Tim's takeover: good Scouting
It’s been a hectic week; at the end of it, I was having dinner with a friend when conversation turned to the broad spectrum of people in Scouting.
Who would be a Scout?
Many people who know me consider me an unlikely candidate for a Scout. I'm not in any sense an adventurer, I am not interested in sport, and my prowess outdoors is a little dodgy to put it mildly. But despite all that, I enjoy the outdoor skills that I learned from Scouting (and I can put up a tent, honest).
I truly believe that Scouting changed me and shaped me into the person I am today.
I know that Scouting helped me to try (and achieve) many things that were way outside of my comfort zone. At school I was most content learning Latin or singing in the Glee Club - and most uncomfortable on the sports field. Scouting wasn't an obvious choice. But I was encouraged by my parents and the local leaders were brilliant at dealing with a child who obviously wasn't naturally the outdoors type.
Is it scary?
This gets me to one of the items we have been tackling in our vision and it strikes me that sometimes people are scared a little by our talk of diversity and inclusion. 'What does it mean?', 'Are there targets?', 'Am I doing it wrong?' and so on.
I also meet leaders who achieve it brilliantly, being open to all sorts of people and giving them a taste of Scouting.
The key here is that we must be prepared to be challenged, and possibly feel a little uncertain.
It's easy to stay in our comfort zone and not to stretch ourselves, but I believe that we achieve more when we try things that push us. Good Scouting helps young people to undertake new and challenging activities and the same should be true for adults.
For me, inclusion is simply about welcoming all sorts of people in Scouting. It sounds simple but it can be a challenge. What if my local Cub Leader didn't want to work with me because I wasn't keen on outdoor activities?
This week's challenge
So this week's challenge is to put aside some time to look at the local area in which you Scout. See if there are people who could benefit from Scouting but don't because they think that Scouting is not for them.
To do this we have to put aside our own uncertainties, worries and preconceptions, ask for help when we need it and open up Scouting as much as we can.
I believe that Scouting changed me for the better; all young people deserve to have that magical transformation also.
It may be hard to be truly inclusive, but I will leave you with the words of Erica Jong:
And the trouble is,
If you don't risk anything,
You risk even more.