(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness,
Dear Baden Powell Fellows and Friends,
It is a pleasure to be here, in the Royal Palace in Copenhagen, together with you. You all make a difference for millions of young Scouts around the world.
You help young people change the world!
I know this is true, I often travel and I see what your investment does in the field.
Earlier this year, I visited the Philippines. The devastation after the typhoon was terrifying. Homes flattened, schools destroyed and families torn apart. What was amazing, though, was the spirit of the people we visited. And most impressive of all were the young scouts we met.
We spent time with high-school students, all scouts, who had lost everything. Aid agencies, United Nations and churches were taking care of their needs. And they happily worked alongside these groups as volunteers – helping children back to school, rebuilding schools and taking care of the most vulnerable in their neighbourhoods.
The only thing these young people asked for - can you guess – was scout uniforms! They were proud of being scouts, they were working in their communities and they had lost everything, including their symbol of scouting that gave them a meaning and a role. And when we presented them with their uniforms, they were so proud! Soon after, these scouts were out in the community, proudly wearing their new uniforms, helping those in need.
Scouting train young people to be leaders, to inspire them to take action and they return that gift to their communities – many times.
During the same trip I visited a street-kid program, run by the Philippine Scouts, called Ticket to Life. These young people were from the poorest of the poor families in Manila.
One of the young scouts had spent time in prison. When I met him he was doing fine. He was proud to be back in his scout troop. I spontaneously gave him my scarf and told him to become a good leader for young boys and girls.
Five months later I received a photo showing him as a leader for his own scout troop.
Scouting changes lives!
There are many more young scouts that need a scholarship - new start of life – just like the young man I told you about!
I would like to thank you all for your investment in Scouting. It is well appreciated and you help indeed changing life of many young boys and girls. Together we can do a lot.
Princess Benedicte, thank you for everything you are doing to keep up our scout mission. In appreciation of our close and good cooperation I would like to give you my scarf.