Juggling those balls
Challenge of the week: Thinking of something interesting and relevant to say to 3,000 Explorer Scouts at the opening of Gilwell 24 when they're itching to get on and enjoy over 200 adventurous activities.
National Scout Activity Centres
But before I got to Gilwell, there was a visit to Manchester for a meeting. There we pursued our vision of a network of National Scout Activity Centres across the UK, acting as a shop window for Scouting and providing members with first class facilities.
Travelling by train gave Nick (Assistant Director, Activity Centres) and I the chance to catch up, review where we were and look at the various strands that we are currently working on - some investments already made, major planning consents received for Youlbury, significant investment in Gilwell Park, partnership with Ferny Croft in Hampshire and further negotiations to extend the network in other parts of the UK.
In the current climate, ensuring that we have sufficient funding in place to achieve these goals is vital and so we looked at how that might be achieved.
Insurance: busting a myth
Back to Guernsey just in time for a quarterly board meeting of Scout Insurance (Guernsey) Limited (SIGL), the captive insurance company that helps us manage our insurance risk.
Our claims record fortunately continues to be very good, and so the company was able to declare a dividend of £600,000 which will be paid over to the Association and used to fund our continued development.
A little less than recent years due to lower interest rates on our investment portfolio of bonds which are held in case of future claims etc.
Back to Gilwell
Back to London on Friday. After a telephone call with the Group Scout Leader of the Group in Camberwell that I’m helping with discussions on their HQ lease from the local authority, it’s off around the site which is a hive of activity.
As is often the case, many different groups have arranged meetings over the weekend, so it’s a good opportunity to catch up with many people in a short space of time.
This weekend saw the World Moot management team have their final meeting before departing to Kenya in 13 days, the Scout delegation to the British Youth Council were meeting and the Adult Training Support Group had their team meeting. Apologies if I missed anybody else there!
I also touched base with our Activities team as we looked at progress on reviewing the Swimming Rules and plans for Bear’s Survival Weekend at the end of this month.
Not to mention an evening stroll around a heaving Gilwell Park to say hello to some of the 3,500 plus Explorer Scouts and leaders who are gathering for the weekend.
Gilwell 24 is the latest of the national events organised for the sections and was started just a few years ago when a hundred or so participated. How things have grown! Explorers had an action packed 24 hours (no time for sleep, as activities go on throughout the night).
New for this year was brush surfing, a high wire trapeze, mountain boards, zorb balls and street boarding as well as over 200 of the favourites.
Interviewing for another core team member
Having survived doing the opening, and the Explorers not running away until I declared the event open, I needed to make a quick change and get into a car to go to Baden Powell House where we were starting interviewing for the UK Commissioner for Adult Support role, which we have recently advertised.
So, what about the football?
Bit of 'me' time after that as I catch up with Alastair and Em for a drink and chat before getting to Heathrow just in time for my flight to Johannesburg for a certain football match on Sunday evening. Somebody has to do this stuff guys - it just happened to coincide with a board meeting in SA, honest!
Looking forward to my trip though got me thinking about the many ways Scouting is like football. We like to be part of a winning team, we wear a team strip, we train and are skilled and technical. Both are worldwide.
But thankfully, Scouting in the UK is doing considerably better that our national football teams; we are playing a great game, beating many challenges, not missing those goals and having a ball!