Finishing a good week with "the Big One" in Essex

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A busy week last week with a visit to Belfast, a day catching up in the office at Gilwell Park, participating in the Adult Support team conference, joining 42 Young Leaders on their training course and finishing up with the ‘The Big One’…

A whirlwind visit to Belfast on Wednesday afternoon and evening allowed me to complete my attendance at local meetings of RC/CC/AC in each of the countries and regions. In the afternoon I also met with Chris and Melanie, two members elected to the Association’s Board of Trustees in September of last year.

Whenever we take up a new role it is important that we have a chance to learn about it, being a Trustee of the Association is no different. Accordingly, we spent a couple of hours discussing a host of current issues and topics. I was also keen to understand their perspectives on taking up the role, and particularly how the Board might work more effectively going forward.

Time for a meeting with the Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Scouts, over an early supper, before joining Northern Ireland’s County Commissioners for their meeting, primarily to discuss the Association’s Vision 2018 and local Scouting issues.

Better informed I returned to London on Thursday morning and to Gilwell for the day to catch up with the administration before hosting a follow up dinner in the evening with colleagues involved with World Scouting to discuss international Scouting and our engagement.

Saturday was a particularly busy day, kicking off with the Adult Support Team conference at Gilwell. 50 of the staff and volunteers involved in the various Adult Support teams had come together for the day to receive an overview of national strategy, discuss their various work plans and learn about those of their colleagues before working through several sessions to identify plans for the coming year and beyond.

Our focus, as you will already be aware, is very much on supporting adults and an exciting number of ideas were identified as to ways that we may be able to make the life of a leader within Scouting better and to ensure that we have training and an adult support system that is fit for purpose.

A quick drive around the M25 (but not too quick, honest!) meant that I arrived at a Young Leader training weekend at Brentwood, Essex in time to join them for their session on supporting those with Special Needs and an opportunity to chat with them during a break.

The Explorer Scouts had been joined by a young Scout, David, who explained to them that he suffered from epilepsy and occasionally lost concentration and ‘went into his own world’ but that in order to help him through this, the troop had organised a buddy system and we were joined by one of his buddies, Tom. He explained how they help David on the occasions that it happens. I was delighted to be able to add to David’s impressive collection of badges by presenting him with his Adventure badge and also to make a presentation to Tom.

I was also impressed by the course and the obvious way in which the leadership team had gone out of their way to make it as meaningful and practical for the Explorer Scouts and less like a “training course”. From my conversations with them, it was clear they were having a great time as well.

After a quick change to don the dinner suit we ventured to Southend-on-Sea for the ‘Big One’.  All I can say, after you have read the headline, is that I was accompanied by Julie for the day and evening.It is certainly sometimes difficult to remember that this is our hobby and so having an opportunity to celebrate along with friends and family is a great idea and Essex Scouts certainly know how to celebrate their successes in style!

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