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Scouts Australia responds to BSA support: ‘Overwhelmed and incredibly grateful’

Support from the worldwide community of Scouting, including members of the BSA, has been an “enormous comfort” to members of Scouts Australia as the country grapples with the bushfire crisis.

“At times like this, Scouts demonstrate that we can come together to help each other no matter where we are from,” says Phil Harrison, Chief Commissioner of Scouts Australia.

Last month, we shared one way you can help members of Scouts Australia who lost everything in the fires. Today, I’m learning from Christina Gretton, national manager of communications for Scouts Australia, that the country has sold 90,000 bushfire relief badges. Of those, 69,000 were sold to people outside of Australia.

“We’re overwhelmed and incredibly grateful at the generosity that Scouts around the world have shown us,” Gretton says. “We owe so many people thanks, and we hope they will understand why they don’t get a response straight away while we focus on fulfilling orders.”

How the money will be spent

Gretton also shared a few details on how the proceeds from the badge sale will be spent.

Sadly, nine members of Scouts Australia lost their homes. Many more live in communities that have been traumatized. The fund will replace uniforms, badges, books and Scout supplies lost in the fires. It will also cover membership fees and replace camping gear for those affected.

As shared in this post from Scouts Australia, the recovery effort will be long and difficult. And it will involve more than merely replacing tangible things.

“Long term, we are committed to playing a role in the psychological care of our members whose mental health has been impacted,” according to the post.

The Chief Commissioner’s message to the BSA

Scouts Australia’s Chief Commissioner has written a message to all BSA members that Gretton asked me to share with readers:

In 2019, I attended the 24th World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, and experienced first-hand the hospitality and friendship of the host organizations. The theme of the Jamboree was “Unlock a New World.” The detail of this theme included the following statement: “We want to ‘unlock’ the potential within each of us, inspiring us to make global change, preparing us to return to our home countries as Messengers of Peace, and growing the power of Scouting in our hearts.”

It is this “power of Scouting in our hearts” that has contributed to the phenomenal level of international support for Scouts Australia at this time. Knowing that our Scouting friends have been watching the devastation of our country and are doing what they can to help our members affected has been of enormous comfort. At times like this, Scouts demonstrate that we can come together to help each other no matter where we are from.

With the funds raised, we are aiming to ensure that every member impacted by bushfires can continue to stay connected to Scouting, and that we can do what we can to help them heal from this trauma.

And together we will work towards this.

Phil Harrison, Chief Commissioner, Scouts Australia

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