01 August

"I invite you to be faithful to the rich tradition
of the scout movement, committed into the
formation to dialogue, the sense of justice, loyalty,
brotherhood in social relationships.
Such a style of life may be your original contribution
to the realisation of a greater and more authentic fraternity
between the European peoples, a precious
contribution to the life of the societies in which you live 

To be a Leader

di Etienne Roland Gosselin, former General Scout Commissioner for Switzerland

During their Clan or Fire time, many are those who wonder about their future service as a leader in a unit. As a leader, I’ve heard too often young people very enthusiastic and quite qualified backing off when facing the weight of the responsibility or at least the thought they had of the weight. What a pity! And that’s badly counting on all the advantages we may take from this service. Not material advantages that yet can count so much! We could take the method of the Jesuits to help make a decision: we can weigh the pros and cons. Logically… here I shall weigh the pros in particular. 


  • To have a place where you may give yourself


Today, the true causes, those that count, are really rare and even more when, at 20, you want to impact the world. By being a leader, by being an educator, you train souls, you prepare the future. I’ve experienced this personally during all my years as leader in all the branches. What joy to learn that a scout is being ordained a priest, a rover is becoming a committed doctor, another one is an engineer giving testimony in his environment… It is also wonderful to be in charge of souls: it is a charge but so many graces flow from it! 

It’s by giving yourself that you will find yourself! It’s by giving yourself that you will be able to change the world! What do you wish to do: complain about what’s going wrong or work well to change this world into a better place to live? 

  1. To witness the joy of youth

I can personally testify of three very strong moments in my leader’s life: the first Promise I received as Troop leader, when I saw my scout’s look. Intense pride, the joy of integrating the scout community. The second moment was the experience at the end of every camp when I would say good bye to my boys as they were climbing into the bus and that I could see stars in their eyes (some still talk to me about these memories!). The third one comes from this boy who didn’t truly believe in God and who came to me, after a prayer vigil, to tell me about the beauty of this vigil.  

This joy is quite simple, very healthy and it gives you a glimpse of the true Joy which is waiting for you.

  1. To be a leader to learn

In your leader’s service you will learn so much: how to organise your year and your camp, through your relations with leaders and parents, conflicts during activities, emergencies here and there, how to think about the best means to pass on a message to young people, to observe each one to find out the hidden treasure and the skills to be developed, to make youth get closer to the divine fire. All that you will learn during your serving years will be of use to you many years after, in your daily life as well as in your professional life. It helps me every day!

  1. To be a leader to structure oneself

Being an adult in our world of today is hard, very hard. Sometimes, we are going against the grain with values that seem to be of another age for people around us. Serving as a leader will allow us to strengthen ourselves in this area because being a leader means taking training time to nurture and to develop. We must be like candles in the night: to burn a long time, the wick needs wax and air. Wax is what structures us: our training, our experience, our personal development. Air comes and makes the flame grow, it’s our inner life, our spiritual life, our relation to God. If we implement all in great quantity, then we shall make ours this phrase of saint Catherine of Sienna: 

“ If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire!”

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