Scouting and Peace
Norman MacLeod (gaelwolf@DMV.COM)
Sun, 1 Jun 1997 08:02:07 -0400
I have been reading Scouts-L recently, and have begun wondering if we
are losing some of the focus on just what Scouting's potential is in
terms of our responsibility to this and future generations. I know this
may come across as being a really heavy topic, and, in some ways, I have
to admit that it is. In other respects, though, there are things that we
can do that are not all that difficult to imagine, plan, and carry out.
In short, what has your Scout Group done recently to promote peace
Far-fetched? Maybe, but please allow me to quote from B-P in his preface
to "Scouting for Boys":
"In needs no great imagination to foresee vast international
possibilities at the outcome of this fast-growing brotherhood in the
near future. This growing spirit of personal friendship and wide-minded
goodwill among the future citizens of the nations behind it may not only
give it that soul, but may prove a still stronger insurance against the
danger of international war in the future. This may seem but a wild
dream, but so would it have been a wild dream had anyone imagined forty
years ago that this little book was going to result in a Brotherhood of
over six million Boy Scouts to-day and a corresponding sisterhood of
some three and a quarter million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts."
Now, keeping in mind that the numbers at the end were updated in the
version of the preface that I am using, and that more than forty years
have now passed since Scouting began, we have the seed of some pretty
significant programme opportunities here, I should think.
Our politicians of the day often seem to be incapable of preventing or
halting wars and other forms of destructive national policies. People
are killing other people in the name of some cause or another in many
different nations as you read this.
At least some of the politicians who can influence policy were Scouts in
their youth. How can our Scouts and Leaders of today use this as a means
of influencing the directions that their nations move in when questions
of policy and international disagreements come up? How influential can
present-day Scouts and Leaders be in pushing toward a more peaceful
future in nations where internal conflict or other serious problems
exist? (Please let me remind you that the Scout African Scout
Association refused to follow apartheid even in the face of the
possibility of significant legal difficulties for any person or group of
people who would openly defy apartheid laws...)
Scouting is a worldwide family. This is something that is not emphasised
in every nation, but should be. We are an international body that has
the very real possibility of becoming an influential force for peaceful
co-existence for all people everywhere.
B-P presented us with some direction here. Are concerned enough to take
up the challenge and run with it?
There are conversation threads in this mailing list that seem to take on
lives of their own. Can we breathe some life into this one and make it
an ongoing focal point with ideas and experiences that can help others
to bring some pressure to bear on the political structures of the day
for making the world safer for all of our children? Can we at least try?
What are your thoughts and ideas?
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City