The Saudi Arabian Scouts Association has been helping Hajj pilgrims for 47 years, adapting along the way to keep up with changing times and making use of new technologies.
In the past 15 years, the association has worked to develop its camps and the training and qualifications of its members by providing them with expert knowledge and important skills which, along with the hard work and diligence of members, has greatly improved the quality and professionalism of the services it provides.
The work to serve pilgrims began in 1961 with a group of 100 scouts from Makkah. At that time, their job was limited to providing assistance to the Ministry of Hajj. Scouts from Jeddah and Taif joined the efforts in 1963 and their work, under the patronage of the association, became official and the scouts began assisting the Saudi Red Crescent Authority in providing medical services.
After joining the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1963, and given the association’s experience and expertise in helping pilgrims during Hajj, it was decided to encourage all Muslim scouts around the world to stand with the Saudi scouts and forge closer bonds with them by working together on providing assistance to pilgrims of all nationalities and languages.
The late King Faisal approved the establishment of Islamic and Arab scout gatherings, which were held every two years between 1964 and 1974. The first was attended by 120 scouts from 16 countries, and participation grew to a peak of 24 nations and 145 scouts in 1974.
Following this experience, the association wanted to have the honor of serving people from all nations and has been doing so each year since 1975.
This year, 4,500 scouts, rangers and leaders are set to serve pilgrims in Makkah and the holy sites, and 1,500 others are set to serve pilgrims in Madinah and land, air and sea exit-entry points. The association has completed its preparations to serve pilgrims, and seeks to provide the best services.
As part of its efforts to provide the best possible services, it will establish 10 camps in Makkah and the holy sites and another in Madinah. In addition, it will oversee some camps established by the Scouts of Education Ministry at exit and entry points.
The association has also worked closely with the authorities as part of its efforts, and entered into a number of partnership agreements.
The authorities include the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the Ministry of Health, Makkah municipality, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the Islamic Development Bank.
The chosen scout leaders that will be volunteering this year have been invited to take part in workshops in Riyadh, and there have been training sessions for leaders accompanying scouting units in Makkah and at its medical clinics. For a third consecutive year, the association will help to guide pilgrims to and from Al-Jamarat.
The use of information technology has been enhanced to increase the efficiency of many services provided by the scouts, including help to reunite lost children with their parents.
The association this year is making even more efforts to improve the environmental aspects of camps in Mina and Arafat. There have also been advances in the implementation of programs and cultural events.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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