Scouting at all hours
On Tuesday I had a short hop across to the 'other island', Jersey, where I had the privilege of presenting an amazing 97 Chief Scout Awards at the island’s first achievements celebration.
Joined by over 300 family members, leaders and other people from the local community it was a great opportunity to celebrate the success of Scouting on the island.
Scouting for the less fortunate
On Friday I travelled to Deal in Kent to meet with Lord Northbourne and Val Owen. Lord Northbourne had written to me following my article in April/May’s Scouting magazine as he wished to learn more of our proposed work on social inclusion and to share his and his colleagues' experiences of trying to work with Scouting in London in the 1970s.
Sadly their experience at that time was not particularly good, and so they established the Stepney Children’s Fund with Toynbee Hall charity, to provide what is essentially a Scouting programme, albeit not in our name.
I would like to think that Scouting has moved on considerably since then, and especially in the East of London, where we now have a very successful team and are making great progress. It was good to share the experiences of others in trying to succeed in this area and build on our own.
Supporting development in West Sussex
West Sussex were the latest county to invite me to their DC/GSL conference to share our Vision 2018 and to enjoy an extensive Q&A session where thankfully I was able to answer all of their questions without having to pass the buck to the CC.
Sitting in on their discussion groups it was interesting to learn that many of the core issues remain around local publicity, recruitment of adults and the ability to provide adventurous activities to young people.
I was able to spend time at Gilwell 24, where a truly amazing 3,000 teenagers were having a whale of a time, supported by their 700 leaders and 400 members of the Gilwell Park events staff and volunteer team.
The Explorer Scouts even got the opportunity to throw bricks at real policemen as they demonstrated their riot techniques. Chatting to the Explorer Scouts it is easy to see why this section continues to be one of our success stories, and grew by nearly 5 per cent last year.
A born survivor success
Change of tempo on Sunday as I joined Staffordshire’s Born Survivor event where over 1,000 Scouts and Explorer Scouts had been enjoying a survival-themed weekend.
The info team had been up most of the night for various things, but nevertheless I received a fantastic welcome on my arrival. Although they were disappointed when I had to tell them that despite being Chief Commissioner I didn’t carry accident report forms around with me!
When it came to the fish gutting and cooking base, I also had to point out that they seemed to have confused me with Bear.
In other news
I seem to have packed in a large number of calls, meetings and other discussions around the visits. These have included an update on the impact assessment, meeting with Sally, one of our Trustees, catching up with the Chief Commissioners of England for our regular update, and the latest piece of filming for next years 'AGM' presentations.
All in all an amazing week proving just why Scouting is so popular at the moment.