(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Dear Baden Powell Fellows, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,
It is wonderful to see so many new faces among our members here in Switzerland. I want to congratulate you on the establishing of the Swiss Chapter, which will strengthen your networking and develop scouting in your country.
Tonight we have heard a lot about Scouting. Young people have a need to belong to a group. Having fun, meeting new friends, learning a variety of things and experiencing adventure; this is part of the attraction.
I have been a scout for more than 50 years and it means a lot to me. The reason for my deep involvement is that I have seen how important it is for young men and women to practice and develop leadership based on positive values. The work done voluntarily by the Scouts is fantastic and it is an inspiration to everybody.
Nature and the outdoors activities have always been a fundamental part of the Scouting education. Therefore Scouts have long been committed to protecting the environment, reducing consumption, recycling waste, clean-ups, tree-planting, etc. In recent years this work has intensified. Scouts are effective voices in carrying out messages to their families, schools and communities. We soon hope to launch a major new initiative on environmental education to make use of this youthful energy for even further actions.
One of the vital aspects of Scouting is that Scouts everywhere — boys and girls - no matter race or religion — share Scouting values. You find an enormous energy and pride in feeling that you are part of something important to the world. This helps building an attitude of tolerance and peace.
You will have the opportunity to experience this next year in Sweden. About 30,000 Scouts will come from over 120 countries to Kristianstad, in the southern part of Sweden, for the 22nd World Scout Jamboree.
Scouts possess the joy, energy, training and leadership skills to make a difference. Together we will help more young people make our world a better one.
Thank you very much for organizing this special and successful event!
Thank you all for your contributions!
I wish you all good luck for the future!