Recently I have taken on the new responsibility of assisting my beautiful wife with a project dear to her heart. She has been a facilitator for a youth group called Earth Scouts for the past four years now; recently her co-facilitator has stepped down, allowing me the opportunity to step up, and I am very excited to do so. Earth Scouts encourages boys and girls ages 3 to 103 years to become responsible global citizens empowered with the ability to make a difference in their local communities and throughout the world. Through education, activities, and service, our scouts promote The Earth Charter vision of a caring, sustainable and peaceful world.

We’ve got a very exciting year ahead of us. We’ll be focusing on the principle of participatory democracy, which is one of five Earth Scout principles. We’re just in the early stages of planning as a group, but we’ve already begun developing our group cooperation skills and the very challenging skill of consensus decision making (which is not easy, by any means, but well worth the effort).

Also, this year, we’ve just launched the new web site for our Earth Scouts group. This provides both an outward web presence for the group, but also a secure extranet for members to communicate and disseminate important information with one another. We believe that this can work well to further improve our effectiveness as a group.

By our next meeting, we’re hoping to decide as a group where we will be concentrating our efforts for the next six months or so. The idea is to work toward positive social change in an area of concern that we all share as a group. While doing this, we’ll be developing skills in the following six areas:

  1. Consensus Building—working together to make decisions where there are no losers and everyone’s voice is heard and respected in the decision making process.
  2. Cooperation—working together effectively to achieve a shared goal.
  3. Courage and Leadership—doing what you believe is right even when you are nervous or scared and helping others do that too.
  4. Power of Voice and Action—using our words and actions to effect change in the world.
  5. Civic Engagement—participating fully as an active citizen within our communities and our society.
  6. Advocacy—working publicly and effectively in support of yourself, important causes, and the rights of others.

I’m really excited to be a bigger part of all this. It’s so very cool and encouraging to see young people getting jazzed about getting really involved in their communities and working on issues that matter most to them–and to others in our world.