Chief Commissioner's Blog | A couple of thoughts

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Two particular topics from conversations over the past few weeks have been rattling around in Wayne’s mind...

Accessibility

A leader and parent of a Scout who is in a wheelchair stopped me at Gilwell Reunion to suggest a ‘Disney-style’ system at Scout events: a separate priority line for people with additional needs. We discussed it for a while, but my initial reaction was that surely our values base was such that this would happen automatically; surely we didn’t need a rule or formal guidance for event organisers. The look on the parent’s face said, ‘Wayne, you are so naïve!’

A few hours later I watched Lisa, a Scout leader and wheelchair user, nearly being upended as attendees pushed by in order to see Bear as he left the stage. In the Lid on Saturday evening, a leader in a wheelchair needed to use her crutches to protect her plaster-cast foot from being hit by people ‘squeezing by’ – perhaps our values are not enough.

So, would more formal guidance or even rules help and can education alone make people more aware if we are to ensure Scouting 4 All?

Remaining grounded

At the launch of our partnership with Heathrow, Caron, a local GSL, was on a mission to bend my ear. She felt that too many people sought to ’progress‘ through Scouting, compounding the problem of too few section and unit leaders and that they should have to attend at least one youth section a month.

I have to say that I was rather defensive, explaining about right people, right roles, management skills, time pressures etc. But as I pondered it further I wondered if there was more we could do to encourage those of us responsible for supporting leaders to be more grounded. Good leadership and management practices, whether volunteering or work, extol the virtues of periodically ‘walking the walk’, so why would we be any different?

Maybe Caron has a point and we should formalise the expectation of running a section or unit periodically for managers in Scouting?

22/09/2014

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