Chief Commissioner's Blog | Getting a Voice
On the day we announce the appointment of our first UK Youth Commissioner, Wayne sets out how the strategy fits together and explains just how inspiring it is.
It was Monday, 13 October – I was sat in the Gilwell Park Conference Centre watching Matt Hyde, Chief Executive lead a very successful staff conference, the mood was great with many positive discussions on making our vision come to life. It was also the first time I heard Hannah Kentish take the podium to tell “her story’ and in particular how Scouting had helped her find her voice and how she saw her journey now as UK Youth Commissioner to help others find theirs too.
..it really dawned
Struggling to hold back a little emotion, I’m sure I will look back and see it as the point at which I fully appreciated how significant her appointment is, and that too of Matt, who is leading the transformation of our staff team.
Over the course of the week, this belief has been reinforced with the other half of our staff team on Tuesday, various other meetings and a visit to ScoutsWales on Friday and Saturday where there was also a great atmosphere and a sense of pride and achievement.
As amazing as Hannah is, and along with her deputies Jagz and Jay, she cannot alone make Scouting shaped by young people. But our partnerships can and will. In creating the role, we have looked at Scouts Canada’s model where it is evident that a similar strategy has led to a much wider involvement of younger adults in key leadership roles across Canada.
The wider picture – other initiatives
I’ve talked before about our plans for the Future Leaders Programme where we will identify people with the potential to hold key roles at all levels and provide necessary training, opportunities and effective mentoring and support.
One of Hannah’s first actions will be to lead a conference of over 200 young people in February to explore what a strategy for national and local youth councils might look like and how we might achieve this. This will also help us identify people to take the work forward.
And much work has already been done
The youth shaped group has already developed support for leaders to ensure that all young people have an opportunity to shape their Scouting and not just the older sections. Local Beaver Scout log chews, Cub Scout Sixer and Patrol Leader councils all have a key role in this strategy too.
Our 2015 programme refresh places leadership and teamwork at the very core of our balanced programme – where we really provide life changing opportunities.
But the hardest challenge of all
And perhaps the hardest challenge of all will be for those of us with a few more years under our belts, reluctant to “let go” and let young people take the lead and limelight. Partnership is not about a “right of veto”; it’s about mentoring, listening and sharing thoughts and ideas together.
Trust me, as I have experienced in the past week, it can be immensely satisfying and empowering for us too. Several people have commented on this over the past week as they have observed Hannah step forward and shows just how well she demonstrates the leadership qualities that our movement unlocks in us all.