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Scouting still as important as 100 years ago

6 June 2006

Scouting values still as important as 100 years ago

Despite today's youth facing a "sometimes bewildering range of challenges", organisations like Scouts are just as relevant now as 100 years ago, Youth Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says.

Ms Mahuta made the comments today in her keynote address to Scouting New Zealand's National Conference in Wellington.

"New Zealand society has changed enormously in recent years. We are a much more multicultural country than we were a few decades ago; family structures are much more diverse; and young people face a sometimes bewildering range of opportunities and challenges. Among New Zealand's large and diverse youth sector, Scouting New Zealand stands out for its longevity, strong values and positive influence over generations of young New Zealanders.

"Since 1908, when scouting was first established in New Zealand, the organisation has challenged young people to stretch their boundaries, promoted physical fitness and outdoor skills, fostered positive values, and supported young people to become good citizens. While the organisation has broadened over that time, its core purpose and values haven't changed.

"Principles like tolerance, loyalty, and respect are just as important today as they were when Scouting began. In fact, as our communities change and young people face new pressures, organisations like Scouts are more relevant than ever for youth development and participation.

"In recognition of the changing needs of young people, Scouting New Zealand is currently responding with its own programme of development to better fit with the 'i-pod, i-scout' generation."

"Volunteers have always been the backbone of the scouting movement, and have added an extraordinary amount to young people, their families, and their communities. I recognise the importance of volunteering to an organisation like Scouting New Zealand, and I want to acknowledge their efforts in making the changes that are necessary to take the organisation forward for the next generation of scouts.

"The Labour-led government recognises the enormous value that organisations like Scouting New Zealand add to our communities. Volunteer organisations strengthen communities by building networks of trust and shared values. They help maintain our cultural identity.

They provide many services and goods that contribute to New Zealand's economy and family wellbeing, and help to maintain and improve our environment. For volunteers themselves, volunteering provides a great sense of contribution and belonging."


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