Wayne visits Solihull
Solihull may be one of the smaller Scout Counties with a little over 2,000 Members, but it certainly punched above its weight on Saturday when over 100 adults turned out for 'An Afternoon with the UKCC' In the evening, over 350 people attended for the presentation of 93 Diamond and Platinum Chief Scout awards and 11 Queen Scout Awards – just fantastic.
Remembering those who made the greatest sacrifice
First up though was an opportunity to join 500 members of Birmingham Scouts for their annual Service of Remembrance. The event has grown considerably in recent years and it was great to see so many young people as well as adults turn out to remember those who gave their lives for us.
It is also an opportunity to remember just what a tremendous forces for peace across the world Scouting and Guiding are (it just so happens that the first truly international Scout gathering was held in Birmingham in 1913).
Getting to know Scouting in Solihull
On my list of Scout Counties not yet visited was Solihull, until last Saturday that is. A quick change and a sandwich from a service station (just in case you thought the life of a UKCC was all glamour) got me to Solihull in time for a very interesting and engaging afternoon. I opened by setting the scene and sharing our Vision 2018, before County Commissioner, Katy Sara shared the county’s own vision.
Sharing good practice
I was particularly impressed by the presentations that followed; sharing everyday examples of good practice from across the county. These include Beaver sleepovers made easy, Kip on a Ship (Cub weekend in London, staying on HMS Belfast), gliding, helping children from Chernobyl, mountaineering and the Gang Show.
It was very inspiring and a great examples of how relatively easy it can be to provide exciting programmes.
We closed the afternoon with a Q&A before informal discussions with many of those attending. I always hear something new at these, and this week questions included some specific suggestions on more help with minibus licences and some interesting feedback on challenges caused by the success of Explorer Scouting in recruiting non-Scout members. More of this later in the week.
In some ways, the highlight of the weekend was an opportunity to meet 104 Explorer Scouts and Network members at the County’s latest presentation evening. It is always great as well to chat to the immensely proud leaders, parents and families about the impact Scouting is having on so many.
Interestingly, many had also continued their Scouting while at university, which is not something we’ve always been particularly good at.
So what can you possibly do outside Scouting?
Not surprisingly, there are many cross-overs with my wider voluntary 'causes', and hopefully I’ll have time to share a few over the quieter weeks ahead.