More than 700 young leaders from 163 National Scout Organizations put on their scarves and uniforms to join the closing ceremony of the , concluding the largest ever Word Scout Youth Forum, and the first time the event has convened virtually.
Over the course of the five day event from 18 to 22 August 2021, young people from all corners of the globe took part in the virtual experience centred on the topics of innovation, leadership and global citizenship education. The event enabled young people to connect, learn and engage in making decisions that will shape the future direction of the Scout Movement.
Engaging educational programmefor today’s global citizens
A dynamic programme accessible through a dedicated digital event platform offered a chance for young people to develop the skills and leadership qualities that are relevant in today’s globalised and rapidly changing world.
Workshops involving global partners such as the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies focused on a range of topics including dialogue for peace, environmental action, gender equality, mental health, diversity and inclusion, and Scouting’s youth-led contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals. The sessions enabled young people to get inspired by Scouts and Messengers of Peace Heroes who are leading service projects to tackle different issues in their communities.
The Youth Forum programme also featured remarks from inspiring leaders such as Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth who spoke about the power of young people to be change-makers in their communities. Gitanjali Rao, a STEM Scout and TIME’s first Kid of the Year in 2020, also shared her experiences using science and technology to tackle issues ranging from contaminated drinking water to prescription drug addiction to cyberbullying.
A reimagined virtual event experience for Scouts worldwide
The production of the 14th World Scout Youth Forum was supported by a team of 400 volunteers and staff from across all Scouting Regions who worked for months to put on the milestone event which was reimagined virtually this year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This first-ever virtual World Scout Youth Forum was full of fun and learning opportunities, bringing together so many international youth delegations thanks to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers connected around the world, supported by a team of dedicated staff. I express my sincere thanks to the Planning Team and all involved,” said Diana Carrillo, Chairperson of the 14th World Scout Youth Forum.
A range of networking sessions, cultural celebrations, virtual exhibitions and gamification challenges on the digital event platform brought young people together to have fun and connect with other Scouts from around the globe.
“It’s been a blast to be able to join such an amazing event. Especially the interaction between all the members and the International Teams. All the sessions so far has been great. From meeting and asking questions to the Youth Advisor candidates, learning about the works of the current Youth Advisors through their report, and the various Dialogue for Peace sessions,” said Jared, 22, a participant with the Scout Association of Trinidad and Tobago.
Mandatory Safe from Harm courses, listening ears, online chat moderation and a dedicated team staff and volunteers available to respond to any safety concerns, were among the strict safeguarding measures put in place for the virtual event to ensure participants had a safe and inclusive experience.
Making decisions for the future of Scouting
As part of the decision-making process of the Youth Forum, delegates from a pool of 18 candidates reflecting the diversity of the Scout Movement. The Youth Advisors to the World Scout Committee will play a key role in the Committee’s decision-making and will start their term following the 42nd World Scout Conference to serve during the upcoming 2021-2024 triennium.
Participants also worked within their mixed International Teams to discuss and prepare inputs to the Youth Forum, including drafting content for the Youth Forum Declaration and proposing Draft Amendments to the Conference Resolutions. These proposals will now be considered by National Scout Organizations to put forward during the upcoming 42nd World Scout Conference.
“My International Team experience has been wonderful, consisting of members from Brazil, Portugal, Australia and Canada! I gathered a lot of insights from my fellow patrol mates with regards to their personal Scouting experiences, events they have been through, thoughts on Scouting affairs or Conference Resolutions, as well as how their National Scout Organization operates and the challenges they are facing,” said Khai Ken, 21 from Singapore.
The was prepared by young people representing their Member Organizations after discussions and deliberations in International Teams comprised of Scouts from diverse backgrounds and nationalities. The Declaration fully represents the ideas and opinions of the participants of the 14th World Scout Youth Forum, and puts forward a bold agenda and focus for Scouting in the next triennium, including working towards climate neutrality, championing the right to non-formal education, and ensuring that Scouting is a safe and inclusive Movement open to all.
One of the more significant innovations of this year’s Youth Forum engaged participants in developing Personal Action Plans to help young people build bridges between the event and their communities, transforming the into local and national actions. These plans can also help young people take back key learnings and ideas to implement in their National Scout Organizations.
Over half of the delegates of this year’s Youth Forum will now go on to participate in the 42nd World Scout Conference taking place virtually from 25 to 29 August.