Between steep sharp mountain walls in the Swiss Alps, where the valley ends and the train tunnel to the other side of the mountain begins, there lays the original never ending Jamboree.
I travelled to this place the last days of January of 2014 to attend a WOSM training that KISC generously invited me and others to. The reason KISC had taken initiative for this training for all of its staff, known as Pinkies’, as well as some of us ‘outsiders’ was because, as KISC centre manager Myriam explains:
KISC = Service to Community = Scouting = MoP = <insert the name of your scout centre here>
This is also why the original never ending Jamboree is the logical place to have the training at.
This post is about things I learned, while earning my white scarf with a dove, that I think could be of interest to scout centres in Europe and the Goose Network in particular. It’s only the beginning, I hope to see other centres post here in the future about ‘lessons learned’.
First some Q and A:
Q: Why do I call it “WOSM Worldwide Service To Community Programme”?
A: Because we spent three days of clarifying that Messenger of Peace (MoP) is about giving service to the community. Fulfilling the scout promises. It’s that simple.
Q: What about “peace”?
A: Peace is apparently – despite the implications of the logo – interpreted in the widest of ways. As in “Peace brother”, “Walk with Peace”, “Peace of Mind” etc. Having said that, in more unfortunate places in the world than Europe, the “peace” aspect is more about “non-violence” than in Europe. It’s actually a recognized challenge for Europe to figure out how to adapt MoP to our communities.
Q: Is there any programme we can adapt and use at our scout centres?
A: No, but see my notes on mapping MoP into our existing programme later.
Q: Is there funding available?
A: Maybe. A part of the MoP training clarifies a little on how MoP projects can be funded through MoP. I think the first centre who manages to get a MoP project funded should try to enlighten the network on how it was done. Don’t ignore the fact that MoP is seriously funded.
Q: Is there any PR, Info or Media I can put on my centre?
A: No, it’s up to us to create. Please share if you do.
Q: Is there any “certification”?
Q: What’s an MoP project?
A: WOSM not only wants us to give service to the community, which we do, they also want us to highlight that we do that by reporting it on the special MoP website. KISC has for example registered the autumn period as a service to community project since all volunteer staff is really doing just that. Special hint to DRAVE: I think you really should look into this given how visual and easy your centre mission is. Special hint to Neihaischen: You’re already doing MoP through your African projects.
Digging a little deeper, the illustration below is the flippboard that best explains the way MoP is intended to work on a global scale.
Personal reflections and hints
Remember the beginning of the WOSM environmental programme and SCENES? Expect the MoP programme to evolve too, but no reason to ignore it. It think the first steps for scout centres should be:
- Put up info about MoP. Not only for scouts but for schools and other scout guests. Maybe we can create some joint MoP info within the network.
- Instead of creating new programme, think carefully about how your existing programme at your centre and your way of running the centre maps into MoP.
- Use MoP as a great opportunity for Scout centres to explain the value of a scout centre to the society and the movement, it’s more important than obtaining funding (I think).
- Some of you should be able to extract MoP funding. I wouldn’t be surprised if DRAVE could get equipment and material funding through MoP.
- In some countries (Sweden for example) MoP is a very controversial thing that we don’t speak of. After thinking about it I realize some of us (including WAGGGS centers) will have to tread very carefully on the MoP path, yet, consider this: MoP is seriously funded. For all its faults it will not go away for this single fact, it will evolve. That’s my personal bet. MoP is also a change of course in WOSM programme to more service-to-community oriented programme. I’m personally betting MoP will be big and that means schools and guests from all places will sooner or later have heard of MoP. In that situation, I don’t think any scout centre should look like they ignore MoP (= Service to Community). You see, the day MoP reaches major headlines somewhere, scouts and non-scouts will know about MoP.
“Not ignoring” MoP may be as simple as acknowledging it through a neutral info corner at your centre. If you have trouble with the origins of MoP, please do not hide this, I think the greats fault so far in the MoP history is that the origin of MoP and the funding is a no-official-discussion topic. In addition to informing (not necessarily endorsing if that is politically complicated) MoP you can choose to go deeper if possible and desirable, all the way to actually running MoP projects or registering your centre as a MoP project.
I have had a lot of discussions with the MoP trainers from WOSM and and other WOSM representatives that were present, we have talked about what the Goose Network can do for WOSM (and WAGGGS). I do realize we (the planning team as well as WOSM) all failed in ECMC to bring in MoP in the agenda. WOSM do want to spread MoP as far as possible, they just never considered the reach of the ECMC or the Goose Network and all scout centres around Europe.
On the last day of training, Friday the 31:st, part of the WOSM European regional board arrived to KISC with all the working committees for a weekend of starting up the regional work for the coming years. I took the opportunity to plant an idea with the regional board that they should understand that scout centres are an amazing way for WOSM to reach out beyond the scout network, It’s just that programme and information have to be adaptable to scout centres.
So in conclusion, MoP represents an opportunity, a confusing one to start with, for scout centres to play a part in helping WOSM get the MoP in particular and programme in general out to scouts and especially non scouts. I’m sure that the same things apply for WAGGGS programme. It’s a way for centres to clearly explain what we do and the great value to scouting and society. Lets explore that opportunity.
Papa-G, a few kilometres above Europe, on the way back to work.