iProj 2017: Rovers at the International Open Forum in Taiwan

By Dylan Book

????Everywhere we go
People want to know
Who we are
And where we come from
So we tell them…????

This is the start of one of our Crew’s favourite Scouting songs. We sing it at campfires, while hiking, and on the bus during our International Service Projects.

The spirit of the song is that no matter where Scouts travel, the people who see them want to know who they are. Who are these young people in red uniforms? Where did they come from? Why are they here?

Yesterday, we partnered with the Taiwanese Scouts to hold an Open Forum to share Canadian Scouting and learn from our Taiwanese friends. Our goal was very much to answer the questions laid out in that song.

Scouter John, our contingent leader, and I first spoke with Dr. Lian, the International Commissioner of the Scouts of China, in the fall of 2016. On our first call, we agreed to do some sort of open forum and presentations during our time in Taiwan. Since then, Dr. Lian and Scouter Sherman worked very hard to arrange the logistics and venue of this event. They managed to get over 120 Scouts, Scouters, and teachers to attend the event.

Our Rovers and Scouters presented on the following topics:

  • Canada & Scouts Canada
  • The 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group
  • Our International Service Projects
  • Environmental Stewardship in Canada
  • Our Mentorship Program

The Taiwanese Rovers and Scouters presented on the following topics:

  • Taiwanese Scouting & Rovering
  • Leadership Development & Implementation
  • Rover Scouting & Community Projects
  • Patrol Advisors in Taiwan’s Rover Advancement Camp

The goal of our presentations and this open forum was to share, learn, and grow. We were there to share Canadian Scouting and our Rover Crew’s experience with membership growth, international service projects, and mentorship. Learning from the Taiwanese Scouts about their challenges and how they had worked to overcome them was another valuable result of the open forum. Our ultimate goal was to grow the Scouting Movement through exchanging ideas, building relationships, and strengthen our commitment to Scouting.

I was to present on our Rover Crew’s mentorship program. As both a mentor and a mentee, my goal was to share my experience, in the hopes that it might provide something interesting or valuable to the Taiwanese Scouts. My presentation was slotted for later in the day, so I had a chance to listen to the Taiwanese presentations. After hearing them share their struggles, challenges, and dreams, I realized very quickly that I would not be speaking to foreign Scouts. I would really be speaking to my peers. Young people who, like me, and my fellows Rovers, have the same fears and anxieties. We are all young people, leaving university, trying to figure out our career, and struggling to establish ourselves in the world.

Not much can really be accomplished in one day. The Open Forum was a conversation starter: a way to discuss our common challenges and goals. The conversation started 2 days ago and went late into the night. It will continue for months to come over email and in future conferences and forums. The greatest impact will be from the energized and enthused Scouts and Scouter who left that nigh, with new ideas and the invaluable knowledge that they are not alone in Scouting.

Follow us on our 6th international service project, and keep an eye out for our daily vlogs!

Nick Pearson

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