It can be difficult to grasp what the actual meaning of the "World Brotherhood of Scouting" is until you get to experience it. Far too often, Scouts and adults leaders do not realise that Scouting goes beyond merit badges and camping. The values and skills learned by the Scouts are making them part of a worldwide community. Despite cultural, religious, and political differences, Scouts all around the world are sharing common ideals. Scouts are eager to become active citizens and work toward bettering their communities no matter where they live.
Scouts everywhere share an Oath/Promise and Law which are the foundations of our brotherhood, this is why the Boy Scouts of America are members of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. The WOSM membership badge (picture on the left) is a purple circular patch with a fleur-de-lis in the center, surrounded by a rope tied with a square knot. It is worn on the uniform of all the members around the globe.
Promoting the World Brotherhood of Scouting and increasing the awareness about what Scouting brings to young people can help make a difference, even here at home.
Focus Points for our Council
You do not have to travel very far to take part to an international project. Whether you are looking for something to do with your Troop or on your own, there are many options to explore. The Council International Committee picked 3 main focus points in order to increasingly encourage establishing international Scouting activities until 2019.
1. Messengers of Peace Program
Messengers of Peace is an international initiative to build excitement for service projects and for a betterment of oneself, the community we live in, and the world overall. It is easy, fun, and teaches Scouts to be aware of how their service to others helps not only themselves but many others as well.
Peace is more than the absence of war. It encompasses harmony between individuals, communities, and humankind and the environment. A “Messengers of Peace” service project is defined as any project that touches on one of these dimensions of peace:
1. The personal dimension: harmony, justice, and equality
2. The community dimension: peace as opposed to hostility or violent conflict
3. Relationships between humankind and its environment: security, social and economic welfare, and relationship with the environment
“If we apply love in place of fear we at once gain the diminution of poverty, crime, and disease in our individual countries, and we gain peace between the nations through mutual trust, honor, and goodwill.” - Sir Robert Baden Powell
You can start new projects in your own community and to contribute to the World Brotherhood of Scouting. If you are not familiar with the Messengers of Peace program, you can use these ready-to-use tools and activities to explore the personal dimension with your Troop.
2. International Awareness
Nowadays traveling is getting less expensive, people are also more willing to relocate for work or other reasons. It is likely that a Scout from your unit will someday move to a different area, or maybe to a different country. Scouts in your unit may already have an international background, know someone that moved to or from a foreign country, or have international students at their school.
Raising awareness about other cultures and countries is always interesting, and it is becoming increasingly important with globalization. Chances are, you will likely have someone in your pack or Troop that is from, lived, or knows a lot about a foreign country. If not, ask around you, you will be surprised to see how many people may be willing to talk about their family roots.
After discussing how life is in a foreign country and what is different there compared to the US (presentation during a meeting, joining a local international event in your community, …) you can ask the Scouts for instance to search a recipe and then cook dish of that country, create patrol posters on what they remember and liked.
Most countries offer scouting programs. It is easy to tie in what has been learned previously into how Scouts operate in a different country. You will be surprised by how much we have in common with scouts from other countries, even with large cultural differences. Here is an example about Scouting in France (presentation and pamphlet).
If get your Troop excited about International scouting, you should consider joining the next JOTA/JOTI or to attend a Jamboree.
3. Jamboree on the Air & Jamboree on the Internet
JOTA - JOTI is an international jamboree taking place around the world simultaneously. The event allows Scouts everywhere to meet virtually. It is easy to participate and it is open to Scouts of any age. This is the largest Scouting event in the world held the third weekend of October every year. JOTA - JOTI is organised by the World Organization of the Scout Movement.
JOTA (Jamboree on the Air) happens through Scouts communicating over the Air and typically requires speaking into a microphone and listening on the station speakers. Many other forms of specialized communication can also be used: web radios, voice chat, communication through a satellite relay, … Several amateur radio (also called ham radio) stations in our area like, the York County Amateur Radio Society, can help you to participate. To find one, and for more information, visit the website of the national association for Amateur Radio.
JOTI (Jamboree on the Internet) works on the same principles but uses the Internet to communicate: text-based chat, video chat, blogs, and social media networks. Scouts may participate at home with the help of an adult, or they can participate in a district or council. Also, JOTI participation can help to fulfill Citizenship in the World or Digital Technology merit badge requirements.
For more information, please visit the official World Organization of the Scout Movement’s website for JOTA-JOTI or on the BSA’s website JOTA & JOTI.