Normally at this time of year I would be wishing you all a well-deserved break over the Summer holidays – but this year has been anything but normal! We find ourselves unable to do many of the things we would usually do at this time of year – summer camps, face to face AGMs and end of term celebrations. But one thing I would encourage you to continue to do is to take a break and some time for yourself – even if you plan to provide some Scouting activities over the summer months.
This is something I plan to do and am encouraging members of the Regional Leadership Team to do in the coming weeks.
Murray from Cardrona all set for fun in the sun for #SESLongestDay SleepOut
Whilst we cannot hold our usual summer camps, we have continued to see members from across the Region taking part in virtual camps and last weekend we saw more than 1200 members joining in the #SESLongestDay SleepOut event. From the opening ceremony, with a special message from Sharkey, our Scottish Chief Commissioner, through the wide range of challenges and activities run throughout the event to the first Regional Virtual Campfire before everyone spent the night in their tents, hammocks and dens. It was a great privilege for me to close the event and reflect on a successful weekend. I would like to thank Mike Treanor, Martin Browne and the team for the work that they did organising the event and sharing so many moments from the event across our social media channels. It was also brilliant to see Youth Involvement at work with some of our Explorer Scouts and Scout Network involved in organising the event and giving a very powerful Scouts Own on Sunday morning.
Lucas, 100th Pentland Barclay Cubs, joins in #SESLongestDay Sleepout
Virtual Camps still need Marshmallows!
Scouting For All
Over the last month, it has been hard to miss the worldwide anger and reaction following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. As our Explorers discussed in their Scouts Own for the #SESLongestDay, inclusion and respect are central to our Scouting values and so as Scouts we stand together against racism and all forms of discrimination. But we should not be complacent and the current movement challenges us to both reflect on how we put these values into practice and recognise that there are still more things that we can do. Inclusion is a central part of our current Regional Strategy, and despite the current situation, we continue to work towards making Scouting in South East Scotland more representative of our local communities. One way that I have been working to be better able to identify and challenge discrimination and reflect the Scouts values is to educate myself and I would encourage us all to read some of the Black Lives Matter resources collated by the Scouts as well as the resources provided for Scouts Pride 2020 which starts this Saturday.
Looking to the Future
As the current lockdown conditions are gradually eased, our thoughts start to turn to the future and the time when face to face Scouting can restart. This is something that the Regional Leadership Team and Regional Executive Committee are already thinking about and the framework released by UK Scouts this week provides greater clarity on how we will be able to restart. I would encourage all groups to review the framework and work with your executive committees to make sure that when face to face Scouting is allowed, you are in a position to complete the required approval process. It is important to remember that a group or section cannot undertake any face to face scouting activity until it is allowed by the current national readiness level and your plans and risk assessments have been approved by the relevant commissioner. We will be working closely with Districts and Groups to restart Scouting safely across the Region. Our number one priority is making sure that all our members are kept safe. If we don’t feel we can do that, we shouldn’t feel obliged to restart activities.
Whilst our Regional Centres remain closed, they are already thinking about the future too. I hope that you have had an opportunity to read the articles written by the Longcraig Active Support Unit in recent Regional Newsletters showing the work that the ASU have continued to do whilst they cannot meet and I was very pleased that the Regional Executive Committee this month authorised funding for the first stage of a project to improve the facilities at the centre. We are also working hard to review what Bonaly Scout Centre will look like post-lockdown and look forward to welcoming everyone back to both of our centres as soon as we can.
It has also been very encouraging to see so many of you looking to get ready for getting back to Scouting by participating in the virtual adult training which has been running during lockdown. We have now been able to run many of the Wood Badge training modules online as well as specialised events such as a recent forum for District Office Bearers. Many thanks to Mary Dick (ARC Adult Training) and her team of Regional Trainers as well as District Training teams for the work that they have done to adjust the training to run virtually in such short timescales.
As I mentioned at the start, it is my hope that all of our members can take some time to relax and recharge over the summer holiday months and to lead by example, I will not be sending out a message in July. However, the Regional Leadership Team will continue to make sure that any developments are communicated to you all through our website, newsletter and social media channels.
As the current restrictions continue to loosen, let’s hope we can begin to see more glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel. It continues to be a privilege to lead such an amazing group of volunteers and on behalf of all our members I would like to thank you for all that you do for Scouting in South East Scotland.
Keep well and keep safe.
Margery Naylor on behalf of all the members of the Regional Leadership Team
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