Three years ago, this country sent vibes of the Arab Spring to the rest of the world. Three years ago, seeing our young scouts mimicking politicians in final scout parties seemed like a far-fetched illusion. Three years ago, the idea of holding a 100% youth-led event in our scout organization sounded a silly whim. How sweet it is to see that dreams come true in Tunisia? How great it is to see young girl and boy scouts patrolling the stage in front of their peers cheering the results of transparent advisers’ elections!
It all started two years ago when as part of a Tunisian-Danish partnership project known as the Future Leaders of Tomorrow , a group of young leaders came together to brainstorm possibilities of holding a scout youth forum in Tunisia. Things at that time looked very confusing and a bit chaotic as most of the things in a post-revolutionary Tunisia. Nothing seemed to be sure, nothing aspired stability. Yet, the will and strong desire to make a dream come true pushed this group of young energetic leaders to take action and proceed with the planning phase. Roles got divided and ideas started to be shared and discussed. The dates were set to be fixed for the 6-7-8-9th of February 2014. Scouts all over the country were encouraged to apply to get a spot. The application process included a project proposal submission. It was impressive to receive complete applications full of innovative ideas. The process also encouraged young leaders to run for the position of a national adviser for the next edition of the forum. Only 8 applications met the selection criteria. They were encouraged during the forum to deliver a 3-minute speech in order to convince their peers to vote of the best 5 among them.
On the 6th of February around midday, dozens of radiant faces arrived to the forum venue, bringing with them not only their smiles but great hopes to live a memorable experience.
Icebreakers and teambuilding activities were kicked off that afternoon. Shortly before the sunset, everyone met in the plenary room to get introduced to the program flow, the organizing team and elect the new members of the forum presidential council that would help the already-appointed president in the mission of chairing the forum.
It was just spectacular to observe the Tunisian scouts performing their very first democratic task that day. Indeed, a sorting unit voluntarily stepped out to foresee the election process of the new joining members. By the end of the first plenary session, the council completed its full membership and the newly-formed team was ready to kick off the adventure.
What followed the next days was a large wave of excitement, cooperation, exchange and positive energy. In the morning sessions, the participants would be introduced to some soft skills like leadership and communication skills. In the afternoons, they would sit in their groups to draft a set of propositions that would be later submitted to the higher council for future implementation. Each group had a facilitator to moderate their discussion sessions. The evenings were marked with inspiring success stories told by internal and external guests. It gave the participants deep insights into the outer image of scouting in Tunisia and ways to make it brighter and more promising.
On the 8th of February, the forum came to an end with the announcement of the final results. Five scouts had been voted for to be the organizing committee of the next national scout youth forum. The election process occurred by using an automated voting application. The participants walked in the voting room in rows and waited for their round to vote.
The final party was sparkling with energetic traditional vibes. The participants chose to dress in a traditional way proudly representing their respective local regions. Young ladies and gentlemen pranced along the stage glamorously displaying their outfit.
Toward the end of the evening and after enjoying a number of impressive talents, the election results were broadcast. The room sunk in silence. Faces were all oriented toward the big screen and our 8 candidates were impatiently awaiting to see the number of votes they had got.
The top 5 names displayed on the screen cheerfully made it up stage to greet their peers who had granted them a voice. The cheering moment marked the grand success of the forum and represented the positive accomplishment of the democracy exercise.
Now, we are all crossing our fingers for an even more successful second edition of NSYF.