The direction of Asia!
General knowledge about Asia in Poland is very limited. Even though educational campaigns are organized and produce some results, these are far from satisfactory. Living with the awareness and knowledge drawn from popular novels and cartoons from our childhood, we not only replicate stereotypes which are long outdated and unfair, but also take no notice of cooperation opportunities arising from Asia’s great potential, a continent we only see through the lens of selected countries and areas. Meanwhile, according to many, Asia is the continent of the biggest contrasts.
The Polish Scouting and Guiding Association’s project was aimed at changing this reality, and its authors believe that with their good ideas and hunger for knowledge, young people such as Brownies, Cub Scouts, Guides and Scouts can accomplish that change. By promoting knowledge about Asia among over 100,000 members of the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association, the project guarantees that the Guides and Scouts will pass this knowledge on to their schools and local communities.
The project covered the whole of Poland, with meetings run in all 17 region organisations of the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association; section leaders are likely to use the project materials for many years to come.
The direction of Asia!
The project was carried out all across Poland between July and December 2015 by the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association. It addressed the need for enhancing knowledge about Asia. This is very important for several reasons:
- Very little is known in Poland about the everyday life of scouting organisations and their members in Asia. The intention of the project’s initiators is to make thousands of Brownies, Cub Scouts, Guides and Scouts interested in reliable and authentic knowledge that is based on true sources, rather than facts (often unchecked) taken from Wikipedia.
- As part of its development strategy, the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association wants to establish a more systematic cooperation with scouting organisations from Asia. What proved a perfect beginning of this cooperation was an educational project about Asia and scouting on that continent, and personal contact with people responsible for scouting in the region.
- While carrying out projects in Asia, the Scouters and volunteers collected information about the countries they visited, and about the life of young people in different Asian countries. Some of the highlights included a cycling Jamboree that crossed Asia all the way from Poland to Japan, the 23rd Scout Jamboree, participation by the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association’s representation in a conference in the Philippines, training cooperation in Azerbaijan, and establishing cooperation and contact with Scouts from Thailand, China and Laos, starting from September.
Among others, the collected data concerned the following topics:
- the origins of worldwide scouting movement in particular Asian countries,
- scouting symbols and other graphic elements,
- materials used by scouting associations in Asia when working with Guides and Scouts,
- the organisation and functioning of scouting organisations in Asia.
The meetings also led to the taking of photographs for the purposes of publications, and the exchanging and obtaining of scouting artefacts, e.g. neckerchiefs, emblems, national badges etc., which are used when training Scouters and section leaders.
The direction of Asia!
The project was implemented between July and December 2015. It consisted of 3 basic activities:
1. Preparing, printing, and distributing the textbook “Destination Asia: From Scouting Jamboree Across a Continent of Contrasts”; preparing and creating 8,000 pieces of other educational materials.
Textbooks for section leaders and other Scouters were prepared by the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association on many occasions before. The main aim of the textbook, featuring an educational map, a contest map, and a CD with additional materials, is to make the work of 8,000 section leaders easier by providing them with ready-to-use meeting plans. Also, the textbook enables the Association to pursue cohesive and comprehensive educational activities throughout the organization. Based on these materials, scouting troops have organised meetings, familiarizing close to 100,000 members of the organisation with the subject matter.
2. Preparing and conducting a series of training meetings for the scouting leadership team
The project involved direct training for a significant number of selected section leaders, and for voivodship Scouters (members of regional executive committees, members of methodology units in particular regional organisations, and programme coordinators), who went on to work with section leaders at voivodship and district levels.
The project trained over 1,200 Scouters of the Association.
3. A contest presenting how Scouts and Guides view Asia, with 506 scout troops from across Poland taking part.