I have this month taken a big piece from Wayne Bulpitts blog about our UK Youth Commissioners starting out to help shape Scouting, and also about the changes coming soon in the Programme.

We kicked off our own Youth Shaped Scouting Initative this month and almost all Groups as well Explorer and Network were there. Nat and Margaret did a great job in bringing many members of the District adults together - we actually had 8 under 25's there as we have quite a few in leadership roles around the District. The next task is to bring the ideas together and work with the sections and the youth members to start to deliver. Wayne tells us clearly the initiative is for every age and all sections!

He writes that he has

"talked before about our plans for the Future Leaders Programme where we will identify people with the potential to hold key roles at all levels and provide necessary training, opportunities and effective mentoring and support.

One of Hannah’s first actions will be to lead a conference of over 200 young people in February to explore what a strategy for national and local youth councils might look like and how we might achieve this. This will also help us identify people to take the work forward.

And much work has already been done The youth shaped group has already developed support for leaders to ensure that all young people have an opportunity to shape their Scouting and not just the older sections. Local Beaver Scout log chews, Cub Scout Sixer and Patrol Leader councils all have a key role in this strategy too.

Our 2015 programme refresh places leadership and teamwork at the very core of our balanced programme – where we really provide life changing opportunities.

But the hardest challenge of all And perhaps the hardest challenge of all will be for those of us with a few more years under our belts, reluctant to “let go” and let young people take the lead and limelight. Partnership is not about a “right of veto”; it’s about mentoring, listening and sharing thoughts and ideas together.

Trust me, as I have experienced in the past week, it can be immensely satisfying and empowering for us too. Several people have commented on this over the past week as they have observed Hannah step forward and shows just how well she demonstrates the leadership qualities that our movement unlocks in us all."

LET ME BE CLEAR that I am fully committed to the changes; as an ADC Scouts in this District I saw the creation and running of a District Patrol Leaders Council and regular get together. As a Youth Worker I was committed to members councils deciding programme and running events, and as a Venture Scout many years before I helped plan, organise and deliver Staffordshire's first full Conference for Venture Scouts in 1972. So its not new but somewhere along the way we have lost ground. Hannah Kentish along with Jagz and Jay her deputies being appointed is not the magic pill but it is a clear indication of where Scouting will be going. It goes there of course with a SOLID BEDROCK OF QUALITY ADULTS  of all ages. I noted this last week that youth is not a mantra we should be blinded by, but then as I am at the other end of life's spectrum now neither is "Old". Each of us VOLUNTEERS in the District (none of us are paid) and we all do what we can and when we can. Bringing in the partnership of our members under 25 to help make it work for them better and in a relevant way will only make it easier for all volunteers to go Scouting.

Finally, SCOUT NETWORK will be getting a make-over in the early part of 2015. This will include it being a District "section" fully, as well as an automatic membership to all our 18 to 25 year olds regardless of role or entry process. I am really thrilled at this as I see a number of ideas that matched my own suggestions when asked in March for some thoughts. Also it gives us a route for all Young Leaders, Explorers and "direct entry volunteers" to belong to a support "club" that can if they wish provide them with more in their Scouting.

November we see the County Youth #Conference designed by the County Youth Team (we have a member from Explorers on that) happen and also our 2 nights of Chief Scout Award presentations where we showcase all that is good in your own Group and Unit programmes and member achievements. I look forward to a great future.

Good Scouting

Graham D.C.