Afghanistan. A country torn for decades by conflict, where thoughts of peace seem to drift ever out of reach. Yet, in the eyes of PARSA Afghan Girl Scout Troop 2 and Afghan Boy Scout Troop 36, hope of peace is alive. Hope is thriving in fact, as their passion for peace drives their unwavering energy to provide a wide range of social outreach and service projects in their communities.
On September 21, 2020, PARSA Afghan Scouts Troops 1 and 36, and Burke VA BSA Scout Troop 1345 met via Zoom under the banner of International Peace Day. The groups have met once before. They initially came together through the outreach of Marine Lieutenant Colonel Natalie Trogus who built bridges with the young women of Troop 1 while deployed to Kabul Afghanistan. LtCol. Trogus has a daughter in Troop 1345G.
Both troops were excited to attend the meeting, even as they navigated the challenges we’ve all faced lately…getting a stable internet connection. Their meeting covered four key topics: “What does peace mean to you and your country?”, “Can sports be a bridge to peace?”, “How has covid-19 impacted your world and scouting?”, and “How has scouting impacted what your passions, views, and leadership skills look like?”
Carter H, the Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 1345B shared a vision of peace where citizens “rely on each other and support each other through the good and the bad things.” The Afghanistan Scouts shared their vision of a peace, where everyone comes together and assists in shaping and rebuilding their country in a climate of mutual respect. The Afghanistan Scouts routinely take on service projects to provide food and other necessities to those in their community that need assistance.
Autumn D, the Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 1345G, found this opportunity incredibly important because, “I got to see a different story of Scouting, one on the other side of the world. Seeing girls in the Afghanistan troop like me was inspiring. Learning about their challenges, how they lead in a difficult time, and how much service was at the center of their scouting experience, I found it truly special.”
Burke Troop 1345 and PARSA Afghanistan Troops 1 and 36 are committed to building bridges with each other even if those bridges cross electronic pathways. Both troops are committed to spreading peace in their communities.