Dear Scout Friends,
It is wonderful to be back in Madrid for a Baden Powell Fellowship Event after so many years.
Let me begin by complementing our friends from Spanish Scouting for their warm welcome to the camp today.
During our visit there, we met scouts who are devoted to the idea of scouting, combined with a bright hope for the future. They were wonderful young people!
We see this in the Scout organization, wherever in the world we go. Young people are trained to see the needs and act! And here in Spain, I am glad to say, you do this very well indeed!
Tonight, I am proud to welcome our new Baden Powell Fellows and members of the Honours Programme.
If WE think we are having a hard time, in the relatively wealthy countries of Europe, imagine how the scouts in the countries with a weak economy are feeling today?
During the evening we have heard about our scouts in Salvador. The work they are doing in prisons is outstanding.
Earlier this year I visited Indonesia, the country with more scouts than any other. It was a fascinating trip! We met smiling and hardworking scouts, full of energy. Many people live under very poor circumstances in the countryside, however, thanks to your support — BP Fellows — scouts can help to activate and improve their neighborhoods.
Surely you have read about our heroes from Haiti in our annual report. They are still working hard to make a difference in one of the world´s poorest countries. Their work goes on with the same vitality.
None of these scout organizations would be able to do what they do — inspiring young people to do amazing things — without the consistent help and support of WOSM (World Organisation of the Scout Movement) — and the funding from the Baden Powell Fellows!
There are thousands of kids out there who benefit from your investments. For this, I thank you all most sincerely.
You know, these are exciting days to be associated with Scouting. With all your help, great projects are happening.
We witnessed the launching of the Messengers of Peace Initiative in Jeddah last year, which was initiated by His Majesty the King of Saudi Arabia.
And, let me share a vision with you:
With this Messengers of Peace Initiative, in less than a year´s time, Luc (Panissod) and his team in the World Scout Bureau, plan to launch what will be one of the most incredible global networks that ever existed.
Using social media we will be able to see on-line, the impact of the work scouts are doing globally. There will be a web platform linked to Facebook, Twitter and Google, and most importantly, it will be led by young, and not so young, leaders in scouting round the world.
Already we have the work of some 300 000 scouts registered on-line. We are hoping to make this into 5 million in less than a year!
This is a great Movement! Most of us have lived and worked silently in scouting for many years. Now, thanks to this initiative, and some amazing young people worldwide, we will be able to show the world everything scouts are doing. "We are connecting the world!"