Today was a rather interesting day. The rest of the Singapore contingent went for various activities after the Scout’s Own, such as World Point, GLOBE and The Rocks. However, me and my buddy had to go for Summit Stories.

What is Summit Stories? It is a new initiative where both participants and external guests are invited to share about the transformative nature of scouting. There were speakers from Hong Kong, the US, Taiwan and many more, and they were all equally of value. However, I would like to share one particular story and my reflections on it. It was by someone known as John C.C. May. He is a very old scout, and he shared 2 particular stories – one of Sasha and one of Joseph.

John C.C. May

The story of Sasha began in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Scouting is usually banned in totalitarian regimes, and the Soviet Union is a prime example of that. However, scouting still carried on underground, as adequately exemplified by the Czech motto – Unbreakable (that is actually what it means). And after communism was abolished, a rejuvenation of scouting began – Sasha got a group of friends and started scouting on his own. He got a translated version of Scouting for Boys from May, and he simply created scouting out of nothing. Scouting was able to gather people together for a common purpose. Whether one is in a well established scouting country such as the UK, or whether it was in its infancy, it unites and makes people have a certain sense of purpose in their lives which is simply too beautiful.

The second story is a more touching one – this occurred during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. May was there, and he was at a refugee camp at the borders near Rwanda and Uganda. There were thousands of orphaned, young children who were disempowered. Without any figure to support them on, they simply shrivel up like a baby sprout trying to grow. And there were so many children at risk of this. But scouts from Uganda had come over to accompany the kids – they stayed with them and helped them. And why did they decide to do this? Because they were scouts, and that was the right thing to do.

Isn’t it a beautiful thing, what scouts can achieve when they put their mind and soul to it? We are a body 50 million strong. When everyone plays their part, no matter how small, it can add up to something greater than the sum of its parts. It is such a fantastic endeavour, what scouts can do if we all do a good turn a day. There is a quote from Dr Seuss which I think fits with the spirit of scouting, “To the world, you may be a man, but to a man you may be the world.”

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