As Chief Scout I am pleased to welcome each of you to the annual public meeting. Each year I look forward to receiving you at King’s House and I am always pleased to see evidence of the mentoring and the training being undertaken by the organization’s leaders reflected in the conduct of our young Scouts.
As I prepared to receive you this afternoon I came across the message from founder Lord Baden Powell that was read to Scouts worldwide at the time of his passing in 1941. In that message he encouraged scouts to ‘live a happy life.’ He said that happiness did not come from being rich or being successful in your career and neither did it come through self-indulgence. Rather, he said the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to others. To achieve this he said that scouts should: “try and leave the world a better place than you found it and when your turn comes to die you can die happy feeling that you did not waste your time but have done your best.”
The scout movement which he founded over one hundred years ago is a perfect example of how he made the world a better place. It is the largest youth organization in the world with a membership of over 25 million youngsters. Many notable world leaders individuals including civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and United States President Barack Obama are products of this organization. They used the opportunities provided by the scout movement to develop themselves and hone their talents and leadership skills so that they could serve their communities and their country better.
Some of you may know exactly what it is that you want to do while, for others, an idea may come to you quite by accident. But in the true spirit of your motto you must at all times “be prepared” to serve others like Jordan Bennett who, while still a student at the Northern Caribbean University in 2012 embarked on a mission to feed as many homeless Jamaicans as he can reach. He has not only received the Prime Minister’s Youth in Service Award, but he has inspired other young Jamaicans to join his initiative. He found his purpose and in the process he has also led others to their purpose.
As you approach the end of Founders’ Week I ask you to consider the ways in which you too can become agents of change and make this world a better place. To do so you must faithfully make the Scout Oath a part of your daily routine. The words “duty to God and country, duty to other people, and duty to self” were not intended to be recited only at scout meetings. They must inspire everything that you do and influence you to work hard and be on your best behaviour at all times.
As you contemplate what you will do to make the world a better place, I want you to consider your role in helping to keep your surroundings clean and healthy. Do your part in order to prevent garbage from getting into our gullies, into waterways and rivers; blocking the drains and becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other pests. Scouts must live healthy lives and help to keep their communities clean as well.
I commend Commissioner Brown, his predecessors and the team at the Jamaica Scout Association for their efforts to prepare thousands of young Jamaicans for a lifetime of service, learning, leadership, and achievement.
The impact of the organization has been appreciated not only by the scouts, but also by the communities and schools that it has served.
I also want to say to each scout present to remember that you are in the right organization at the right time of your life. Don’t ever forget that. As the theme for your Founder’s Week celebrations indicate, scouting is for life and you must at all times use the lessons learnt and the experiences gained in your units and in your divisions, to impact your school and community in a very positive way.
Always set a good example for other young people to follow.
I congratulate all who will receive Warrants and Awards this afternoon, for your dedication and your hard work. It is my hope that those who have benefitted from the programmes will continue to help the organization mentor our young people and prepare them to make their contribution to building this great nation into a place where we can live, work, raise families and do business.
Thank you and may God bless you all!