Inclusion and challenging perceptions
I wonder what 'inclusion' means to you? For me it is really simple. It’s not about being politically correct, or 'hitting targets', it is very simply that I believe passionately that Scouting changes young peoples lives for the better and has the power to improve society and the world we live in.
It follows then, that we owe it to all young people to give them a chance to be involved in the adventure.
To read some of the comments made following the media coverage of our new clothing range for Muslim girls and others, (notwithstanding the fact that many misunderstood that this is not uniform, but an optional item for casual/activity use), is very worrying.
It concerns me that, as an organisation, many just don’t get why we need to act a little differently to be more welcoming to others. I’ve talked about this in an earlier blog, and its worth reminding ourselves what it might feel like to be in a minority. We may believe our group or unit is 'open to all', but does it feel like that to others?
Getting different people involved – both as adult volunteers and as young people – tends to make our Scouting more varied and inventive. Just as Baden-Powell first thought, getting to know other people and their lives and aspirations can help us to gain a better view of the world around us.
Following B-P’s lead
But, here’s the key, inclusion is not just about finding people who are different from us. It is about helping everyone to join in – people who are the same as us, similar and different.
What we are trying to do, following B-P’s lead, is to join people together and to share experiences. Just think of the endless possibilities for fascinating programmes as you show others an activity or interest that you take for granted and they have never experienced; and they do the same for you.
Rewards beyond our wildest imaginations
It always takes time and effort to make good Scouting work, but making your Scouting more inclusive of the local community will bring you brilliant rewards and experiences that you might never have imagined. So have fun making your Scouting more inclusive and even more brilliant over the year ahead.