What is the #congresschallenge?

The “Congress Challenge” is an opportunity for National Scout Organizations to reflect and take action upon receiving the final Congress report. It consists of three simple steps:

1. Analyse! Go through the Congress report with your national board and identify the trends that affect your NSO and your membership the most,

2. Take Action! Plan an activity/project (short-term or long-term) through which you will address the impact the trend you have identified has on Scouting in your local community, and finally

3. Let the World Know! Tell others in our World Scouting family what you’ve been doing by posting a blog entry at scout.org and social media with the hash tag #congresschallenge!


In a bit more words…

Target audience of the #congresschallenge:

The Congress Challenge is addressed to both NSOs and WOSM Regions. And within these, the national board/regional committee could complete the challenge, however, it should not be limited to these only (the Challenge could be addressed in sub-teams as well – e.g. Youth Programme, Adults in Scouting, Communications and External Relations, or any other team which has been identified within the NSO/Region as being affected by the Congress report). Through addressing the #congresschallenge, you will not only be addressing the outcomes of the Congress, but will also be deepening the discussions started at the Congress, and giving them a local perspective.

Questions to support your discussions

1) The WSEC identified 7 important trends in society and 5 educational trends as currently affecting Scouting worldwide. Of these trends, which do you recognize as being relevant in your area and social context? Are there any other trends in your society that you don’t see addressed in the Congress Report, but find them particularly important for your local context?

2) How are these trends affecting Scouting in your area? Do they support/prevent your organization from advancing towards its strategic goals?

3) What action will you take to respond to these trends (either new action items or reinforcement/readjustment of on going actions)?
     - What should you do during your current strategy period?
    - What needs to happen already in 2014?
    - What are the immediate next steps to get started?

Suggestions for holding your session

This chapter is here to help you make the most out of the #congresschallenge and the session you will organize with your board/team, in order to identify trends and plan responses. They are here as suggestions, and not instructions, therefore feel free to tailor the session according to your audience, setting and topics you want to discuss.

Use creative working methods. As you need to gather as innovative as possible ideas, having your board/team members use methods different than just round tables or similar types of discussions could be very beneficial. For example, when it comes to the first question, you could brainstorm a list of trends that affect you, and then allow everyone to vote for their top three choices. Or, you can vote for top 5 from the Report, and then split into two teams to prepare arguments for and against your NSO planning an activity as a response to those trends. The teams should reach consensus in the end though (and decide which trend should be addressed), as you do not want to create friction among team members, but rather understanding of the most important trend for your NSO.

When it comes to the second question, you may want to have each team member write down his or her own proposal for a solution (activity/project) on post-its or similar, and then sum them all up, allowing for each proposal to be discussed (and similar ones being grouped).

Have a facilitator. It is very important that the discussions you lead are structured and as productive as possible. For this reason, having someone to take care of the dynamics of the conversation is very beneficial.

Choose an inspiring environment. Sometimes it helps changing the regular meeting place. It could provide additional inspiration, and make your team members feel relaxed.

Invite an external speaker. One of the objectives of the Congress was to provide external expertise to Congress participants, but also to enable them to hear what external representatives/participants think of Scouting. Maybe you can invite someone who would be a good external participant at the first part of your meeting? It could motivate your team members to think outside of Scouting, and reflect more on youth trends in general, and not just in our membership.

Have fun! As Scouting is fun with a purpose, the #congresschallenge is supposed to be the same. Don’t let your meeting become just another regular meeting – it is supposed to be challenging!

Let the World Know! The #congresschallenge is supposed to be spread out and made visible on social media and our scout.org. By writing just a little blog entry on scout.org with the hash tag #congresschallenge you’ll make your discussions and activity/project ideas visible, and who knows: maybe you’ll inspire someone on the other side of the globe to do something similar, or you’ll find a partner for your own idea!