Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) highlights the importance of volunteering to our communities. It’s a fitting time for Scouting, which is the epitome of volunteering.
With over 120,000 volunteers, Scouting is a fantastically vibrant and successful movement led by and managed by volunteers and supported by a small number of paid staff. This weekend, Scouting will also be at the heart of national and local celebrations of Her Majesty the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
It is not often that a Scout can lay claim to their photograph appearing in Hello magazine. However, Queen's Scout Caitlin Ripley achieved just that this week as the magazine revealed her as one of the readers at Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee Service at St Paul's Cathedral. Caitlin will not be alone, as Scouting will be represented throughout the weekend celebrations in London and across the UK. Hundreds of young people and leaders have been given tickets by Her Majesty for the many national events and pageants.
It is most fitting that Scouting should celebrate our great fortune to have Her Majesty as our Patron, not to mention the continuing support of the Royal Family. The support recognises the tremendous commitment of Scouting's 120,000 volunteers, and it is important that we take this opportunity during Volunteers' Week to highlight the benefits we offer.
Exploring South Wales
Scouting in Wales continues to grow. I was delighted to join Jill Gloster, Chief Commissioner for Wales on Friday and Saturday and to join the districts around Monmouthshire in South Wales for their Portcullis Camp. Over 1,600 members from the four districts attended. I took the opportunity to present awards to recognise the amazing commitment and dedication of several adult volunteers. We also discussed a wide variety of interesting topics.
We enjoyed a very sunny afternoon in the Brecon Beacons to celebrate the opening of the refurbished Dolygaer Mountain Activity Centre. We were joined by the First Minister of Wales, local dignitaries and members of Scouting and the Centre’s management committee. A £400,000 refurbishment of the facilities provides an excellent base for adventurous activities around the Brecon Beacons.
I also took the opportunity to pass through Bristol to catch up with Avon County Commissioner, Dan Wood.
Earlier in the week I spent the day at Baden-Powell House with the Adult Support Core team for their regular team meeting. I had earlier met Paul Wilkinson, Assistant Director, to catch up and discuss a variety of topics in this area. The team is working to ensure our adult training scheme and the local delivery of it is fit for purpose, and that we are supporting our plans to make Scouting more inclusive. The team is also working on a whole host of other initiatives to ensure that we are appropriately supporting our adult volunteers.
Achieving success in being inclusive
I have written several times before about the importance we place on ensuring that all young people have the same opportunities I had through Scouting. Derek Twine (CEO) and I took the opportunity of being in London to meet up with Simon Fanshawe. As well as being a familiar face through his various television appearances, Simon leads a consultancy practice on social inclusion and has some interesting insights into work in this area (more about this another time).
Have a great weekend whatever you are doing and thank you for whatever you do, whether it’s for Scouting or any other voluntary organisation or commitment.