Frequent Flier: Distinguished Eagle Scout Scott Teare
If Eagle Scout Scott Teare had a theme song, it would be either "On the Road Again" or "Leaving on a Jet Plane." During the past 13 years or so, the Michigan native has traveled more than 8 million miles to promote World Scouting. His travels — and what he has accomplished during his trips — earned him the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award last year; he was presented with the award in July at the jamboree.
"I was just blown away," Teare says of the award. "I have awards from all around the world, but nothing compares to this."
A career professional in the Boy Scouts of America, Teare spent 13 years as director of the BSA’s International Division. Then, in January 2013, he became secretary general of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), a sort of United Nations for World Scouting. He is the first non-European person to hold that position.
Teare’s introduction to World Scouting came when he served as a summer camp director and had an international Scout on his staff. But it was the 1995 World Scout Jamboree in the Netherlands that really hooked him. "Boundaries keeping people from people and nation from nation dissolved," he says. "Historic, time-entrenched animosities dissipated. National hatreds were set aside. Children met other children, smiles greeted smiles and fingers locked together not into fists but into handshakes of friendship. I witnessed Scouts conspiring to make peace!"
Given that experience, it’s no surprise that Teare is a big advocate of the Messengers of Peace program (scouting.org/messengersofpeace), which encourages Scouts in every country to undertake service projects that promote world peace. "He talks to anyone about Messengers of Peace," says Eagle Scout Dan Ownby of Houston, a member of the World Scout Committee. "He may go to McDonald’s and talk to the McDonald’s guy about Messengers of Peace."
These days, Teare is also talking a lot of about organizational transformation, because WOSM is in the midst of a major reorganization to better serve the 162 national Scout organizations it supports. Among other things, the reorganization involves moving WOSM’s central office from Geneva to southeast Asia, which is becoming the epicenter of World Scouting.
Ownby says Teare is the right man in the right place at the right time. "He really understands the dynamics of how world Scouting works, the uniqueness of it," Ownby says.
While Teare is away from home 246 days a year, he remains passionate about the potential to better connect the BSA to the world community. "The typical BSA member has no idea that there is a world out there with 36.5 million other Scouts," he says. "The bid by Canada, Mexico and the USA to bring the 2019 World Scout Jamboree to West Virginia will be an eye-opener for BSA members." (This jamboree, North America’s first since 1983, will be held at the Summit Bechtel Reserve.)
But Teare says Americans don’t have to wait for the world to come to them. "Get a passport and go see Scouting in another country," he says. "It is unbelievable!"