World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) is the world’s biggest youth organization, with approximately 32 million members, out of which 7 million are volunteer leaders. The Scouts are present in 200 countries and territories worldwide. Scouting is “a voluntary, non-political, educational movement for young people to develop their full emotional, intellectual, physical, social and spiritual potentials as individuals, as citizens, and as members of their local, national and international communities.”1
Scouts welcome members from the age of 6 until the age of 25. After being 25 years old, the Scouts can become leaders and take care of groups.
A World Scout Moot is a gathering of the Scout members who are 18-25 and it takes place every 4 years. In 2013, the 14th World Scout Moot took place in Canada in between 7th-18th of August and it brought together 2000 scouts and around 500 volunteers and organizers. The MOOT brought together people from 82 countries worldwide.
Peace Revolution at the MOOT 2013 – the Global Development Village
At the MOOT, the organisers wished to provide space for partner organizations to display their activities and provide educational workshops for the participants. This was done under the umbrella of a Global Development Village, an area in the camp where each partner organization had a tent to display their activities and organize the workshops. The aim of the Global Development Village was to provide educational opportunities for Scouts to learn more about different global issues and ways to take action and become agents of change.
The Global Development Village (GDV) at MOOT 2013 brought together 12 organisations from various fields – United Nations Millennium Campaign working on post-2015 global development agenda, the Canadian Foreign Affairs Ministry working on maternal health, and other organizations working on road safety, awareness campaigns on child slavery, food and agriculture (UN Food and Agriculture Organization), environment, etc.
World Peace Initiative/Peace Revolution was part of the Global Development Village and had three representatives – Anca Gliga, European Youth Coordinator and Peace Architect, together with Peace Agents Pramy Krankheaw and Helen Varouhas. Anca was present at the MOOT for the entire period of time (7-18th of August), Pramy was there 7-11th of August and Helen 12th-18th of August.
Every day, starting with the 9th of August, assigned patrols (one patrol was made out of 8 scouts) would come to visit the Global Development Village and have workshops of their choice. All the 12 partners had workshops at the same time. There were two workshops per partner scheduled every day, from 9.30 until 11.30 and from 1.30 to 3.30. Later on, from 3.30 to 5 pm the Global Development Village would again be open to everyone.
Workshops delivered by the Peace Revolution team
Under the name of ‘Peace In, Peace Out’, the Peace Revolution team delivered a total of 10 workshops of 2 hours each, to a number of 142 scouts. During the workshops, the participants had the chance to explore both the theoretical and practical aspects of meditation: they were introduced to the concept of inner peace, what it is, how it affects outer peace and world peace. The benefits of meditation were also emphasized and, lastly, both a yoga and a meditation session were led.
Firstly, we did a round of introduction in the group, also trying to find out why the participants were in the session. Most of them were new to meditation and curious about the topic. After introducing the trainers (Anca and Pramy in the beginning, or Anca and Helen later on) we went into what mediation is, how it works and why we should meditate. Correlations were made between the peace and serenity the Scouts already feel when being in the nature with their friends. Extracts from scientific studies, showing positive correlations between meditation and stress, eating disorders, smoking, were also brought forward. We discussed about how meditation is a practice which could be done by everyone, regardless of ethnicity, religion, age, etc.
A very good exercise we did was to ask ‚When do you feel most peaceful?’.The group, as Scouts, would generally reply ‘in the nature’, ‘next to a campfire’, etc. Then I asked them why they thought they felt most peaceful then – was it the nature? Was it because of having less thoughts? About allowing the mind to be more still? - and we made the correlation between stillness of the mind and inner peace.
The conversations went smooth and it was a learning lesson with each workshop given. However, even though we were in the nature, it was challenging to find quiet space for the meditation session – there were either cars, bikes, people around, or it was too cold. However, we can say that even though the meditation itself did not happen in the best environment, we managed to send across the idea about what it is and how it works. Also, we did emphasize on the importance of taking the practice into a quieter and safer environment, as the participants returned home.
Furthermore, on a personal note, Anca found out that it is very important, when leading meditation, to have a good rest and a good discipline. She has never taught 2 sessions in a day before, and sleeping in a tent while having to lead meditation sessions was a challenge.
1 “Scouting, education for life”, informative booklet