Scouts Become Messengers of Peace
For more than a century, patriotism and peacemaking have met in Scouting. Robert Baden-Powell, the British war hero who founded Scouting, realized early on that the Scouts of the world could become a force for peace. At the 1920 World Scout Jamboree, held just two years after the bloodiest war the world had ever known, he challenged participants to carry the spirit of the jamboree home “so that we may help to develop peace and happiness in the world and goodwill among all Scouts.”
Today, Scouts in dozens of countries are working for peace by solving conflicts in their schools, building links between divided communities, teaching their peers about health and wellness, and repairing environmental damage. To recognize their efforts, the World Scout Committee launched the Messengers of Peace (MOP) initiative, which the Boy Scouts of America joined last year.
Here’s how the initiative works: Leaders of packs, troops, teams, crews, and ships go online (to www.scouting.org/International/messengersofpeace.aspx) and register their MOP-related community service projects, including Eagle Scout projects. Doing so adds pins to a global Messengers of Peace map at scoutmessengers.org, which Scouts around the world can click on to learn how their fellow Scouts are making a difference. (Spend a few minutes clicking around that map, and you’ll be amazed at the service Scouts are providing.)
And, of course, there’s a patch for that. Scouts who complete MOP projects earn a special ring patch that goes around the World Crest on their uniforms. The patch symbolizes their participation in an ever-widening circle of Scouts who are not just visualizing world peace but are helping to make it a reality.