Scouting is a worldwide movement for youth aimed at producing community-minded, independent, able individuals and young leaders who see beyond sectarianism and narrow self-interest, while positively influencing those people around them.
Therefore far apart from all your books at home, school and the usual routine in your daily life; surfing the net and playing computer games, a new avenue awaits such young talented individuals – Scouting.
“Scouting” was a brainchild of Lord Baden Powell – a great British warrior, who is responsible for the establishment of the World Scout Movement in 1907. It was started in Sri Lanka in 1912 with the prime objective of making “better use” of the free time of boys. The World Scout Movement is now the biggest youth body in the world consisting of more than 28 million members. Smart, Courteous, Obedient, Useful and Trustworthy citizens have been the marvellous fruit of this movement for the last 105 years.
Scouting basically starts at the age of 8 (Usually grade 3) where a student is enrolled as a Cub Scout. After spending almost 3 years as a Cub Scout and achieving the Gold Star, he may then become a Scout where he is invested and is officially accepted as a member of the worldwide brotherhood of Scouts.
The structure of the badgework programme in Scouting may be mainly divided into two main categories – the theoretical aspect and the practical aspect. When talking of the theoretical aspect of it, it involves all the basic knowledge that is expected of a citizen in a country including knowledge about the National symbols, map reading, vandalism, and social health, productivity concepts and many more.
Practicality comes into play in almost all the aforesaid areas and this involves activities ranging from engaging in all different sports, pioneering skills, cooking, outdoor camping, survival skills, first-aid skills, entertainment skills and all the different and amazing knots that you may use in unbelievably odd instances. For this reason itself, the definition of “Scouting” far exceeds the scope of a sport, society or for that matter any activity that are in offer for school students. At the same time it can be clearly noted that Scouting is simply learning “life” in an interesting way.
Amidst all these, since the idea of extra-curricular activities at school level is to teach the students how to help the society, it could clearly be seen how Scouting achieves this objective modestly. Community service projects are an integral part of the life of any Scout and these are required to be conducted by each Troop at least once year. This further extends to the level where it is a compulsory item of the curriculum of the President’s Scout Award, to carry out a community service project by each Scout.
All these skills that are acquired by a Scout ensures that he comes out to the society as an all-rounded individual who is equipped with all the necessary potential to face whatever challenge in life. Meanwhile the modus operandi prescribed by the movement in order to achieve these goals is through the honing of various skills and competencies through years of training in the badge work and patrol system. This happens through adhering to a specific code of conduct, namely, the Scout Promise and Law.
The culmination of this process of training, and indeed the symbol of having attained the status of an individual who might possess all these qualities and competencies, is none other than the President’s Scout Award. It is worthy of note that the President’s Scout parchment, which certifies the award to an individual, is signed by the President of Sri Lanka himself. Furthermore, this award is commended as a considerable achievement in anyone’s life, as it shows to the society around him how much of learning and hardship the Scout has undergone to achieve such a prestigious award.
When talking of the exposure that a Scout is subjected to receive, it proves to be a collection of great experiences when it comes to adult life ventures. Such fine opportunities offered in the system of Scouting are world Jamborees, international youth conferences, leadership training camps and so on that are held regularly in many countries. At the moment, the 23rd World Scout Jamboree is happening in Yamaguchi, Japan – read more here… This much of international exposure definitely takes the individual to a new level in shaping his personal attitudes, thinking, problem-solving and critical analysis that is expected of an all-rounded citizen.
Today, we live in a world that is moving at a speed that is only second to speed of light. It has definitely deviated from the level of social complexity that our grandparents experienced, and the society is continuing to be more complex day by day. In this sense, the responsibility of molding and producing individuals armed with the latest knowledge in technological and social insights, boils down to the education system of a country. Therefore it can be clearly seen how a systematic approach such as Scouting contributes most to such an educational framework, yielding results that are second to none.
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