Every year’s World Scout Day on 1st August bears great significance to all that are affiliated with the Scouting. On 1st August 1907, the founder of Scouting, Lord Baden-Powell, took 20 teenagers from different background to the Brownsea Island in England for attending an eight-day experiment camp. Since then, this day was recognised as the beginning of the Scout Movement. Without this crucial moment in history, we may never get to know each other lest working together for the same vision. This also explains why most large-scale events such as the World Scout Jamboree and the World Scout Conference are usually held in August.
Since its launch more than a century ago, the Scout Movement has been pursuing the common goal of “Scouts as Active Citizens” by organising diversified activities and training programmes all over the world. Many years of dedicated efforts help create a clear and positive image of Scouting among all walks of life in Hong Kong. Versatile Scout programmes and skillset trainings are not the only causes, our collective efforts in providing services for the community are far more important. Being the uniformed group with the largest number of participants in Hong Kong, we always are the first to pop up in the mind of many organisers that require assistance from uniformed groups in their events. However, in the face of the current economic situation, social norm and other kinds of challenges, Scouting in Hong Kong also experiences problems like drop in the number of participants, difficulties in recruitment and brain drain. We should certainly give serious thoughts to various topics such as “What kind of image should we present ourselves to the public?”, “In response to the social needs, which elements should be included for further development of Scouting in future?” and “As a Scout member, what kinds of role I may play to help maintain or build the image of Scout?”, etc.
While we may be hit by different types of outcomes arising from the pandemic including the postponement and cancellation of Scout activities, we choose to take a proactive path – focusing on how to adapt under all kinds of constraints. The pandemic prompted us to adjust our usual paces and plans, and the “Hong Kong Scout – Health Guard” is an excellent example of new opportunities for us out of the pandemic.
Within just a few months, the Health Guard Programme has already launched a total of 60 items including our supporting service at quarantine centres. The programme encourages all participants to fight the virus with a positive thinking attitude and keep learning. At the same time, it promotes the spirit of “Scouts in One World”, helping family and friends by promulgating right information on the prevention of COVID-19. It is very encouraging to see that the attendance of 3,700 service scouts with a recorded beneficiary number of 21,000 and the online viewing rate is more than 320,000. These figures are a solid proof that the Information and Communication Technology (“ICT”) is the key for future development is in the Era of Big Data and ICT is one of the priority items among the five review and enhancement working groups that I established in May.
Moreover, WOSM has recently launched two online platforms, namely World Scout Academy and Youth Dialogues, to provide more learning and exchange opportunities among the Scout leaders and youth members, so to discuss how to shape the new normal and promote Scout Movement under the influence of the pandemic. I hope that all of us can continue to make good use of our Association’s resources and those available online, and keep learning through different modes so as to get prepared for the continuous development of Scouting in future.