I have long admired the association of the King of Sweden and Scouting. This article was recently published by the WOSM;
His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, the King of Sweden, has been actively involved in Scouting since his childhood days. In 1955 he joined as a Cub Scout with the name (totem) Mowgli and progressed to the Scout age-section in 1958. At the age of 10, as a Crown Prince then, one of his first official duties was to participate in a Scout camp in Sweden. Since then
, the King often takes part in various Scout activities both in Sweden and around the world. He always makes it a point to find time to visit Scout gatherings such as Jamborees where he often camps in a tent alongside other Scouts and leaders.
During his visits to Scout events, the King engages with young Scouts during their Scout activities and is very approachable by any Scout during such events. His simplicity and passion for Scouting has inspired many young Scouts and adult leaders alike. King Carl Gustaf is an Honorary Member of the Swedish Guide and Scout Council and has been the Honorary Chairman of the World Scout Foundation since 1977.
When did His Majesty first come in contact with Scouting, and how was the experience then?
I have been a Scout for more than 50 years. My father was a great Scout, but unfortunately He passed away when I was only 1-year old. It was actually my mother, The Princess Sibylla, who introduced me to the Scout Movement. So since I was a very young boy I have appreciated the Scout values. Already at that time I liked very much being out in the nature, walking and hiking.
What has been the most inspirational moment for H.M. in Scouting?
There is not only one special moment. What I think is very inspirational is all the meetings I have had with Scouts from different countries around the whole world. We all work for the same vision and values, wherever we are in the world. That is fantastic to witness.
How did Scouting prepare H.M. for the leadership role as a future King of Sweden?
As a Scout, I have seen how important it is for young men and women to practise and develop leadership based on positive values. I would like to see that more young people, both inside and outside the Scout Movement, should be given the opportunity to draw advantage of such an education.
H.M. is the Honorary Chairman of the World Scout Foundation. How does H.M. find the experience of doing such a big service to the Scout Movement today?
It makes total sense to contribute, so I am glad if I can help and give some support to the international Scout Movement.
With the success of the World Scout Jamboree in Sweden last year and the popularity and coverage it received in local media, Swedish Scouting is set for growth. What does H.M. aspire to, in terms of a future for Swedish Scouting?
I would be very happy if young boys and girls are interested in joining the Swedish Scouting.
What words would H.M. like to share with young Scouts around the world as a message?
I have the meetings at the Scout Jamboree in Sweden in 2011 in a very good memory. The final evening was an impressive experience where we all agreed on the announcement that we are “Messengers of Peace”. I think that is a good message to all Scouts around the world.