rediscover polish scouting!

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    About Polish scouting

    The Jamboree Dream

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  • Lech Wasa (born 29 September 1943) is a Polish politician, trade-union organizer and human-rights activist. A charismatic leader, he co-founded Solidarity (Solidarno), the Soviet blocs first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and served as President of Poland from 1990 to 1995. Honorary Protector of the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association.


    The work that international Scout and Guide community carry out cannot be overestimated, especially when we are faced with many new challenges. We are currently witnessing the change of eras, the world is becoming more and more fast-paced, while we have to do all we can not to overlook the good of man and the most precious values. In many a place, Scouting re-mains the mainstay of such values, as well as of the concern for others. For years I have been proclaiming that the new Europe and the world should build on a set of agreed universal values. It is on these values that we need to establish all programmes and structures which will shape the world as safe, prosperous and friendly.


  • The Scouting community has been and must remain the place of the education of human conscience; the individual who will want and will know how to help others, an individual who will always be in solidarity with others. When working with young people, remember that it is through fun and education that we have to pre-pare them for their adulthood and a responsible life. Today, the main socio-economic problem in the world, particularly affecting young peo-ple, is the lack of jobs, and resulting from that, lack of opportunities, hope, and prospects. It is a great task to prepare young people to cope with these challenges, to teach them how to discov-er their own talents, grow their potential, and develop creativity and entrepreneurship. We need to educate young people to be resourceful, open-minded, and community-oriented. Sever-al years ago in Argentina, Spain, and recently in Greece, mainly young unemployed people were protesting. We must do everything in or-der to prevent them from going out into streets in search of hope. We must do everything to provide them with job opportunities which are the basis of stability, security, and development. We must do it for every individual and civiliza-tion as a whole. No one can be left as disadvan-taged....

    For years your mission has been yielding beau-tiful fruit. I believe that you will not cease in your effort to contribute to the promotion of global solidarity across boundaries and borders. Seek common values for peoples and nations, which can become a solid reference point for our civilization. Do it with passion, openness, truthfulness, and dialoguing.

    Even though I may no longer be an active poli-tician, you are bound to come across me when searching for new solutions. This discussion should be open to everyone, on every level, be it locally, nationally, or internationally. The dis-cussion should be carried out by all citizens: representing local, national, and international governments. This planning of the future world should bring together representatives of educa-tional organizations, such as WOSM and WAG-GGS. It is the task we all have to accomplish, which is not easy...

    I deeply believe that we can work out a solution that will satisfy not only us, but will also pro-vide a response to contemporary problems. I hope that more and more people are able to rise above divisions, avoiding conflicts, wars, and civilizational dangers. Once again the world needs solidarity and shared responsibility. The Scouting movement has the advantage of hav-ing for long spoken of peace, cooperation, and action for the common good, it works globally and understands the concept of a global com-munity and cooperation. Of major importance is also the fact that when supporting the coop-eration of Scouting organizations, you do not only focus on the international level, but also nationally. Stemming from different circles, the organizations have often been shaped in dif-ferent traditions. Thus the cooperation should consist in getting to know one another and the skill to face the shared challenges within the world Scouting family. I am deeply confident that such an example of solidarity cooperation will additionally yield a great interest in the Scouting idea, and will eventually increase the number of young people grouped in packs and troops.

    I encourage all the Participants of this years World Scout Conference to take part in an open discussion and to make an attempt to develop action strategies for the years to come, so that we reach the best solutions in the spirit of solidarity and community, looking into the future with much hope.

    With best regards from the Polish Scouts, let me close with their traditional greeting: Czuwaj!, Be prepared!

    Lech Wasa


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  • 7BE PREPARED OR... CZUWAJ! Our story began in 1910 when Andrzej Makowski translated Scouting for Boys. It was a spark that spread through all Polish lands. Since then, hundreds of thousands of young people have been experiencing a scouting adventure. Their motto is Czuwaj! which means: Stay awake! or Be prepared!

    Between 1918 to 1939, after regaining independ-ence by Poland after 123 years of absence on world maps, Polish scouts and guides had been actively participating in the social life of a na-tion. Before 1939 The Polish Scouting and Guid-ing Association (ZHP), a founding member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement and World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, was one of the largest social and educa-tional associations in Poland with over 200,000 members. We had built a democratic, multi-na-tional and multi-religious country, then World War II interrupted our work. Polish scouts felt obliged to fulfil their promise to serve the coun-try and nation.

    ZHP operated under a code name Szare Szeregi (Grey Ranks). The wartime scouting performed the programme Today-Tomorrow-The Day After Tomorrow. Today for an education in the occu-pied country and acquiring skills necessary to live after the war. Tomorrow for participation in a military uprising. And finally, The Day Af-ter Tomorrow for working in free, independent Poland. In 1944 many scouts took part in the Warsaw Uprising. They were paramedics and liaisons. Many of them fought as soldiers.

    The Day After Tomorrow never came. Poland has become a communist country. We had to withdraw from WOSM and WAGGGS. Neverthe-

    less, ZHP continued work, involving successive generations of young people. The Polish Scout-ing and Guiding Association (ZHP) became one of the very few official organizations that re-tained some independence from the commu-nist party. Because of this, its growth was rapid and in 1980 ZHP had more than three million active members. Polish scouts were involved in a variety of activities from helping farmers of the poorest regions in the fields to organizing the visits of Pope John Paul II. After the martial law was imposed in 1981, ZHP was the only large social non-prohibited organization.

    In the reformative climate of the late 1980s, ZHP adopted some of Polish scoutings pre-war traditions. In 1989 communism in Poland col-lapsed. In 1993 President Lech Wasa (Nobel Prize winner and a leader of Solidarno) be-came the honorary protector of ZHP just like all former Polish presidents. In 1996 ZHP rejoined WOSM and WAGGGS. It started a new chapter in ZHPs history.

    Today, after 25 years of freedom we have a strong desire to show you what the Polish scouting exactly is. The long way is behind us. We have already successfully performed political and economical transformation of our country. Poland has become a member of the European Union and NATO. Our economy is growing. This has a positive effect on developing scouting. We invite you to a short trip. This book is a report of what we have done. This is a story about our successes and challenges. It is also an invitation: rediscover Polish scouting!


    CAPITAL CITYWarsaw (population about 2 000 000)




    COUNTRY POPULATIONover 38 000 000

    COUNTRY NAMEPoland / Polska

    AREAover 300 000 km2

    COAST LINE770 km (almost 500 miles)

    TIME ZONEUTC+01:00Polish coat of arms

    Polish flag

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    HISTORICAL BACKGROUNDPoland's history as a state begins near the mid-dle of the 10th century. By the mid-16th centu-ry, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ruled a vast tract of land in central and eastern Eu-rope. During the 18th century, internal disorders weakened the nation, and in a series of agree-ments between 1772 and 1795, Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland among them-selves. Poland regained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. It became a Soviet satel-lite state following the war, but its government was comparatively tolerant and progressive. La-bor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union "Solidarity" that over

    time became a political force with over ten mil-lion members. Free elections in 1989 and 1990 won Solidarity control of the parliament and the presidency, bringing the communist era to a close. A "shock therapy" programme during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe. Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the Eu-ropean Union in 2004. With its transformation to a democratic, market-oriented

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