The BSA’s Messengers of Peace program has launched a series of enhancements designed to more clearly define the awards available and to make it easier to understand how to earn them.
The Messengers of Peace (MoP) initiative began in 2011, when the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) was looking for a way to encourage Scouts around the globe to do whatever they can to make the world a better place.
The BSA’s Messengers of Peace program (you might recognize the patch that we all wear on our uniforms) falls under the framework of the WOSM program, with opportunities for everyone — from brand-new Cub Scouts to seasoned leaders — to make a difference.
“The Messengers of Peace program promotes a vision of Scouting beyond the Scout’s own unit,” says Marcia Bettich, a member of the BSA’s International Committee and the BSA Messengers of Peace chair. “It is designed to help Scouts gain an appreciation of their role in their communities and the world and to learn how they can act locally to truly effect global change.
“These enhancements emphasize that becoming a Messenger of Peace is not a just one-time event. Rather, it is a commitment to a life of service and peace.”
The 2023 enhancements were officially rolled out at the 2023 National Annual Meeting and the 2023 National Scout Jamboree and are effective immediately.
How to become a Messenger of Peace
WOSM has defined three “dimensions” within which Scouts can build a culture of peace and create positive change in our world today.
- Personal commitment: Scouts learn how their actions as individuals can help develop a culture of peace in their community.
- Community based: Scouts assume an active role in their communities and engage in identifying community issues.
- Collective result: Scouts promote a global sense of friendship, international cooperation and understanding, to inspire others to work together to pursue a common goal.
As part of the announcement at the Jamboree, Georgia Venturer Elizabeth Brown, the Messengers of Peace volunteer youth lead, helped lead a service project that resulted in nearly 5,000 thank you cards being distributed to first responders across the country by Jamboree staffers who took the cards home with them.
That’s the idea of Messenger of Peace – to not just perform a service project, but to inspire others as well.
“It was awesome to watch Scouts and Scouters get excited about the program and plan to take back what they learned to their local unit,” says Elizabeth.
What are the different Messengers of Peace awards?
Each of the Messengers of Peace awards is broken down into four stages: Inspire, Learn and Decide, Do, and Share. Requirements for each depend on the award you’re trying to earn.
There are three MoP awards:
The Messengers of Peace Award goes to Scouts or adults who sign up to take part in an MoP project, learn how the project is making a positive change, complete a minimum of two hours of service for the project and share what they learned about the project.
The Messenger of Peace Champion is an award created by the BSA’s Messengers of Peace committee. It requires Scouts or adults to take each step a little bit farther than the basic award. First, they must research how an issue affects their community, identify organizations that work to address that issue and discuss what they learned with others.
Then, they must plan an MoP project and educate others who participate about how the project will make a difference.
And, finally, they must complete a minimum of 10 service project hours.
The Messenger of Peace Ambassador is the highest award in the BSA’s Messengers of Peace program. It requires Scouts or adults to research an issue that’s not only affecting their own community, but communities around the world as well. They must identify organizations that work to address that issue and discuss what they have learned with others.
Then, they have to partner with another organization to plan an MoP project, learn what that organization has done in the past to combat this issue and educate others about what they have learned.
And, they must complete a minimum of 20 service hours, and create and execute a plan for the sustainment of the project.
Are there Messengers of Peace awards for units?
The Messengers of Peace unit award is presented to a unit (pack, troop, crew, ship or post) that organizes and carries out at least one Messengers of Peace (basic or Champion level) project during a calendar year.
At least 60% of the registered unit members (youth and adult) must participate in the project. A unit may be nominated for the unit award, or they can apply to their local council for this recognition.
The scope of the project should be appropriate to the type of unit applying. For a Scouts BSA unit, for example, the project should be equivalent to an Eagle Scout leadership service project. The project must benefit a school, community or religious organization, or fulfill some other public service purpose.
Units can earn this award once per year and are encouraged to continue their work as Messengers of Peace by completing new projects every year.
What are Messengers of Peace distinguished service projects?
Each year, the BSA International Committee will recognize projects that are submitted to the committee that exemplify all aspects of the Messengers of Peace program and have shown to be outstanding examples of the program.
Recipients for the MoP Distinguished Service project awards will receive a MoP medal, certificate and metallic gold edged ring to wear on their uniforms.
Great! How do I get started?
Everything you need to know about the enhanced Messengers of Peace program, including worksheets and detailed information on how to get started, can be found in the new MoP program guide.
Click here for more information, including application forms and details on the kind of projects that qualify for the program.
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