On Jan 11 we held an event called ‘Building the Future Together’ for the Regional Leadership Team, the Regional Executive Committee and the Regional staff team. It is a serious topic, but nevertheless we had a great evening. ‘I think things are going to be different in the future and I can be part of it’, said Adam Bennett, Assistant Regional Commissioner (Youth Involvement).

Our objectives were to:

  • improve awareness, understanding and communication, between these different teams
  • share our understanding of the challenges, future direction, and strategy for our Region.

Over 50 people, including our President, Dick Allan, and two of our Vice Presidents, Ken Thomson and Douglas Allan, were present. Everyone fully joined in the complex and challenging ‘getting to know you’ exercises devised by Graeme Robertson. These included Who’s Who Bingo and Speed Dating. The comment most frequently heard was ‘I met people I didn’t know, even after all these years!’

Margery Naylor, Regional Commissioner, outlined the Scottish Scouting Strategy 2018-23 which focuses on three pillars: People, Programme and Perception. The main aims of the national strategy are to improve support for leaders, extend adventurous activities for young people and improve the public’s perception of Scouting by us being more involved in our communities. She went on to explain what it meant for us and how we could all work together to develop Scouting in the Region over the next five years. She stressed the importance of the Districts coming forward with their own development plans because they would be the key drivers of the Regional strategy.

John Cannon, Regional Chair, talked initially about his first 100 days in the role and all that’s been going on. John then highlighted what he saw as the Regional Executive Committee’s priorities. He stressed that the role of the Executive members was to support the Regional strategy and summarised their activity under three headings: Governance, Infrastructure & Engagement. John felt there was a need to create a new overarching committee to lead the development of an infrastructure strategy with responsibility for developing our existing activity centres to meet the future needs of the Region, including supporting the 2018-23 strategy, and to find ways to support and promote further all our activities across the Region. John also believed they have work to do to encourage greater engagement across the Region and said he would be working with Martin Elliot to find ways to make this a reality.

Martin Elliot, Deputy Regional Commissioner (Adult Support), then followed John and spoke about the importance of engagement across the Region, emphasising his determination to develop effective communication and – as importantly – engagement within the Region, between all our members, young and older, emphasising the need to have engagement that is two-way, provides multiple communication channels and encourages members to be vocal.

We appreciated the displays set up by the Bonaly Centre and Longcraig ASUs and the detailed logistical work organising the evening, put in by so many people especially John Bruce. And we rounded off the evening with Diane Marshall thanking Graham Coulson for all his years as Deputy Regional Commissioner (Adults). Margery presented him with a gift to express our appreciation of the enormous contribution he had made to the Region, in his many roles.

At the end of the evening there was real buzz in the room with people agreeing that they had achieved greater awareness of members in other teams, an improved understanding of the challenges we face and a commitment to supporting actions to move the Region forward. We left thinking that Scouting in South East Region was going to be different – and more fun – from now on!

So, what will happen next? We will be working together to develop the Regional strategy and we will let you how you can get involved. We are also seeking volunteers to help with improving engagement and developing the infrastructure plan. If you interested or know of someone not currently involved in the Region that you think could help, please could you let Margery or John know.

Margery Naylor, Regional Commissioner