Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Girl and Boy Scouts of Iraq

California's Redwood City Patch has a fascinating look at the Girl and Boy Scouts of Iraq today. The article relates that scouting exists in more countries than the number of countries in the United Nations, and it is currently spreading like wildfire in an unlikely place - among Iraqi children. While the leaders struggle to establish a working government and harmony within their war-torn country, the children of Iraq are learning to live by scout law.

Responsible for this is Redwood City scout leader Keith Blackey, a Vietnam veteran, who has been involved in scouting for 58 years, in several different states and countries. He has been working to promote scouting in Iraq since 2004, when American and Allied troops reintroduced scouting to the country. Since its inception, the program has grown to approximately 150,000 scouts in all 18 provinces of Iraq. However, there have been incidents of violence surrounding the scouting program and its rapid spread.

The article is definitely worth reading. Two points that I find very interesting; First, Iraqi management of the program has resulted in a unique difference between Iraqi scouts and the American scouts - Iraq does not separate itself according to gender. The kids on their own decided to make the organization multi-denominational, and co-ed. Second, the troops are very well defended and well guarded with the help of American and Allied soldiers.