And just like that another year is nearly over! For me personally I cannot believe that I am coming to the end of my second full year as Regional Commissioner.
At this time of year it is traditional to look back on all that has been achieved and I review all that has happened in South East Scotland in 2022 I feel an immense pride to be part of a Region that is doing so much to provide as many young people as possible with Skills for Life.
It is impossible to reflect on everything that has been achieved this year so I wanted to share a few of my personal highlights as well as looking forward to what 2023 has in store.
After two years where COVID had prevented us meeting together, the definite highlight was being able to meet again in person. As Regional Commissioner this gave me the opportunity to travel around all seven Districts and many of our Groups and Sections to see in person what amazing opportunities are being provided to our young people and to thank those volunteers who are making this happen.
I was particularly pleased to see two of our most visible examples of Scouting within the Region return as we were strongly represented at both the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Edinburgh Gang Show. At both of these young people and adult volunteers were brilliant ambassadors for Scouting within the Region and I was delighted to support both events and will wear my Tattoo and Red neckies with pride!
It was also brilliant to see so many groups and districts restarting activities that had been put on hold by COVID and I and Mike Treanor, Deputy RC, were delighted to be invited to attend and support so many local events including district camps, group celebrations and AGMs. We are keen to get out to as many groups as possible in 2023 so please let us know if you have an event planned.
As well as restarting traditional events, we also saw new ideas and events starting and one of the most notable was the inaugural South East Scotland Army Youth Challenge Event which saw over 100 Scouts and Explorers from across the Region at Dreghorn Barracks in Edinburgh in June for a weekend focussed on developing new skills as well as having fun. This event was a brilliant success and an unforgettable experience for everybody, both young people and adult volunteers. It also highlighted the huge amount that we can do in partnership with other organisations and this is something that the Regional Leadership Team will be looking at how we build on in 2023.
We cannot talk about new ideas without reflecting on the updated Regional Strategy that we launched this year. Building on the hard work done in creating the original 2018-23 strategy, we worked extensively with members across the Region to make a strategy relevant for Scouting in South East Scotland in 2025. Based on feedback from volunteers and young people, we have identified ambitious but achievable targets for Growth, Inclusion, Youth Involvement and Community Impact and have developed four programmes of work around the areas of Programme, People, Perception and Performance which we believe will allow us as a Region to provide better Skills for Life to more young people in South East Scotland. We have already made a start on this with initiatives including:
– Refining the focus of Scouting Support Officer role to Volunteer Recruitment
– Introduction of training on Adjustments to Scouting and Mental Health training for manager roles
– Commitment to include youth representation in all major Regional Appointments
and keep your eyes peeled for more exciting initiatives coming in 2023!
It isn’t just our Region that is developing new ideas with UK Scouts developing an improved volunteer experience which our Regional Transformation Lead Scott Goddard talks about in more detail elsewhere in the newsletter. It is a tribute to the strong volunteer body that we have within the Region that we have been selected to be the early adopter Region within Scotland and I am excited for the opportunities that these changes will allow us to make to improve the experience of volunteering with Scouting in South East Scotland for new and existing volunteers.
2023 will also see us kick off our Strategy Workstreams in earnest with key projects in Inclusion and Youth Involvement kicking off along with the ongoing Growth work led by our Scouting Support Officer Kirstie.
Finally, thank you to all of you who who have contributed so much to the Region over the part year. There is a lot to look forward to in 2023 but in the meantime I hope that you are able to join me in reflecting on a very successful 2022 for the Region and that you and your families enjoy a well earned rest over the Christmas holidays.
Yours in Scouting