iProj 2017: The School with 7,000 Scouts

By Brian Asin & Sandra Lee

On May 8th, we visited MingDao High School in Taichung to further educate ourselves about school-based Scouting in Taiwan. As soon as we opened the bus doors, the junior high-school Scouts greeted us with welcoming enthusiasm. These Scouts were obviously very proud of their program and didn’t hesitate to share their stories and traditions. They were curious about us, and were consistently participating in everything we shared with them.

As part of this Scouting Exchange, we were able to conduct an interview with Scouter Vincent, the Vice-President of the High School. We had the opportunity to ask him about the school’s Scouting program, and how to get students excited about Scouting. He told us it is usually easy to integrate new and younger students (Junior 1 & 2, the Taiwanese equivalent to Canadian grades 8 & 9), and have them work hard towards passing the necessary tests to become Scouts. Throughout the first two years, these Scouts are to understand the core values of their program: Character Education, Cultivation, Humanity, Social Care, Culture & Creativity, and Global Perspective. The parents are supportive and see value in this program because of the focus on holistic development and learning soft skills in the Scouting curriculum. This compliments their regular academics, allowing the students to acquire a more well-rounded education.

When they reach the 2nd last year of high school, they can choose Scouting as an elective. Scouter Vincent told us that a way to get students excited about Scouting, and a way to get students to continue Scouting after graduating high school, is by encouraging them to attend nation-wide activities such as jamborees. Upon talking to other Rover Scouts throughout the trip, it was very clear to us that Taiwanese youths want to be engaged in nation-wide events. By attending these jamborees, younger members can meet people throughout and outside of Taiwan who are excited about Scouting, and find their own reasons to grow the organization.

During the day, they kindly took us around Taichung, showing us some of the city’s popular sites and treating us to local delicacies. One very inspiring stop was Rainbow Village, which is a village painted in vivid colours and shapes by a Kuomintang-era veteran, as a form of preservation efforts and to make the place beautiful. As we travelled, the bus ride was filled with cheers from both Canadian and Taiwanese Scouts. After our day together, we sang “Land of the Silver Birch” as our goodbye, and dropped them off at their school. Our last stop before grabbing dinner at the Night Market was to the National TaiChung Theatre, which was designed by Japanese architect, Toyo Ito.

Rainbow Village

Reflecting on this experience, we had never met a group of Scouts this size. Needless to say, it was impressive, and gives us a fresh perspective on growing Scouting in Canada. This school’s energy was very similar to the Scouts we met on previous international service projects (iProj, for short), especially some of the Scout Groups from Malaysia and Singapore. Their generosity and their passion for Scouting was again, inspiring. It was the perfect way to start our last leg on iProj in Taipei. iProj has been exhausting and fulfilling, and we only have 4 days left to make the most out of our time here. We are so thankful to have met all of these people who took the time to ensure that our experiences in Taiwan was memorable.

Sandra Lee

One Response to “iProj 2017: The School with 7,000 Scouts

  • We had many rover scouts in 1990s. Like my rover crew, there were over 350 rover scouts divided into three troops. However, the number of rover scout dropped rapidly during 2000~2010. We would like to learn more from your experience to see if we can make rover scout growing up again.

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