Iraq Boy Scouts and Girl Guides Council
Iraq was one of the first Arab nations to embrace the Scouting movement, launching its program in 1921, just two years after the League of Nations had created the country out of the old Ottoman Empire. Iraq was a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement from 1922 to 1940, and again from 1956 to 1999.
After the Baath party took control in 1968 and especially after Saddam Hussein seized power in 1979, youth groups were retooled to serve the state. One replacement program, Saddam's Cubs, offered "summer camps" where 10 to 15 year-old boys endured 14-hour days filled with hand-to-hand fighting drills. In 1990, during the period when the Iraq Boy Scouts and Girl Guides Council (Arabic: جمعية الكشافة و المرشدين العراقية ) was recognized by WOSM, the Mesopotamian nation had 12,000 Scouts, however by 1999, Iraq had been expelled from the WOSM.
In the autumn of 2004, Chip Beck, a former Navy commander, CIA operative, and Assistant Commissioner for Venture Scouting in the National Capital Area Council (NCAC) of Washington D.C., was serving a 6 month CPA tour of duty in Iraq, and had the idea to try and restart scouting in the country. The Iraqi Scouts Initiative committee was led by Co-Chairmen Beck and Michael Bradle, an Eagle Scout.
Beck and a quorum of 100 multinational Scouters informally established the Green Zone Council of Scouting in February 2004 as a loose fraternal organization for fellow Scouters serving in Iraq. Through various Scouting networks, the GZC as it was called, came to the attention of Bradle and his corporation, who offered their full support, suggesting both groups work to formally re-establish a legal, recognized, and fully functioning Scouting program in Iraq.
The Scout program is open to boys and girls of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and allows for local nuances to shape various regional program options.
A National Iraqi Scouting Headquarters is envisioned for Baghdad, and a former government establishment has been earmarked for this. Five national Scout camps are also planned.
Since the movement restarted in 2004, it has been taken over by Iraqis and is now run exclusively by them. Iraqi Scouts are involved in community service such as helping police with traffic control, giving first aid, cultivating cotton, planting trees and helping during natural disasters.
"Working towards WAGGGS membership" is an official status by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts acknowledging the development of an association. As of 2005, Iraq has this status. In February 2006, 18 Iraqi Guides attended a leadership seminar in Egypt organized by WAGGGS.
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The Scout Motto is Kun Musta'idan or كن مستعدين, translating as "Be Prepared" in Arabic. The noun for a single Scout is Kashaf or كشاف in Arabic.
- "Groundbreaking event for Guide leaders of Iraq". wagggs.org. http://www.wagggs.org/en/news/257. Retrieved April 1.
|Members of the Arab Scout Region|
Full members: Algeria | Bahrain | Egypt | Jordan | Kuwait | Lebanon | Libya | Mauritania | Morocco | Oman | Palestine | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Sudan | Tunisia | United Arab Emirates | Yemen
|Members of the Arab Region of WAGGGS|
Full members: Bahrain | Egypt | Jordan | Kuwait | Lebanon | Libya | Oman | Qatar | Sudan | Tunisia | United Arab Emirates | Yemen