By Craig Turpie, Chairperson World Scout Committee
Our Founder’s birthday is an occasion for Scouts everywhere to celebrate. Today, 22 February, we recall our Scouting adventures, meet our Scouting friends, proudly wear our scarves and celebrate the great diversity of our worldwide Movement. Today is also a time for us to renew our Scout Promise and our commitment to creating a better world.
We should be in no doubt that Baden-Powell would be very proud of us. We have been Growing Together for more than 111 years and, today, reach more than 50 million young people worldwide with an ambition to double that number by 2023. We certainly have plenty of reasons to celebrate.
This year, we mark Founder’s Day during another exciting occasion for Scouting: The Rover Centenary. Rovers worldwide are taking part in events such as International Rover Week, Roverway, the Interamerica and Arab Scout Moots, and many more national ones. These gatherings provide opportunities for this generation of leaders to learn from each other, broaden their perspectives and hold out their hands in friendship. If you are looking for inspiration for marking the occasion, check out scout.org/rovers100 – and share your ideas with us too.
However, Rovering, and Scouting in general, have a greater purpose than just providing a fun experience for youth. Baden-Powell once said, “Look above the level of things around you and see a higher aim and possibility to your work.” Today, let us take inspiration from his words, look beyond our limits, and act to create a better world.
You are invited to make this Founder’s Day extraordinary. Through our unique educational programme, think about how you can make a positive difference – for the environment, for your family and friends, for your community – and if you need inspiration or support for your ideas, check out the Scout Donation Platform. It has been running for six months and has helped Scouts complete fascinating projects from providing much-needed assistance to earthquake survivors in Mexico to preventing teenage pregnancy in Rwanda.
The Founder believed Scouting helps young people by providing opportunities for them to look wide, beyond their own needs, to the wider needs of humanity itself. His thoughts are still relevant today. In a world facing burning challenges such as armed conflict, poverty, hunger, climate change and gender inequality, Scouting continues to provide a constructive response by empowering young people to actively contribute in finding solutions to these global challenges by taking action locally.
Scouts worldwide contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through the simplest of actions: from preventing hunger through growing vegetable gardens, to alleviating street children from poverty through providing vocational training, to promoting gender equality and pledging support to the UN Women HeForShe campaign.
As we share this special day with our friends in Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting who are marking World Thinking Day, let us recommit to working together because by doing so, we can be a stronger force for young women and men everywhere.
Remember, you don’t have to do something big. Great things can start from the humblest of beginnings – just like our remarkable worldwide Movement.
On behalf of World Scouting I wish you all a happy Founder’s Day.
Craig Turpie, Chairperson World Scout Committee