Chief Commissioner's Blog | An amazing weekend

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Wayne reflects on an amazing weekend with 2,500 adult members at Gilwell Reunion and shares some of his closing remarks on this year and the one ahead.

After such an amazing weekend at Reunion I thought I’d share some extracts from my closing remarks at the event:

’We talk sometimes blithely about Scouting changing young people’s lives but it is only when we talk to the young people themselves that we truly begin to put into context what we actually do. I am so fortunate in my role, as I have said here before, to be able to meet many such young people, from communities straddling the border of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to some of the tougher inner cities in the UK, where, with the support of the Government and Youth United, we have opened increasing numbers of Groups in areas where Scouting has ceased to exist a long time ago. I have also met young people from the more rural parts of our country or from the Highlands and Islands from a recent visit to Inverness; the anecdotal stories that we continually hear and that you will hear too in your weekly and regular meetings are fantastic. 

The value of what we do

‘We know too that the world seeks harder evidence of the value of what we do. But we have good news in this respect too; hardly a week now goes by without politicians from all the parties and other influential individuals singing the praises of Scouting.

‘A significant measure too, has been the increase in Government funding we have received in the past 2 1/2 years, through Youth United. 

‘It is our passionate belief in the importance of Scouting, the successful model we have for its development and the widespread consultation with our members that led us to launch, to near unanimous approval, our Strategic Plan 2014-18, Scouting for All.

‘It’s been reaffirmed to us that it is the little things that are most important to you and that often get in the way of your delivery of Scouting. That is why the ambitious plans we have for our Vision are underpinned by clear strategies that are designed to enable you to more easily undertake your Scouting with better support.

Bumps along the way

‘As with any journey in Scouting and life, there are occasional bumps along the way and Project Compass has been no exception. But as many of you have witnessed this weekend, our great team of staff, volunteers and partners have developed a product that has the ability to change the way you deliver Scouting locally and provide us nationally with tools to improve our support for you. We are very nearly there, and the journey will have been well worth the time taken.  

‘I appreciate that some people are perhaps concerned at the ‘business speak’ they feel they hear too much of.  I make no apologies for this.  If we do not understand where we want to get to, how we are going to achieve it and how we are performing along the way we will never know how best we are using our resources. 

‘But please trust me when I tell you that we know that it is not our strategies, our operating plans or even our KPIs that will change the lives of young people, but that Scouting only succeeds where inspired and motivated leaders deliver fun and exciting programmes for young people. I know, however, that the former will absolutely help us provide even better and more effective support for the journey.

What it's really about

‘Back to what it’s really about: young people. Sunny, a Scout in east London, recently said, ‘Scouts has helped me do new things; I have done stuff without my mum.My confidence is better. Going to camp has changed me.

‘Lilly, a Cub in Derbyshire, commented: ‘Cubs is brilliant. I stayed up all night at camp, toasted marshmallows round the fire then talked all night in tents – Akela had to tell us to be quiet at 2am!’

'I’d just like to finish with the words of Salma, 14, from Newcastle, who said: ‘Being a Scout is a blast. I love doing stuff with my mates!

‘This weekend, we’ve certainly proved that to be true for leaders too. These continue to be simply amazing times for our Movement, offering even better Scouting for even more young people. I will continue in my commitment that nationally we will focus on doing all we can in supporting you and your line managers in making sure Scouting continues to be a blast for you, as well as our young people.’

10/09/2014

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