Chief Commissioner's blog| Helping young people to communicate


Adversity comes in many shapes and sizes, but it’s hard to think of many challenges more difficult to overcome than the inability to communicate.

Truly inspiring

I recently attended a reception to celebrate 125 years of ICAN, a charity to help children with communication difficulties. The event took place in the stunning surroundings of the Speakers State Apartments at Westminster and was packed with supporters.

The speeches were numerous and long, and it’s fair to say that after a while my mind started to wander and I began to work through my to-do list. Then a mother stepped forward to tell her story and very quickly had the attention of the entire audience.

Her son, Tate, was born with speech impediments so severe that he wasn’t able to communicate. Their battle with ‘the system’ was long, frustrating and painful. This changed when Tate was able to attend one of the two schools run by ICAN and receive much-needed support.

Overcoming adversity

At the reception we were entertained by a great pianist and youth choir, all of whom had overcome communications difficulties thanks to the help and support of ICAN. Scouting, of course, is also perfect for building the confidence, self-esteem and practical skills for young people to overcome adversity, whether physical or psychological.

Our website offers information on helping to ensure your Scouting is accessible to all; please do everything you can to help others benefit from our unique mixture of informal-learning, which can help others overcome adversity in such a positive way.

Helping even more young people

Supporting the development of Scouting featured highly in several other meetings this week. Our annual meeting of lead volunteers and staff from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland focused on our strategic plan, sharing good practice and operational co-operation. Matt and I also caught up to look at a wide range of topics, challenges and opportunities.

Hamish Stout, CC Berkshire, is also chairing a strategic group tasked with looking at how best we use our resources to support the growth of Scouting locally so we met to discuss progress and some early thinking.

Listening and acting

I received an email from my friend, Eddie recently about the additional challenges of running Scouting in Central London so I took the opportunity to meet with Alan Hands, acting CC Greater London North East and for the previous few years, DC East London. More on this soon...

I also know just how unpopular the female uniform is, so Matt and I also caught up with the team at Scout Shop to learn of progress in offering our female members a uniform they can be proud of – and feel comfortable wearing. Light seems to be at the end of the tunnel with some proposals due to be considered by the Operation Committee in January (2014 – honest!).


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