Quizzes, Commissioners and the Cotswolds
This week, Wayne discusses presentations, projects and Scouting’s online presence. He also talks about being quizzed by County Commissioners and getting muddy in the Cotswolds.
Keeping in touch and moving things along
I was lucky enough to join one of three presentations held in the House of Lords for Queen's Guides last week. The presentation was hosted by Baroness Benjamin OBE, who gave a very passionate presentation on overcoming disadvantages and following one's dreams.
Other meetings in the week included one with Odgers recruitment consultants, who we have retained to assist us, and an update meeting with Public Zone, who, as previously mentioned, is undertaking the major restructuring of our online presence (with the most significant enhancements taking place in October).
Among the challenges, I learnt that our 5,000 pages of web content needs to be reviewed and 'tagged' to enhance the online search function (look out for some exciting summer jobs on the notice board shortly!).
We also met with the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Freemasons Grand Charity to update them on our work; in particular to review the projects that their £500,000 grant makes possible. It was also an opportunity to share some of the exciting projects we are exploring to provide Scouting opportunities in some of our more challenging communities.
What's on in the West Midlands?
I joined the West Midlands County Commissioners in Warwickshire where we discussed a whole variety of topics. This gave the County Commissioners the opportunity to quiz me on some of the current strategies and developments we are following, and for me to understand what is happening within the Counties in the West Midland Region.
Fun in the Cotswolds
An early start on Saturday and a change of footwear prepared me for the Cotswolds, where I arrived just in time for the Malvern Challenge. This was a very muddy experience as I arrived just after some very, very heavy rain showers overnight and early morning (I should have taken the hint from the large amount of surface water on my drive across the Cotswolds!).
The 3,300 Scouts and Guides, however, were totally unfazed by the rain and had great fun starting out on their challenges: another terrific example of what Scouting is really about.
Wiltshire 24 and another quizzing
Driving south and I arrived at Wiltshire's County Activity Centre in time to join a large group of leaders who were together for the weekend 'Wiltshire 24' leaders' conference. We enjoyed a very exciting 90-minute presentation and Q&A session, which covered a wide variety of questions (which thankfully, I was able to answer).
Making the most of Scouting
I travelled down to the leafy suburbs of Kingston-Upon-Thames ready for Sunday morning where I had accepted an invitation to join the National Sea Scout Regatta. I had suggested taking the opportunity to meet with as many Sea Scout Leaders who were able to join us for the evening, and I was delighted that around 70 were able to do so.
This was an opportunity to share with them our Vision to 2018. It also gave me the chance to listen to some of their concerns at trying to run water activities and with Sea Scouting in general, and to identify opportunities to work together.
While not all of the groups were Royal Navy (RN) recognised, it is interesting to note that generally speaking, RN-recognised Sea Scout Groups increased by twice the national average last year.
And finally, making the most of a little sun
Thankfully the showers were few and far between on Sunday when I was able to get on the water and join the crews for the Regatta. I also took the opportunity to walk along the bank and chat to many of the leaders, Explorer Scouts and supporters who had gathered for the weekend.