Message from Chief Commissioner Gary Pienaar
Greetings to my fellow volunteers around the country, on this Gilwell Reunion Day.
Story telling is very much part of our African roots and tradition, and likewise our Scouting tradition. So today, as we celebrate the first Woodbadge course held in 1919 and remember the many men and women whose tireless service has helped spread adult leader training across the world, I’d like to leave you with three stories.
Firstly, a story of tradition. From the seed of Brownsea, to the great Gilwell Oak Tree. From two small wooden beads, from the very soil of South Africa, becoming the internationally recognized mark of a trained Scouter, Scouting has stood the test of time. Our symbolic framework of the Scout method weaving together what has worked and what makes us unique, with the needs and aspirations of future generations. Tradition and innovation together. For as every gardener knows, those that plant a seed are investing in the future.
Secondly, a story about us. Each of us gathered at Reunion events around the country, comes for a reason. A chance to meet old friends perhaps, to share and enjoy each other’s company, but most certainly because of a shared passion for Scouting, and the transformative value it has on the lives of people – both the young and the ‘not so young’. Because we can all attest to the power of Scouting and what it has meant to us as individuals at some point in our lives. That’s why we continue to give back …
And finally, a story of now. If you look at the headlines, of all that is happening in the world – intolerance, conflict, poverty, climate change, one can easily become despondent and disillusioned. But Scouting can stand out as a beacon of hope in these times, with its challenge of ‘Creating a Better World’. If you look, you will find many examples of stories about Scouts making a difference in their communities, of tackling societal issues with youthful enthusiasm and innovative ideas. So, to make a difference in the life of a child, the time is now. To inspire current and future volunteers and the next generation of leaders, the time is now.
So, my challenge to you … both young and ‘not so young’ alike, is let’s take our shared traditions, our personal stories, and make a difference for the youth of our country now! We all have our own part to play. That’s why Baden-Powell called Scouting a “Movement”, always looking forward and moving forward. So, help us be that movement and not a monument!
Two tiny wooden beads on leather thong. They could symbolize the hope of the world. It’s up to you.