Blog | Why our veterans can make great volunteers
UK Chief Commissioner, Wayne Bulpitt talks about a new partnership with Walking with the Wounded, a fantastic opportunity where our returning heroes can help transform the lives of young people…
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Our former service personnel returning to civilian life, have an amazing amount to give – a love of adventure, a huge sense of practicality, experience of overcoming challenges, and the sort of can-do attitude that means anything is possible when you put your mind to it.
Scouting meanwhile, the UK’s biggest co-education youth movement is in desperate need of more adult volunteers. There are 40,000 young people waiting to experience our life-changing adventure due to a lack of leaders.
So why not encourage these inspiring men and women into the movement at this critical time? The fit is so perfect that it’s amazing we didn’t think about it before.
That’s why, for months now, The Scout Association has been talking to Walking with the Wounded and government influencers to pitch the idea of supporting former service personnel to volunteer with young people. These are veterans who may face difficulty on returning home and do so with significant injuries.
A new partnership
We can now officially announce a new partnership to make this a reality. Scouting is supporting Walking with the Wounded, the inspirational charity that aims to re-skill and retrain former service personnel, helping them find places as adult volunteers.
The Scouts are in a great position to welcome former service personnel into their communities. We can offer them training and support, a fun, social network and opportunities to expand their skills sets and acquire externally-recognised qualifications. A Scout Wood Badge leadership qualification is automatically recognised by the Institute of Leadership and Management. We can also offer a way for our returning heroes to make a powerful contribution to their local communities.
Hope for the future
But most importantly, we can offer hope. Hope is powerful. The hope our volunteers give to young people is transformational. But that works in both ways – our young people inspire, encourage and give adult volunteers hope all of the time.
Young people are our future. We are in an amazing position to influence people at the most important and formative time of their lives – their childhoods. This is why we launched our Better Prepared campaign – to bring the benefits of Scouting to 200 of the most disadvantaged parts of the UK, helping prepare young people for a brighter future.
Who better then to help deliver our programme and foster character than our returning heroes? Who better to help develop those qualities of resilience, decision making, teamwork, leadership and communication – the soft skills that really help people make a success of their lives and which employers are constantly looking for?
This is just one example of how we need to be innovative in the way we reach new volunteers. We need to have the courage to think differently if we are to reach our goal of having half a million young people in Scouting by 2018. And we need to acknowledge it won’t always be through parents and former members.
But more importantly, we are a movement of hope. We owe it to young people and our former service personnel to make this initiative a success.
Find out more about our vision towards 2018.