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Practice makes perfect, so we took advantage of the Operations Conference to practice for the National Conference in November. Wayne then visited Cheshire to see the power of young people in action.

Annual Operations Committee Conference

Sixty national staff and volunteers gathered at Baden-Powell House on Saturday for the annual Operations Conference. This was to consider the first steps in how their teams can support achievement of our Vision Toward 2018. 

It was also an opportunity to try out different formats and electronic systems such as voting, comments, questions etc. Lots of lessons were learnt that will ensure the National Conference is a success and provide a sound foundation for achieving our vision.

Swiftly followed by today's business

The conference was followed by a meeting of the committee where we reviewed feedback from across the UK. We discussed the priorities for the Development Grants Board, our fundamentals work and several other projects.

Exploring youth empowerment in Cheshire

Cheshire's County Scout team utilize a great mix of youthfulness and experience, and it was great to join them for a day that included two county events as well as two focus-group discussions.

Tattonbury is a 24-hour festival exclusively for Explorer Scouts or those about to join, and features popular live bands and activities in abundance. Having only started in 2011, it has already grown in popularity with over 250 participating this year. For any sceptics questioning whether this is ‘Scouting’, I suggest they look over the comments from young people themselves on the website.

Youth forum

The County is also successfully extending its County Youth Forum (which played a key role in shaping Tattonbury this year) into the District. We had a great discussion with members about how this is going and how youth involvement can be developed. In fact, the Youth Forum has been so successful it recently won an award for its achievements

To be heard (and listened to)

Giving young people the confidence to make their views known and influence change is a key part of our work plan, so I was interested to learn about youth development programme, HOBY UK. Cheshire Scouts funded six young people to attend the course.  Faith, one of the Explorer Scout participants, was so taken by the experience that she passionately felt that we should make it more widely available.  She and the others were so successful that Cheshire is hoping to do just that next year. I'll watch the results with great interest as Faith certainly convinced me too.

Making Scout Network a success

We were treated to a great three-course lunch at 5th Knutsford (thank you Nick and team) where I joined a dozen Scout Network members and leaders for a discussion on how to develop Scout Network and the options available to 18 – 25 year old members.

Afternoon tea with Beavers and Cubs

We wrapped up by joining day two of Olympuss, Cheshire's Beaver and Cub fun days, where 800 younger members enjoyed a fun Olympics-themed weekend. I was certainly grateful that Mersey Weaver Scout Active Support Unit was on hand to keep all the leaders refreshed during the weekend.

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