It seems that every cloud can have a silver lining
With so many schools closed, it’s great that over 2,000 Scouts and Explorer Scouts are enjoying Gilwell’s winter camp, which for the first time in many years reflects the typical seasonal pictures rather than the mud bath we have experienced of late. But that’s not all that has shown the true value of Scouting this week.
In addition to may sections taking advantage of the snow and cold weather for some exciting programmes, local media across the UK is full of coverage of Scouts doing one of the things we do best, helping others.
Whether you have been quietly helping your neighbours, or helping in a much larger, organised and co-ordinated way such as the Scouts of Nottingham for example; we have been helping those less fortunate members of our communities of which there are many..
For my part, the week has also been impacted by the adverse whether and disrupted travel plans but otherwise focussed on yet more meetings I’m afraid and not much opportunity to join in the activities.
On Tuesday, I hosted a meeting of colleagues from different areas to review our strategy for ensuring that everybody who wishes to can really join Scouting and also help us, in short, ensuring that we are truly inclusive. We identified a number of steps that we could take to help this and to improve the practical support available to section leaders and others organising events for example.
I’ve also talked before about better personal support for individuals and succession planning within our Movement, so I took the opportunity of a few “spare hours” as I had to stop over for a meeting on Wednesday, to meet with a couple of colleagues informally to chat about their current roles, identify personal opportunities for them and trying to ensure that everybody is happy.
Things like succession planning are always difficult for us because we need to ensure that we continue to have open search processes, but we also need to ensure we have the right people in the right roles, can offer them personal development and ensure that we have a number of good candidates available for future vacancies. No small order and something that equally needs to be done in a Group, District or Area for example as nationally!
Wednesday morning was also a bit scary, and not just trying to travel around. We had organised a morning of advanced media training with some experienced professional media advisers, armed with cameras and recorders for mock tv and radio interviews. You only have to look at tv and media coverage of recent incidents to know that how we react at such a time can have major ramifications for our organisation, so “being prepared” is something that we clearly need to do and refresh our previous training.
The morning included a developing mock story involving an incident on a local activity but what it brought home to me is how vitally important it is that we ensure that our policies for such things as ratios of people and the behaviour of leaders when away continue to be right and that we all ensure that we follow them without exception, no matter how minor the exception may at the time feel!
Food for thought, and one of those bits of our training, like first response, that you hope you never have to use, but are vital should that occasion arise!