Hanging out with Scouts

Few weeks ago I had the privilege to be part of the World Scouts Conference, the most important governance event of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement, a close YMCA partner in global, national and local levels.

We have been cooperating with the Scout movement since long time and in some countries we are part of the same organization like in Sweden and Norway.

Be a guest in such conferences it’s always an interesting experience as we are able to compare things that we do and things that they do and learn but, the most important conclusion is how close we are when it comes to our passion for young people and their potential.

Their World Conference happened in Slovenia, and short after our YMCA World Council in USA. It was really good to basically just be a regular participant while I was imagining all the work off stage to organize a conference with some many people from so many different countries. I knew the feeling, very fresh in my mind, and I was happy to see them doing a really god job.

They were discussing themes that are very close to our YMCA reality. Many of the struggles of their movement are similar to ours.

They are discussing how to advance youth empowerment within their organisation. They are working on “Global Support”, our old friend YMCA Movement Strengthening and they also, for the first time, approved a full strategy for their movement in this conference.

More than just sharing passions and similar values, Socuts and YMCA have been working together in some initiatives. One of them is the so called “Big Six”; the regular gathering of CEOs of Global Youth Organisations where experiences and challenges are shared as well as visions on how those movements can get closer together in benefit of young people. The same happens in ICMYO, the International Coordination of Youth Organisations, where both YMCA and Scouts always worked together.

In 2013 we trained young leaders for advocacy work in Paris, New York and Kenya where there are UN Centers promoting discussions of relevance to young people. In Europe, there is a history of cooperation and work on advocacy inside the European Youth Forum as well structures of the Council of Europe. In Latin America, Scouts have been part of the University of Citizenship Participation and more specifically in Brazil; there is cooperation on the work of the National Youth Council.

The opportunities for collaborations are real and limitless between those two friend organisations, therefore, it’s very likely that we will continue to hang around with Scouts.

Romulo Dantas
Executive Secretary for Youth Empowerment and Communications
World YMCA