Here we are entering the last week of November and the Scouting just keeps rolling in! My appointment as District Commissioner was made almost a year ago, and I recall the points I had put together to form the basis of my case to be put in such a key role. I decided that whatever else we needed to look at and develop we would need to look closely at support for the teams that deliver local Scouting week in week out. Needless to say there has been far more to this than I first imagined, but the fun and mostly joy that the tasks bring have been worthwhile.

Only last week did we showcase the achievements of our youth sections and the leaders with the presenting of over 170 certificates for Chief Scout Awards – we changed venue as we needed more space and De Ferrers did us proud. I had a great Partnership supporting this so as well as the three Explorer Scouts doing the comparing so well, Chris AESL and Jeanne and Debbie ADCs did a great job amongst others to make it all work so well.

In the County we saw the first (in its present format) Youth Conference and I was pleased Burton upon Trent was there to help kick-start the most exciting development yet in helping Scouting become more youth shaped, which is of course a key strategic aim in our 2018 Vision.

As our First Youth Commissioner for the UK Hannah Kentish said in her blog recently there is a fantastic example of how this will work in our first UK Scout Youth Council, which enables any one of our 450,000 young people to shape their own Scouting experience; this may be at a national level through the council, in their local area through local councils and initiatives as well as resources and support provided by my (Hannah’s) team.

Most importantly, it will be in Groups and sections where young people can choose what activities they do in Scouting, delivering a real youth-led programme.

Youth empowerment

The 2015 Programme Updates that we were able to announce were being sent out last week provide an opportunity for even more young people to develop their leadership and teamwork skills, and to share their skills with their peers. The Programme refresh also focuses on the partnership of young people working with their leaders to ensure that they are influencing their entire Scouting experience.

As District Commissioner it is my role working with the support of Tim our District Chair to create the opportunities for this all to work. We are to review funding at the District Executive and put in place markers for key expenditure that provides support at grass roots and at the point of delivery. I am tasking the District Team on providing quality and depth to Adventurous Activities progressively more so through Scouts and Explorers. I am going to be appointing Activities ADCs into the full spectrum to support the Programme and Training aspects of the team work. No section will be wanting when we come to the 2015 changes to the programme and we issue resources this week!

Scouting is about supporting each other and viewing everything in an holistic way. Equally we have to be mindful of each other’s time we can give and whilst we may expect more sometimes we have to be prepared to accept much less. That is true also of the members where we don’t always get full support as we adults may feel but for the youth member it may be they are at breaking point just giving what they can to the project or commitment.

I was delighted with the good wishes sent to our “Scouts” for the Chief Scouts Awards nights by Hannah, Jay & Jaqz our UK Youth Commissioners and also from Wayne the UK Chief Commissioner. Similarly from Burton MP Andrew Griffiths and East Staffs Mayor Ron Clarke. They all appreciated the efforts put in by our members and also the partnership between Youth and Adult.

Support and Youth – the working partnership to continue to build on and to deliver with.

Enjoy your Scouting

Graham District Commissioner
24 November 2014