout PATROLs , appropriated the village commons and started escorting old ladies cross the street whether they wanted it or not. There was nothing to speak off as adult leaders, excepting some village school masters and kind vicars of the local churches. This bottom-up structure is the hall mark of the Scouting for boys and girls and its peer-to-peer leadership methodology is still the most copied system in other youth organizations.
The MISSION of Scouting is: To contribute to the education of young people through a value system based on the Scout Promise and Law; and, To help build a BETTER WORLD where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in the society.
This Scouting wants to achieve through a non formal educational process and a specific methodology that makes each participant the principal agent of his or her own development as a self-reliant, self supportive, self- responsible and committed person.
Scouting is a Global Movement with a VISION to make real contribution towards creating a better world. It wants to assist the young people to establish a value system based on spiritual, social and personal principles as expressed in Scout Promise and Law. This was also the wish of the founder as expressed in his last testament before his death. Scouting believes that the challenge of creating a better world is big enough not only to attract young people from all segments of society to Scouting, but also to persuade adults to contribute to Scouting by working with the young people, with profit to themselves. The ultimate vision of Scouting is to create a dynamic, innovative movement with adequate resources, simple structures and down to grassroots democratic processes, where the young will have their say at all possible levels.
Thus, the first STRATEGY for Scouting is all cut out. That is to get more youth involved in its decision making processes. The second is to support the adolescent young in their transition to adulthood. The third is to strive for gender equality in the movement with more of sharing in responsibilities and in the balance of male – female ratio. Fourthly, Scouting aims at breaking down cultural, social and economic barriers and bringing together the young from broad segments of the society. Encouraging adult volunteers to Scouting and broadening the adult support base is the central point of the fifth strategy. Sixthly, developing Scouting as a 21st Century Orgnisation which is keenly aware of the fast changing needs of the society and capable of responding to them quickly and effectively is the next strategy. The seventh and the final strategy is to strengthen Scouting’s communication networking, its partnership policies and its resource mobilisation plans to achieve its mission and vision.
Based on these mission, vision and strategies, Scouting has worked out its latest triennial plan that will improve its leadership, innovation and service goals in the near future, All to offer a better educational opportunity for the young of our world.