Chief Commissioner's Blog | Making a difference
Learning, celebrating in a fun way and commemorating great sacrifices feature in Wayne’s latest weekend.
Having a local impact
I have highlighted before our approach to the ‘Scouting For All’ strategy of high profile initiatives to encourage a ‘step change’ in our work, combined with practical support to enable delivery of the programme in sections and units because we are very clear that this is where Scouting really happens. Our Community Impact strategy is no different, with the high profile ‘A Million Hands’ [http://members.scouts.org.uk/communityweek] partnerships with six UK wide charities being supported by resources and a toolkit to enable the delivery of issues decided locally in a similar way.
To this end, I was delighted to kick off a workshop being held near Euston on Saturday where representatives from six districts involved in local pilots had come together to review the lessons learnt to date and continue the development of the resources to support local delivery. Initiatives were as wide spread as helping to reduce the number of rough sleepers, ensuring young people’s voices are heard in the democratic process and supporting young people not in education, training or employment, for example.
Celebrating achievements in a fun way
Oxfordshire Scouts certainly know how to celebrate their successes, as Julie and I found out when we joined 1,000 award recipients, their families and supporters at the County Awards Day. They had taken over the Youlbury National Scout Activity Centre to combine a fun activities day with presentation of top awards to young people and the recognition of their adult long and good service awards too. With so many people, the operation was a fairly slick military style affair with presentations held in District groupings, enabling the families and Scouts to participate in a wide range of the site activities, as well as fund raising for the Jamboree and other international expeditions.
VE Day 70th anniversary commemorations
Saturday saw a very different change of emphasis as we were fortunate enough to represent the Association at the national commemorations for the 70th anniversary of VE Day. The day started with a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey where we joined members of the Royal Family, civic and national leaders.
This was followed by a parade of veterans to Horse Guards Parade via the Cenotaph and to watch the Battle of Britain Memorial flight and Red Arrows fly past.
Following this the Royal British Legion hosted a reception in St James’ Park for the veterans, their families and other guests. This was a great opportunity to talk to so many of the veterans, many of whom had been Scouts and talked with great affection as well as pride in their achievements. It was interesting to note how many current volunteers were present either as family and supporters of the veterans or indeed, in a couple of cases, the veterans themselves.
All in all, another great weekend that combined everything that Scouting has to offer from the impact on our local communities to the provision of life changing opportunities to young people, and the opportunity to reflect on the significant role many of those play in times of need within the country.