A word of hope on Youth Day

Message from Lawrence Stanton, Chair: Young Leaders Representative

Today – 16 June – marks Youth Day! You can be forgiven for not noticing though as this would have normally been a public holiday that all of us would have circled in our calendars. Most of us have lost our usual routines and we find ourselves living a much less organised lifestyle — balancing work, studies and other duties seemingly all at once from home. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly griped us into a slow and extended struggle against the virus which has disrupted our way of life, and in some ways will continue to do so for years to come.

Many things have changed, but not all has been negative, there are some positives. For Scouting it has widened our community. Our numerous discussion forums and Scouting-from-home activities have greatly eroded geographic barriers and have taught us so much in recent months. The substantial Rover and Scouter outreach projects have also firmly placed SCOUTS South Africa as a key community organisation, and reaffirmed Scouting as a powerful movement for good.

Scouting is a powerful movement for good.

While the turn of the tide against the pandemic remains unclear, I ask myself how are we going to move past COVID-19. On this question I find it useful to consider the history that got us here in the first place, especially today on Youth Day.

While we commemorate the events of a single day on June the 16th 1976, the importance of those actions were only realised decades later. A single dramatic event ultimately led to a very different reality for South Africa. COVID-19 is also currently causing a change in the direction of life in South Africa as well as Scouting. The effects thereof will only be realised later. The question is, how do we ensure that that outcome is a good one?

valuesYouth Day was successful in part due to the sheer number of people who found a common cause that day. Similarly, Scouting has found great success because we are a large community who have also found a common cause, which is expressed in the Scout Law and Promise. These common principles have guaranteed our success because they make us one movement, working together for the benefit of all youth.

Our common principles make us one movement that works together to benefit youth

The COVID-19 pandemic has ultimately challenged our ability to maintain unity by forcing us to remain at a distance from one another. But, like many challenges that have greeted us before, it would seem that our commitment to the values in the Scout Law and Promise have remained unwavering.

Never before have we had such vast national and indeed global engagement. Our new methods of Scouting are now poised to set us off into a new direction of growth and into new ways of youth development, as well as many other things we are yet to discover. We have shown that by enduring a virus one becomes stronger in the end.

While the way we do things may have changed, our principles and our values have not. In that knowledge, I find good hope for our future.

Stay safe, but stay true and stay young! Our new journey is just beginning.

Lawrence Stanton, Chair: Young Leaders Representative

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