Scouting - bringing hope worldwide
Apologies for not blogging earlier, but I have to confess to being on holiday for the past week or so in warmer climes with the family and have taken a break from Scouting. Well, as much of a break as many of us take…
I was greeted by a story on CNN at the beginning of the week about a Cub Pack who had found a gold ring tied to the top of a Christmas tree amongst those they had been collecting for recycling.
In true Scouting fashion, they were now searching for the rightful owner of the lost ring. Bringing to life our international language of being honest, helping others and being kind and considerate etc.
The international strength and compassion of our Movement has come to the fore with the catastrophe in Haiti. We were cruising relatively close to the Island at the time of the earthquake, although we didn’t realise anything was wrong until watching the news and seeing the horrific pictures, but it really brought home the severity of the position so many find themselves in. Scouts across the world responded almost immediately, with offers of help and support through our 30,000 fellow Scouts in the Country.
Our partner, ShelterBox also responded immediately in providing the specialist support that they do in such situations. We have worked with them since May of last year with many Scout Groups across the UK helping in their fundraising efforts and in other ways. I was lucky enough to meet their founder, Tom Henderson, when he was guest speaker at our youth conference, Insight, late last year.
A Rotarian and former Royal Navy search and rescue diver, Tom saw that the aid response to most disasters was in the form of food and medicine to help people survive the immediate aftermath. Little or no assistance was given in terms of proper shelter to help them through the first few days, weeks and months as they tried to rebuild their lives. ShelterBox was launched to fill that void.
The success of our partnership means that we have been able to assist those in need almost immediately, with teams from ShelterBox being amongst the first aid workers to arrive in Haiti, with effective and sustainable help. They require our continual support so as to be ready for the next disaster of course.
Whilst it is great to know that Scouting has proved how compassionate we are at such times, it is particularly encouraging for me to know that we have 28 million young people across the World demonstrating these qualities every week, just as those Cub Scouts in the US were doing last weekend, and not just at times of such appalling natural and manmade disasters.