Sometimes there are great things going on out in the Scouting World that are not shared or celebrated, and I feel this is one of those stories.
In November I was in Nicaragua visiting their Scouting Association's Cub Scout Weekend high up in the mountains - it was a wonderful event, full of games, fun, and good Scouting. On the way back into the city of Managua, we visited several scout groups. When we stopped to see Group 27, I was told by my host that Group 27 had taken the Messenger of Peace (MOP) program very seriously and that the scouts were working on some great projects.
Group 27 meets in the Catholic Church in the center of Managua between three poor barrios. The Church has a simple community center with a large enclosed courtyard which the scouts use for their meetings. The group is small in comparison to other groups in Nicaragua, maybe 35 members. We met with the Scouts and Leaders in the main room which had a mix-match of chairs and a table on a dirt floor.
The first patrol (7 Scouts) got up and explained their MOP project;
In their Scout uniforms they had visited 800 homes in the neighbourhood to collect data on how residents used their water. They compiled all the data and worked with the city government to create a brochure on how the community could work together to solve water issues. The patrol then went back out into their community and taught all 800 homes how to better use the water.
The second patrol got up and explained that they had started a new Scout group in another part of Managua. They had also arranged with the church to pay for food so that they could feed Saturday lunch to local children at their meeting area every week. This brought hundreds of kids into this safe environment where the Scouts would play games and give them a good meal of red beans and rice cooked by the Scouts’ parents. The program has been so successful that the "splinter" group has started serving lunch on Sundays as well.
The third patrol had realized that in order for the local adults to have a better life they needed skills. So the Scouts asked parents to come on weekends and teach skills which would strengthen the community. They have organized a three month course on appliance repair, baking, accounting, and gardening. They also have eight older computers on which they teach typing to kids and adults.
Group 27 has also asked a local paint company for paint to put the Messenger of Peace logo on the outside of their facility so the community can associate scouting with all the positive things that are happening.
Group 27 has been inspired by the Messenger of Peace program. They can see the difference it is bringing to their community and how they can help to make the world a better place
There are no newspaper articles and no fanfare to celebrate the achievement of these three scout patrols of Group 27, but for me this was the true spirit of the Messenger of Peace program.
Member, World Scout Committee