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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 10 | March 18 , 2007|


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Fun, adventure and sharing of experiences at Cox's Bazar!
4th National Comdeca-2007 is over but the memories are here to stay

Z.A.M. Khairuzzaman

Known for the hospitality of its people, the resort town of Cox's Bazar came to limelight once again and earned recognition from the countrymen for hosting a prestigious national event.

The 4th National Comdeca-2007 held here from March 3 to 7 brought repute and prestige to the citizens of the resort town. During the five-day Comdeca, around 3,500 scouts and rover scouts from various schools, colleges and universities from 63 districts assembled here to make new friends and conduct activities together to enhance their knowledge, abilities and scouting skills. Participants included girl-in-scouts, girl-in-rovers and naval scouts.

The western side of Cox's Bazar Airport, near the sea beach and the island of Moheshkhali was chosen as the venue of the prestigious event. The vast area boasts of the magnificent views of tamarisk garden, consisting of a sandy beach sloping down into a crystal blue sea. Each unit consisted of eight scouts/ rover scouts including a trained leader.

The theme was 'Scouting in Preservation of Bio-diversity.' Based on the key idea, scouts from around the country were provided with a rare opportunity to share diverse cultures that they would not normally experience in their home districts. Participants campaigned to create awareness among people about bio-diversity and protection of sea resources.

Comdeca is the abbreviation for Community Development Camp, one of the most important events of the scouting movement. Scouting does not exist in isolation; it is a part of the community and needs to work in partnership with others, from individuals to organizations and institutions at local, national and world levels. Comdeca is aimed at making scouting a tool for the development of the neglected community.

The 1st National Comdeca took place at Bahadurpur in Gazipur district in 1992, while the second one, 2nd Asia Pacific Comdeca, was held at Tamatu in Barguna district in 1995. The 3rd National Comdeca was held in Hundai embankment area in Sirajganj district in 2001.

Bangladesh Scouts organized the national event. Each and every participant played an important role in the development of the backward community during the event. While materializing the programmes, participants made friends among themselves.

Former Chief Secretary and Bangladesh Scouts President Dr Shah Mohammad Farid opened the camp. In his opening speech he said scouts should understand one another, be compassionate and live together in harmony. National University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Wakil Ahmed was present as Special Guest. Bangladesh Scout's Chief National Commissioner and Comdeca chief M Fazlur Rahman presided over the opening ceremony.

The participants of the 4th Comdeca had been divided into four sub-camps named after the three previous venues and Cox's Bazar.

Prof Mahbubul Alam prepared a new Comdeca song. This was perhaps the best-known song among the participants.
Adequate facilities were provided to the participants, including security and health care. There were some major programmes available for them to choose from based on the concept of 'learning by doing.' Besides the opening and closing programmes, other major programmes included a grand campfire, Wood Badge Reunion and eight challenges.

The challenges included the following:
Challenge-1: Aerobics and BPPT.
Challenge-2: Tent Craft.
Challenge-3: Improvement of Environment and surroundings.
Bio-diversity Preservation Rally
Door to door motivation
Vaccination of domestic animals and poultry birds
Visit to important site. Challenge-4: Water activities
Challenge-5: Hiking
Challenge-6: Fun and Games and Beach Festival
Challenge-7: Campfire
Challenge-8: Exhibition Village, Exploring Nature and Free-time Activities.

Among the activities that drew the scouts' attention were Community Action Day, hiking and water sports.
About 2,000 scouts went to Moheskhali Island and planted 1,000 saplings of coconut trees at the courtyards of villagers at Gorakghata village.

They motivated the local people on tree plantation, sanitation, health education, cleanliness and other issues. They stressed the need to protect children from harm and to offer them a safe environment to grow up in.

Earlier they brought out rallies in the island and the town to raise awareness about these issues.
Another team engaged themselves in a campaign to discourage fishermen from catching fish fry. Fishermen were advised to release sea resources and fry in the Bay and rivers instead of throwing them in beach after catching shrimp fry. Lord Baden Powell in his last message has appealed to the scouts and rovers to make the world better than what they had inherited.

Scouts and rovers have exercised the message of the founder of scouting movement in the Cox's Bazar sea beach and surrounding areas.

Environmental and other issues relating to bio-diversity featured prominently in the Comdeca. Scouts organized exhibitions and practical activities around the campsite. Every day, hundreds of scouts and rover scouts explored the mysteries of nature through games and other activities. The event offered a lot of interesting and fun-filled activities.

Scouts were allowed to prepare breakfast and dinner for themselves with special emphasis on hygiene and nutritional value. The organizers offered food during off-site activities. Markets were set up at the campsite offering vegetables, fruits, meat and other items. The organizers, in collaboration with the district administration, installed electricity, waterworks and sewerage systems as well as a large number of tents.

The successful event concluded with an impressive closing ceremony at 5:00 pm on March 7. A grand campfire on the sea beach preceded the closing ceremony on March 6. About 15 attractive events were presented in the campfire.

Chief National Commissioner as well as Comdeca Chief M Fazlur Rahman was present as the Chief Guest. Bangladesh Scouts Vice President Prof Dilara Hafiz presided over the function while Primary and Mass Education Secretary Mosarraf Hossain Bhuyain was present as Special Guest.

A colorful cultural function was held to mark the occasion.
Among others, Bangladesh Scouts president Dr Shah Mohammad Farid, National Commissioner Mihir Kanti Mojumder and other high officials were present.

Bangladesh Scouts' Public Relations Department issued press releases, published an attractive souvenir and a daily titled 'Comdeca Samachar', which consisted of day-to-day activities of the event. The department was commended for the high standard of service.

Scouts enjoyed exchanging gifts, such as badges, buckles, and neckerchiefs. The 5-day event provided them with many experiences to recount to their friends at home. It was regarded as a great way to promote peace through interaction among young people. Scouts spent their time on the beach, playing sports and visiting various places. It was a memorable experience.

For our young members, scouting is about having fun with friends. But scouting is so much more. It is a values-based programme designed to instill self-discipline, self-confidence, self-reliance, and self-worthqualities that last a lifetime.

Boy Scouts of Bangladesh have long been recognized as the nation's foremost leaders in values-based youth development. Though we tend to view our movement through statistics that highlight our strengths and accomplishments, the real focus of scouting is the powerful impact it has on a single youth and his or her family. At a time of declining ethics and shifting morals, we remain steadfast in our purpose: to instill positive values in young people that enable them to mature into adults of strong character.

Bangladesh Scouts will host the International Centenary Comdeca in Cox's Bazar on December 7-13. Experience of this national event will be useful to organize the global event.

Bangladesh Scouts have experience of organizing AP (Asia-Pacific) Rover Moot, AP Scout Jamboree and AP Comdeca earlier. International Centenary Comdeca, open to the whole world, will be the first ever world event of Scouting in Bangladesh. Secretary General of world scout movement and other leaders are expected to grace the event.

(With Muazzem Hossain Shakil, Cox's Bazar correspondent of The Daily Star)

The 4th National COMDECA and Nishorgo's Outreach Program

Zareef Tamanna Matin

One of the striking features of 4th National COMDECA 2007 was that it exhibited stalls on different organizations such as Nishorgo, Action Aid, Gono Shathaya Kendro, St. Martin Biodiversity Conservation etc. Nishorgo is Forest Department's Protected Area Management Program that is being implemented with financial support from USAID.

To generate awareness about our Protected Forest Area System, Nishorgo outreached 3,500 future leaders from Bangladesh Scout by screening a movie called “A Nimble Walk to the Five Protected Areas” and then taking Quizzes on it.

The Nishorgo Booth had varieties of eco products such as T-shirt, Caps, and Post Cards for sale and displayed many Communication materials on Protected Areas of Bangladesh.

One of the exciting items of the stall was live demonstration of how to build an Improved Stove, which minimizes fuel wood use. On the last day of the COMDECA, Nishorgo gave out attractive prizes to the best Quiz participants to keep Nishorgo's slogan “Saving nature for future generation” alive among all these young hearts.



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