“Happiness does not come from being rich, nor merely being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence. Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy. Be contented with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on the bright side of things. But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. 'Be Prepared' in this way, to live happy and to die happy — stick to your Scout Promise always — even after you have ceased to be a boy — and God help you to do it.”
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of personally meeting and spending time with his Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. The King was in Mexico from April 24 to 27 to participate in the meeting of the World Scout Foundation, of which he is Honorary Chairman.
What I first noticed was his charisma, simplicity, and his tremendous social commitment. Carl XVI Gustaf has been King of Sweden since 1973 and ascended the throne following the death of his grandfather, Gustav VI Adolf. The King of Sweden is world renowned for hosting the Nobel Prize award ceremony, which is held annually.
While the King told me of his enthusiasm for Scouting, I had the opportunity to tell him about the more than 40 initiatives aimed at fulfilling our social commitment, especially Esperanza Azteca, which shares values with the scouting movement that he promotes.
In fact, Carl XVI Gustaf is a great promoter of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, to which he actively belonged in his youth, as was the case with his grandfather. Carl XVI Gustaf was later appointed honorary head of the Scouts in Sweden. His enthusiasm for this organization is contagious.
The King shared with me the Scout Foundation program, Messengers of Peace, which in his words, "aims to support specific projects related to peace, education in promoting dialogue and supporting young people living in conflict-ridden situations, throughout the world." I am also extremely pleased to confirm that, thanks to the efforts of the King, this year the Scouts were very active in the Let’s Clean Up Our Mexico campaign.
Why we need more Scouts?
"Be Prepared" is the motto of the Scouts, an organization founded by Lord Robert Stephenson Smith Baden-Powell of Gilwell, an extremely talented man and institution builder. BP, as the Scouts refer to him, was an actor, musician, painter, writer and military official.
Along with its sister movement, Guiding, the International Red Cross, the United Nations and a handful of institutions, the organization founded by Baden-Powell in 1907 is one of the few truly global associations of the 20th century. Indeed, 15 years after its founding, the movement already had more than a million young people in its ranks in 32 countries. The Scout Association of Mexico was founded in 1926, although it has a history dating back to 1912.
Since 1907, more than 500 million young people have been part of Scouting worldwide. Today the movement has over 30 million members, but there should be many more.
The values promoted by the Scouts have the ability to transform young people, regardless of nationality. Generosity, happiness, commitment, leadership, dedication, responsibility, competitiveness, excellence, teamwork, and friendship are just some of the values that change lives, and it is worth reiterating that the Esperanza Azteca Orchestra project agrees with this code. In his tombstone, Baden-Powell left this message to all Scouts: "Leave this world a little better than you found it". The Scouts have more than fulfilled this mandate.
The enthusiasm displayed by the King of Sweden for Scouting is more than justified. In fact I'm surprised not to see more groups of boys with the scout uniform in our parks on Saturdays –a phenomenon that 20 years ago was much more common in Mexico. I imagine that the insecurity we are facing has also affected this movement and this is unfortunate. Membership in the Scout Association of Mexico peaked 20 years ago.
We need this movement to grow because the values promoted by the Scouts are just what we need to achieve real cultural change in Mexico. Finally, let’s consider the Scout prayer: "Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous, Teach me to love and serve as you deserve; To give and not to count the cost; To fight and not to heed the wounds; To toil and not to seek for rest; To labor and to look for no reward save that of knowing that I do your Holy Will". What other values can we ask for our youth in order to transform Mexico?
Let's find a way to make Scouting grow in Mexico and Latin America. I'll assume this mission that the magnificent Carl XVI Gustaf entrusted to me.