Blog post submitted by Pat Fountain, International Ambassador
Today, let’s take a look at the responsibilities of an international representative and a couple of tasks that might help them in their work. So, what are the responsibilities of a council’s international representative? For some it may seem like the position can be whatever they want it to be or whatever they can make it. But, in reality, the job is pretty well defined. For a position concept, position qualifications and a list of position duties see this page. The “whatever you want it to be or can make it” part comes in meeting the responsibilities.
Information about the responsibilities of an IR can be found in the position concept and in the position qualifications. The position concepts calls for an individual to set up ways to keep council membership informed of opportunities in the area of International Scouting. Under qualifications it suggests the IR should have an interest in the program enrichment values of international scouting, in advancing the ideals of world brotherhood and in providing extraordinary activities.
The last part of the information on the page is a list of nine specific duties. Thoughts on those duties will be offered in future blogs.
No doubt the expectations, duties, possibilities and past efforts vary from council to council. For those in a small rural council the position is probably not the same as for an IR in a large, urban council. But, at the same time, at least to me, the role in any council involves two tasks related to meeting the goal of helping scouts become active citizens of the world.
That first task is to be a communicator of appropriate information. This means helping your council assemble and communicate information that enables troops and scouts to know about opportunities to learn about the world. Some opportunities, such as different awards, merit badges and programs, do not require scouts to leave their local communities. Other opportunities, like the European Scout Voluntary Program, will take them to a foreign country. An IRs responsibility is to learn about the many opportunities and help others learn about them.
The second task is to be an enabler of international opportunities so that an international component can be a part of the local scouting program. This does not mean putting on events so much as it means making it possible for scouts to be involved in appropriate activities. This could be as simple as arranging an invitation for scouts to attend an international student group’s cultural evening at a local university. It could also be as complex as assembling a patrol or two to participate in another country’s national jamboree. Being an enabler reduces the burden on troop leaders to look for activities and/or plan and put on activities. It makes it easy for them to enrich unit programs with international experiences if units or individual scouts just have to be at the right place at the right time after someone has made arrangements for them to be there.
What is the result of an IR making their goal to be a communicator of international information and an enabler of international experiences? The result will be scouts in the council adding to their knowledge of the world and being better world citizens. Also the scouting program will be enriched; the ideas of world brotherhood will be advanced and scouts will have some extraordinary experiences.