Opening Ceremony: Timor-Leste Scout Activity Centre

“This Centre stands as a testament to the commitment of Scouts Australia to support its near neighbours in developing Scouting for the benefit of their young people,” said Governor-General and Chief Scout of Australia, the Hon Sir Peter Cosgrove.

Sir Peter was commenting on the official opening of the Timor-Leste Scout Activities Centre in Metinaro, outside Dili. His Message was read at the special ceremony for the opening.

The Centre was a joint initiative by Scouts Australia and the ACT Government. Working in partnership, the required funds were raised to construct the multi-purpose facility.

“This Centre is the first of its kind in Timor-Leste”, Neville Tomkins, International Commissioner, Scouts Australia, said in addressing the 300 VIPs, leaders and youth at the opening on Friday 26 September 2014. “But it is far more than bricks and mortar – it is a symbol of growth of Scouting in Timor-Leste, and will be the emotional home of Scouting in this country for generations to come.”

“This has been Scouts Australia’s largest international project, to help build a better world,” Neville said. “We also hope this Centre will provide opportunities for Scouting to grow over the coming decades, and to contribute to the growth of this nation.”

The opening marked the end of 4 years of dedicated effort by Neville. He was the main driver behind the “Dollars for Dilli” campaign, which raised close to a quarter of a million dollars for projects in Timor-Leste. He also project-managed the construction working remotely.

Timor-Leste is Australia’s second nearest neighbour. It is the world’s newest nation, but one of its poorest. Over half of the population are under the age of 18, which presents significant challenges for Timor-Leste, but also enormous opportunities for Scouting.

The President of the National Parliament, His Excellency Mr Vicente Guterres, and Minister Mick Gentleman MLA, representing the people of Canberra, opened the Centre, noting that Dili and Canberra are Friendship Cities. Dr Chao, Chairman, Asia-Pacific Region of World Scouting, Reg Williams, Chief Commissioner, and David Jones, National Chairman, were on hand to witness the opening.

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Scouting in the Community: UN Youth Rep and Australia-India Dialogue

It’s important that Scouts get out into the community, and use our connections and perspectives to engage with other organisations.

Scouts Australia would like to encourage its members to apply for two outstanding opportunities:

United Nations Youth Representative from Australia

Australia-India Youth Dialogue

While you would apply as an individual candidate, the Scouts Australia International Office is more than happy to assist – writing a reference, reviewing your written submission, or providing general advice on the opportunities.

Get in touch if you’re interested!

Disaster Relief Fund

Scouts Australia recently approved the creation of a fund to assist Scouts internationally in the event of a natural or man made disaster. When the devastating Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, a number of Scouts Australia members raised concerns that we had no centralised, formal mechanism to assist those most in need.

“The ability to help Scout Associations help their countries in their time of need is vitally important”

“Internationally, Scouts often play an important role assisting during disasters, and the Scout program is vital in building resilient communities after disasters. Funding National Scout Organisations is an efficient and direct way of providing assistance.”

International Commissioner, Neville Tomkins.

MexicoHaitiFrom time to time, international contingents to major events return a financial surplus, and $20,000 of these funds have been used to seed the Disaster Relief Fund.

Scouts Australia has a track record in helping disaster affected Scouts, from a major respite program for victims of the Chernobyl disaster in the late 1980s, to assistance for Scouts after the tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia on Boxing Day 2004, as well as to the Scouts of Japan after the 2011 Fukushima disaster through the SISEP program and 2013 Australian Jamboree.img-detail-129

Fiji’s First Rover: South Australia starts a new tradition.

South Australia have kicked off the next stage in their partnership with the Fiji Scout Association.

By investing the first Fijian Rover Scout after assisting the Fiji Scout Training Team deliver a training course in the country, South Australian Rovers Dylan Hunt, Gemma Wood, and Jack Caddy, along with Branch Commissioner – International, Greg Warnes, have started a new Scouting tradition.

This year, Fiji Scout Association will celebrate its centenary, but 100 years after Scouting came to the country, there is still plenty of opportunity to offer young people in the country more.

Scouting in Fiji is part of the school system. Scout leaders are school teachers, and once young people leave school, their Scouting journey often ends. By training young people in the basics of Rovering, Scouting in Fiji has become a school and community based organisation, able to reach more Fijians and bring them the skills for life that Scouting offers.

South Australia discovered that offering training to leaders and Rovers, in conjunction with the Fiji Scout Training Team, was the best way of helping the Fiji Scout Association to achieve its goals after an extensive consultation process.  This process started after a reconnaissance mission by South Australian leaders in 2013, and included working with Libby Davison, an Australian Scout and Australian Youth Ambassador for Development working in Fiji.

For South Australian Rover Dylan Hunt, the partnership with Fiji means a two-way exchange. Discussing the Australian Contingent to the Fiji Centenary Jamboree in August, Dylan said, “Australian Scouts will be in Troops with Fijian Scouts. It’s a unique cultural experience, and the Scouts will show each other how they camp, cook, and Scout in their home countries.”

After watching the newly invested Fijian Rover go on to invest the next 6 Rovers, each from a different district of Fiji, Dylan was able to reflect on what the two way exchange meant for him, “we’ve been reminded why we’re Scouts. Why it’s important to give our time and exchange knowledge with our cultures and new friends.”

“Fiji reminds us of the Scouting fundamentals. No matter where we are in the world, there are people that live by the same ideals and values, and that want the best not only for their own communities, but for the rest of the world.”