A week of mixed occasions
I’d not heard of the expression ‘Gone Home’ until my first national Executive Committee meeting ten years ago when it was used to describe the passing away of a fellow Scout with reference to the tracking sign that denotes going home.
On Monday I joined colleagues from across the UK, family and friends of David Poppleton who sadly passed away. As a Field Commissioner David taught me so much and helped me through my early years of being a Commissioner. More recently David headed the Regional Development Service, and will be sadly missed.
Thanking supporters and donors
On Wednesday, after a catch-up meeting with Alan Craft and Derek Twine, we hosted a reception for Scout Fellows and other major supporters – it was great to see so many.
Friday evening and Saturday was a chance to meet many leaders from across Wales who were gathered at Builth Wells for their conference and AGM.
While Saturday started with the audience in low spirits following the rugby, there was plenty for them to celebrate in Scouting at least, with over 5% growth last year alone.
Their annual report is entitled 'Just look at what we’ve achieved together', celebrating their fantastic achievements and looking forward to their own Vision 2018. The report contained enthusiastic reports from many members of their four Jamboree contingents, and also thanked supporters for helping to shape the future.
The evening was also a chance to meet the Area Commissioner, to find out why they are growing so successfully, what the challenges are and how we can solve them.
So much more than just a new building
A very early start on Sunday got me to Birmingham for a question and answer session with leaders and members of the County Team, before we set off for the nearby HQ of the 64th Birmingham.
Within minutes of arriving for an action-packed visit, it was clear why this is such a success story. I was greeted by my host, Marion, who was an Explorer Scout, and we quickly joined the various activity bases for all sections.
We listened to Scouts talking about their camps, Explorer Scouts talking about their Explorer Belt and DofE expeditions, Young Leaders talking about their Scouts of the World awards and so much more. The Group resembles the United Nations, with so many cultures and backgrounds represented and working so well together.
It was an honour for me to officially open their new HQ building, which has been made possible in large part by a £72,000 donation from the Future Growth Fund building project initiative of the Development Grants Board. We will shortly be publishing guidance collected as part of this project, sharing the lessons learned and aiming to provide further practical support to all groups looking to develop their facilities.
Congratulations to GSL Paul Little, supporters, leaders and especially the young people of the 64th Birmingham for demonstrating that, while Scouting really is about what we do, rather than the premises we do it in, having the right premises allows you to do even more.