The Chairmanship Announcement Speech for Nelson Ochieng Opany delivered on Friday, 18th February 2011 during the Founderee Camp at Kimathi University College Grounds in Nyeri.

Dear Brother and Sister Scouts,

I salute you all in the name of our founder; Lord Robert Baden Powell. It is with great humility that I present myself to you to consider electing me to become the 3rd National Scouts Youth Chairman.

We all make choices for a reason. It’s humbling, but in my heart I know it’s not just about me, it’s because of the belief in what the young people of this Association can be. In the face of despair, I believe there can be hope. In the face of bad leadership that shuts you out, I believe we can be one people, reaching for what’s possible, building that more perfect union for a common good. Though the sight is unseen, I am motivated by a single, simple, powerful idea – that I might play a small part in building a better world through Scouting.

And that is why, in the shadow of our past, where common hopes and common dreams still exist, I stand to announce my candidacy for Chairman of the National Scouts Youth Committee. I recognize there is a certain presumptuousness – a certain audacity – to this announcement. I know I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of the Association. But I’ve been here long enough to know that certain ways must change.

Each and every time, a new generation has risen up and done what’s needed to be done. Today we are called once more – and it is time for our generation to answer that call. For that is our unyielding faith – that in the face of impossible odds, people who love Scouting can change it.

I know there are those who don’t believe in my ability to accomplish the plans I have for the young people. I understand the skepticism. That is why this bid can’t only be about me. It must be about us – it must be about what we can do together. This campaign must be the vehicle of our hopes, and our dreams. It will take your time, your energy, and your advice – to push us forward when we’re doing right, and to let us know when we’re not. This campaign has to be about reclaiming the meaning of membership, restoring our sense of common purpose, and realizing that few obstacles can withstand the power of thousands of voices calling for change.

That’s why I’m in this race. Not just to hold an office, but to gather with you to transform our Association. I want to win that next battle – for revitalizing the youth programme. I want to win that next battle-for the empowerment of young people. I want to win that next battle-for better Scouting. I want to win that next battle- for youth involvement. I want to win that next battle-for the rights of young people. I want to win that next battle-on behalf of all young people who believe that change is possible.

And if you will join me in this improbable quest, if you feel destiny calling, and see as I see, a future of endless possibility stretching before us; if you sense, as I sense, that the time is now to shake off our slumber, and slough off our fear, and make good on the debt we owe past, present and future generations, then I’m ready to take up the cause, and march with you, and work with you. Together, starting today, let us finish the work that needs to be done, and usher in a new birth of leadership for this Association.

I clearly understand the enormity of the tasks ahead but I am equally prepared to face them positively. I am aware too that challenges exist and that they are there to help us grow. With the help of my committee we shall turn them into opportunities for our success as young people.

As our founder, Lord Robert Baden Powell did impress upon us to “leave the world better than we found it”, I feel that this is a great opportunity for me to play my part in the development and improvement of the lives of my fellow young people through scouting. Given the opportunity, I believe that I have what it takes to provide good and result-oriented leadership for the youth.

I seek your support in my bid to become the next National Youth Chairman, so that together we can re-focus our energy on empowering ourselves to become the agents of change that we so much desire. “We cannot walk alone” and as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.” Not with so much work to be done. Young people, we cannot turn back. As the Liverpool FC fans would tell you, “You’ll never walk alone” promise me that I shall never walk by myself. We must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise – that Scouting dream – and in the words of our Law and Promise hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

I am confident about my ability to lead the youth of this Association. But I also know that I can’t do it without you. There will be times when I get tired, there will be times when I make a mistake – it’s true, talk to my girlfriend, she’ll tell you. I shall welcome your contributions and positive criticism, so long as they are for the good of all young people. But this election that we shall be running has to be about your hopes, and your dreams, and what you will do; because there are few obstacles that can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change.

That’s how change has always happened – not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up. And that’s exactly how you and I will change this Association. If you want a new kind of leadership, it’s time to turn the page. It’s time to turn the page for hope. It’s time to turn the page for the voice of young people. It is time to turn the page and write the next chapter in the great Scouting story. Let’s begin the 2nd century together. Let’s turn that page.

Thank you one and all. God Bless Scouting, God bless us all. Bravo!

Your Brother,

Nelson Ochieng Opany

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