How “Scouting” Stands to be the Greatest Global Education Youth Movement Of the 21st Century

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Over a hundred years ago, an experimental camp held at Brownsea Island, near Poole in Dorset England, of twenty boys, proved to be a success to its organizer—a Robert Baden-Powell. His training and methods seemed to appeal to young people. “Scouting for Boys” was published by Baden-Powell, a book he had only intended to be a training manual where youth organizations like the YMCA or Boys’ Brigade could adopt, ended up being one of the best selling books of all time. The success of the book created a movement where youngsters started to organize themselves into what was to become one of the largest voluntary youth movements in the world—that quickly adopted the name of the “Boy Scouts”. 

His simple advice of “try and leave this world a little better than you found it” is as relevant, if not more today than ever. Baden-Powell, whose headstone reads “Chief Scout of the World” is known as the father of a global phenomenon that encompasses a growing number of over 50 million young people around the world today. It is the largest educational movement of its kind in the world of the 21st Century. 

The world is in a place where there is need to find solutions to the interconnected challenges of the 21st Century. The challenges we face are diverse but certainly concerns us all because more than ever, individual actions have global impact. We need Global Solutions for a better world but what way and how do we find them? 

The Scout’s Non-formal Education Solution:

The Formal Education that teaches reading and writing is needed but is it empowering enough to create a better world? What if education can go beyond the classroom and enhance how to think and act? What if Education can empower to be mind-transformative enough, to lead to a place where we care more about the world we live in and the people we share it with? What if education can teach us about peace, intercultural communication, sustainability, human rights, global justice , respect, cultural diversity or protection of the environment? 

The Scout Movement appears to be the answer or solution to the gap problem Formal Education is incapable of filling in today’s world. With this astounding number of over 50 million Scouts around the world and with a vision that by 2023, Scouting will be the world’s leading non-formal educational youth movement, enabling 100 million young people to be active citizens, creating positive change in their communities and in the world, the Scout Movement stands to be the greatest force in building a generation of global active citizens of change-makers through their method of non-formal Global Education approach. 


With the branded slogan of “Creating a Better World”, the Scouting mission is to contribute to the education of young people— through World Scout Programmes. Key initiatives such as Messengers of Peace (MOP) allows Scouts to take on projects to inspire others for action; the World Scout Environment Programme and the Scout Centres of Excellence for Nature and Environment (SCENES) allows Scouts to exercise  ways in conserving and protecting nature ; Scout Aid Nepal/Haiti where in April 2015, Scouts worldwide rallied behind the Nepal Scouts and supported their earthquake relief and recovery efforts —similarly with the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane; Safe from Harm initiatives provides children and young people with a safe environment; Food for Life allows for food security of Scouts in the African region; KAICIID partnership/Dialogue for Peace equips Scouts with the skills to enhance inter-religious and intercultural dialogue and promote peace; the Cub Scout Centenary…  all these are some of the global initiatives that creates the room for active citizenship for Scouts. 

The Scout movement as a voluntary non-political educational movement for young people is open to all without distinction of gender, origin, race or creed. It offers young people the opportunity to develop their full emotional , intellectual , physical, social and spiritual potentials as individuals, as responsible global citizens and members of their local, national and international communities. 

What is so empowering about Scouting as a movement of the 21st Century —where there is need for change in areas of Sustainability, Poverty, Terrorism and so on is that throughout the world, Scouts work towards creating positive change and establishing peace in their communities in many different ways. Assisting in relief operations after devastating natural disasters in Haiti and Ecuador; helping displaced communities in conflict areas such as Syria and Lebanon; preventing bullying in schools in Costa Rica; encouraging interactions, integrating communities and working with refugees in Europe; to leading social mobilization initiatives in Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone – a community can be assured of relief in the instance of any Crisis once there is an active National Scout Organization present in that region. Ultimately, Scout heroes are the Youth Solution providers to the Global Challenges of the World. If they accomplish their Vision 2023, they stand to indeed be the greatest youth movement of this generation! 

To fully comprehend the impactful force of this Scout movement, understanding the role Scouts play in their communities helps to garner perspective about their actual global reach.  

Monica Figueroa, from Colombia, who initiated a Messengers of Peace project named Books For All. 

The founder of a local foundation advocating literacy and opportunities for underprivileged children at risk, she started this project to inspire Scouts in Colombia to collect books and distribute them to various local communities. Thus far, the project has contributed over 20,000 books to more than 200 local libraries, and has become a global campaign. 

Being the world’s leading educational Youth movement, Scouts define Global Education as a creative approach of bringing about change in our society. An active learning process based on the universal values of tolerance, solidarity, equality, justice, inclusion, cooperation and nonviolence. Scouting is entrenched in Global Education of the youth  by raising their awareness of global challenges such as poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, violent conflicts or human rights which allows them develop deeper understanding of the complexities of these global issues, encourages a self-reflection on their own role in the problem, aims to change their attitudes by motivating and empowering these youth to become active in a responsible way. 

The premise of Scouting simply indicates that the Global Education Scouts get is on how to be better Global citizens which is an Education for Life. What then dawns from this is that as a technical default, every young person who regards themselves as a change-maker, a global active citizen, as someone who is working on solutions to global development challenge might as well become an honorary Scout member. Fact is, In these dire times of awakening and need for global active citizenship, being engaged in solving a global challenge is made easier through the platform and the movement of Scouting. More than ever, young people have a chance and an advantage through this global youth movement of the Scout to receive a Global Education that will enable them to push for the change they desire to see in the world.

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