Tim's Takeover: What's important right now?

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Tim Kidd, Chief Commissioner of England, is taking over Wayne's blog for the next two weeks. In this week's post Tim focuses on growth.

It’s the time of year when Wayne takes a well-deserved holiday and temporarily hands over the reins of his blog. I have only two weeks to make a few comments, so here goes. My hope is that the thoughts in this week's blog entry will stimulate a good debate among readers.

So what is important right now?

It often amazes me that so many adults volunteer their time (and occasionally endure heartache) to give so much to so many young people. When I meet adults from all over the UK and find out a bit about what they do, I am truly in awe of this great game called Scouting and the generosity of our volunteers. People are generous not just with their time but also with their wisdom and skills.

As some of you will know, for many years Scouting in the UK was in decline. From 1994 we lost members in increasingly large numbers each year. With a huge effort starting in the year 2000, we all pulled together to reduce our losses and then to increase our numbers. For the past seven years Scouting has grown. It has been a huge effort, but here’s the challenge.

The issue

If we are not careful we will take our eye off the growth agenda and fall back into decline. I truly worry that we don’t realise how fragile growth can be.

We have not enjoyed our growth to date by accident. People all over the UK have worked very hard to achieve our great increase in numbers. But I believe that we have to keep pushing our growth. I believe this because it is critical that we help as many young people as possible to develop and make a positive contribution to society. So how do we keep growth on the agenda and feeling fresh?

Keeping it on the agenda

It may be that for some people the continual focus on growing Scouting becomes a bit boring. It may be that it seems we are always banging the same drum. It may be that some people feel that they want to do something else.

But let’s be clear. If we want Scouting to survive and help lots of young people, then we need to focus on growth. I am reminded of a quote from Lauren Bacall; 'standing still is the fastest way of moving backwards in a rapidly changing world'. We can’t afford to stand still.

The challenge

So, how do we keep growth on people’s minds and keep it feeling fresh and exciting? Maybe you are bored of the six step recruitment process, talk of flexible volunteering, the relentless quest for development plans or the focus on leadership and management. But if you think that Scouting is important, how will you make growth happen?

Maybe you have a great idea that is working in your Group, District, County, Area or Region. Please share your ideas with us and pass on your best tips for keeping growth fresh and on the agenda.

Final thought

It’s best not to worry about growth – it’s best to do something about it. After all, worrying is like a rocking chair. It will give you something to do, but will get you nowhere.

10/08/2012

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