Scout Profile: Ali Firsuhan from Maldives

Each month International News profiles a Scout from overseas:

Ali Firsuhan, Maldives 

First Scout Promise: In 2004 at the age of 14.

Current Scouting role: I’m a Scout Leader at one of the local Scout Groups in Male’ (the capital city of Maldives) and also the Group Scribe at a community based Rover Crew.

In the real world: I work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives. It gives me nothing but happiness by working in the Government and well it provides the opportunity for me to live and work overseas.


Ali having some fun while working as a ‘Pinky’ at the Kandersteg Scout Centre

On Scouting crossing global borders: 

Scouting is an international movement that encourages meetings across cultural and geographical borders. It is about being with friends as part of a team, and participating fully in the adventure and other opportunities of life. An important part of Scouting is to meet and develop from the exchange with others from across the globe.

Scouting is my life compass; it has guided me to discover myself and try out many new activities un-common for the typical scholar. Scouting is inseparable; it will always be in my veins forever; the law, the motto, and the promise I vow to live up to for the rest of my life. Scouting truly is a movement with a mission for me. It is more than an organization; it is a way of life. It is what we say and do in the spirit of the scout oath and law. Scouting has always given me fantastic opportunities, that people who are not in scouts will never experience. It’s about having fun with good friends.


Best part of Scouting:

Scouting is one of the most rewarding and fun organizations that our children and youngsters can be part of. As I have to play different roles in Scouting, from which most responsible and challenging is being a Scout leader. I enjoy spending times with my Scouts. Sure, there are challenges being a scout leader. The weekly commitment to troop meetings, the one weekend a month and one week a year at camp, the challenge with helping reluctant or apathetic parents get involved. But the rewards are tremendous as well as I try in my small way to help build scouts into committed, responsible and successful men. Getting to see young people grow, learn and become responsible and active citizens is without doubt the coolest and most rewarding thing you can do.

On Maldivian Scouting:

We have lot of pancake islands which are extremely flat and floating on the blue ocean where we can go for outings, camping’s etc. Direct access to the vast oceans allows us to run varieties of water activities on natural waters like float camping; you can also take a hike on the turquoise lagoons going from one island to another enriched by white sandy beaches. It’s a haven for water-based activities; swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, canoeing, boating etc. Gorgeous white sand beaches lead out to turquoise waters where colored fish dart in and out of the coral gardens.

Biggest challenge for Scouting today:

We in the Maldives, for us one of the huge challenge is having insufficient youth program. Future youth programme should develop “21st century” skills – in other words, we should be prepared for the challenges awaiting us in the 21st century, trained adults and leaders should be trained with updated tools responding to the current needs. The Youth Programme should remain in tune with evolving global societal realities, trends and technologies.The programme offered to Scouts around the world needs to clearly focus on delivering life skills that are compatible with the requirements of a 21st century society. We must empower our Scouts to put their “dreams into action in partnership with adults.” Leadership skills learned and developed in Scouting are imperative.


Scout Profile: Kaylee Galipeau from Canada

Each month International News profiles a Scout from overseas:

Kaylee Galipeau, Canada

First Scout Promise: My Beaver Scout investiture when I was 5 years old – September 1996. I was with the 9th Hermitage Scout group in my hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Current Scouting Role: National Youth Commissioner, Chair of the National Youth Network, and an officer of the Board of Governors.

In the real world: I live in Grande Prairie, Alberta and I work in Municipal Government Administration, with aspirations of becoming a CAO (Chief Administrative Officer) in a municipality. Outside of work I spend lots of time outdoors with my partner David, and spend time with our pets Harper the Hedgehog and Nancy the Ball Python.

Kaylee Galipeau is the National Youth Commissioner and a member of the Board of Govenors, Scouts Canada

Kaylee Galipeau is the National Youth Commissioner and a member of the Board of Govenors, Scouts Canada

On youth engagement in decision making:

In Canada we work in a “Key 3” system. This means that at every level (group, area, council, national) there is a staff member, a volunteer, and a volunteer under 26 that work in an equal partnership to oversee the operations at their level. This includes everything from training to screening to program. As the National Youth Commissioner I work in equal partnership with our National Commissioner, Doug Reid, and our CEO, Andrew Price.  The three of us are in constant communication and collaborate to run things at the National Level of Scouts Canada.

All three of the National Key 3 sit on the Board of Governors, but there’s also a requirement that 3 members of the Board of Governors be under 26. Youth involvement is such an important part of what we do that myself and the other youth members aren’t seen as just “youth members” or asked our opinions on just “youth issues.” Being a part of the Board has been a great learning experience for me, but I also have lots of opportunities to meaningfully contribute on all matters that come to the board.

On a funny Scouting memory:

As a Cub Scout when winter camping it was always an important rule to drink a hot beverage before bedtime to get something warm into you. (Keep in mind we were tenting in -20 degrees). I hated hot chocolate and anything else, so my Scouters used to get me to drink hot juice. On one particular trip it was blue raspberry juice. I wasn’t feeling well and threw up, which of course covered the snow and turned it blue. My poor scouters then had everyone wanting blue juice to make snow art!

On Canadian Scouting:

Canada is the only WOSM member country with two distinctly recognized NSOs. We have Scouts Canada, which is bilingual, but also l’association des scouts du Canada which is a strictly Francophone organization. We have in recent years greatly strengthened our partnership with them.

Our National Youth Spokesperson Program is also unique. Once a year we bring a selection of members under 26 together to receive media training. They gain skills to prepare them to act as our spokespeople. The program started in 2010 and has been very successful. We now have a growing bank of young people that act as our representatives in TV, Radio, & Print. They do a great job, and are much more representative of what our organization is about than the traditional model of your most senior people taking all the calls.

On the biggest challenge facing Scouting today:

In Canada at least, we need to reach out to our great diversity. We need to connect with new (and old) Canadians of all cultures. I think especially in the leadership of all Scout organizations, we need to celebrate and benefit from all types of diversity: age, spiritual beliefs, gender, sexuality, culture etc. We can only become stronger because of it!


Scouting Profile: Esben Holager from Denmark

Each month, International News profiles a Scout from overseas:

Esben Holager, Denmark

First Scout Promise: 1994, in a Scout cabin outside Copenhagen.

Current Scouting Role: Chief Commissioner, Danish Scout Council, and Youth Advisor to the World Scout Committee.

In the real world: I study a Masters Degree in Learning and Innovative Change.

Esben at the World Moot in Kenya, 2010, visiting Scouts from Saudi Arabia.

Esben at the World Moot in Kenya, 2010, visiting Scouts from Saudi Arabia.

Esben Holager is an accomplished Scout – one of the few young Chief Commissioners in world Scouting, and a vital voice for young people on the World Scout Committee.

On what Youth Advisers to the World Scout Committee do:

We do a lot of things. Most importantly we try be engaged in all the activities of The World Scout Committee. This generally means attending their meetings but also includes participation in the sub-committees or taskforces of the committee. We also have an important role in planning the next World Scout Youth Forum. Lastly we are responsible for reminding the committee to take the recommendations of the World Scout Youth Forum seriously and to include them in their work.

On the rewarding aspects of being a leader:

Even though I see myself mostly as a “Paper Scout” (one who rarely sleeps in a tent and makes fires, but mostly attends meetings and write papers), my hope is that my contribution to the more administrative part of Scouting enables National Scout Organizations and local Scout leaders to provide better Scouting to more young people. It’s our responsibility to improve the frames within which Scouting operates. Presently I am touched by the many local projects where Scouting is changing youth and Scouts and their communities through the Messengers of Peace initiative. It would not have been possible without the work of the committee, the World Scout Foundation, or the World Scout Bureau.

On a funny Scouting memory:

My Leader had a foldable tripod chair which he used for sitting on during meals. One day at breakfast me and a friend were making fun about what would happen if we pressed the button on the chair that would make it fold together while our Leader was sitting on it. During that same meal my leader sat in the chair and it collapsed even though we hadn’t touched anything and it resulted in an angry leader who drop baked beans and egg on himself and (a lot) on me and my friend (even though we hadn’t touched it). He was my best Scout Leader. It’s still a mystery why the chair collapsed.

On Danish Scouting:

We have safe wilderness. In Denmark it is no problem to send a group of scouts aged 10-12 on their own camping trip because we have no dangerous wildlife or nature here. This really enables patrols to take leadership and plan and execute their own activities outdoors with little support from leaders.

On the biggest challenges facing Scouting today:

I see two challenges. We need to be better at telling what we do and I don’t mean the activities such as pioneering etc. but that we do capacity and character building and leadership training for young people. What is the result of Scouting? Or even better we need to start by telling WHY we do what we do – not how. This will help us attract more resources and make Scouting better understood by the outside world.

The other challenge is that the world is a very diverse and fast changing place. This results in Scouting developing differently around the world. We need to be able to embrace this as a World Movement. At the same time we also need to be ready at local level to take in more diverse groups of children and youth due to migration and immigration. We have a responsibility to make sure that every youth in the world has a real opportunity to join the movement, make the promise, and become a Scout.

Know someone with a story to tell? Get in contact!

Scouting Profile: Hong Leng Chay from Singapore

Each Month, International News profiles a Scout from overseas…..

Hong Leng Chay (Scout Name: Wind)

First Scout promise: 1978

Current Scouting role:  Deputy Chief Commissioner & International Commissioner

In the real world: Private Banking, Wealth Management


What does an International Commissioner do?

An International Friendster 🙂

The International Commissioner is a member of a worldwide team. The job is to promote activities that lead to a greater international understanding by the members of the movement. The International Commissioner is primarily responsible for building relations with other Scout associations, and maintaining frequent contact with the World and Regional Committees and the World Bureau.

The most rewarding part of your Scouting role:

Establishing international friendship. Helping to connect Scouts from around the world. Having friends everywhere in the world including those you haven’t met!

Your funny campfire story?

I was a Patrol Leader and was responsible for escorting an important guest to declare the campfire open. Walking up to the wood pile with the torch in hand and I forgot the lighter !

On Singaporean Scouting:

Pretty much similar with everyone else in the world. Well, we have most of our Scouts in school groups and we do a lot urban Scouting, being a City-State.

Biggest Challenge for Scouting today: 

I think sustaining membership growth, and recruiting volunteer adults.

Scouting Profile: Patrik Hedljung from Sweden

Each month, International News profiles a Scout from overseas…

Patrik Hedljung, Sweden

First Scout Promise: 1984, age 10

Current Scouting Role: Challenger (Venturer) Scout Leader, and Leader Trainer.

In the real world: Leadership development consultant



Patrik is well known for his role developing values-based leadership courses in the Nordic countries, and in his former role as Director of Global Projects for the World Scout Bureau, Central Office.

On values based leadership:

Is knowing what you want and living as you teach. It’s a process of learning about yourself as a leader, what your strengths and weaknesses are, your core values, and how you want to express those through behavior. As a leader you are the most important tool in exerting leadership over yourself and others. That tool needs constant fine tuning and the sooner you can start that process the better. Think of it as your inner compass. We want you to discover and develop your own values and we believe that if you get a chance to do that in a supportive and trusting environment, those values will be aligned with our Scout values.

On the most rewarding part of Scouting:

Getting to see young people grow, learn and become responsible and active citizens. Without doubt the coolest and most rewarding thing you can do.

On a funny Scouting memory:

When I was 12 we were at camp and I decided to sleep in a hammock. My leaders started swinging the hammock so that I would fall asleep like a baby. The whole thing ended when one of the ropes came loose and I flew into the water 3 meters away – still in my sleeping bag.

On Swedish Scouting:

Very, very lengthy discussions. We are a consensus driven country and so everyone has to agree with every decision – all the time. We also have a strong focus on gender awareness which I’m quite proud of.

On the biggest challenge facing Scouting today:

The biggest challenge is staying relevant in a way consistent with our ideology. It’s easy to offer fun activities for kids with an attitude of ”if it isn’t fun, it isn’t Scouting”. But it’s also true that if it’s only fun it isn’t Scouting.