This term it has been great to be able to get out and join groups and districts across the Region as they run events, camps and adventurous activities and to see young people gaining #SkillsForLife and most importantly having fun!
Thank you to all of the adult volunteers who have invited me to events and I look forward to continuing to get out and about more now that we can.
I have also enjoyed getting to attend a number of Annual General Meetings (AGMs) recently, seeing the great ways that volunteers across South East Scotland have kept on Scouting in the challenging times that we are going through and to get the chance to thank them, either in person or virtually, for all that they do.
We recently held our Regional AGM which highlighted some of our successes over the year and if you haven’t already, I would encourage you to watch our 2020-21 Highlights video and to read our Regional Annual Report 2020-21.
Youth Shaped Scouting
In my report to the AGM I spoke about some of the areas that I will be working with the Regional Leadership Team and Regional Executive Committee on as we take forward our Regional Strategy. One of the areas that I spoke about was Youth Involvement. We already have good examples across the Region of how young people shape their Scouting experience but there are always ways that we can increase engagement.
This month saw Scouting release its new YouShape award, which is one way that we are working to make it easier to have a programme that is youth shaped whilst providing another way for young people from all sections to have an opportunity to develop important skills that will help them in their future life. Looking at how we ensure that young people have opportunities to shape their Scouting experience is an important part of the UK Scouts and Scouts Scotland Skills For Life Strategies and is one of my priorities as we continue to look at taking the Region forward. We have already taken steps to do this with involving young people in our recruitment processes and in the selection process for the World Scout Jamboree being just two examples but we recognise that there is still more to be done.
To help us to develop our youth involvement I am looking for a small number of volunteers – young and not so young – to join a short term working group to focus on this subject. If you are interested in this please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One way that our young people’s voices can be heard is through Scout Scotland’s elected Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) who represent the views of our youth members at the Scottish Youth Parliament. I am extremely proud that all three candidates for the MSYP elections are South East Scotland Scouts members. I would like to offer huge congratulations to Avery, Niamh and Ewan for this achievement and thank them for being prepared to represent members of Scouting across Scotland in this important role. I wish all three the best of luck for the campaign and would encourage young people and adult volunteers to participate in the upcoming hustings. Find out more about the candidates and sign up for the hustings here.
We have also seen great youth involvement in our top awards with more than 250 young people gaining Gold, Silver and Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Awards during the recent expeditions run by the SEEE team – in the words of one participant said it was “Great to look back and see what you have accomplished”. I would also like to congratulate Edward Maxfield on being the second young person in South East Scotland Region to achieve the Scout of the World Award – a great example of Youth Involvement in action!
25th World Scout Jamboree
One of the examples I gave earlier was the upcoming World Scout Jamboree. In Summer 2023, more than 40,000 Scouts from all over the world will gather in Korea.
The Unit Leadership Team for Unit 8 (made up of South East Scotland Region and GirlGuiding) has now been appointed and I was pleased to meet with Unit Leader Steven Maclennan and Regional Adviser (International) Simon Innes to begin looking at how we best support the unit contingent.
We were all in agreement that it was important that we ensure that young people who are going to get the most from attending are able to participate regardless of background or circumstances and Simon and I will be working with the Regional Executive Committee to look at how we can remove any barriers to participation.
If you know of young people who may be interested in being part of our contingent please encourage them to attend one of the unit’s upcoming roadshow webinars to find out more about the Jamboree and how they can become part of the unit. They can sign up for these here
As we look to the future I look forward to seeing our newest section give more young people the opportunity to get involved. Good luck to the 25th Braid and the 21st Craigalmond groups as they start to establish the first Squirrel dreys in the Region.
I finished our Regional AGM by recognising that while it has been a very challenging year we should all be very proud of what has been achieved in South East Scotland over the last year and as we look forward to the possibilities that the future offers us I shared these words from Bear Grylls. Thank you all for everything that you have done for Scouting in the Region and I am very excited for what the future holds for us.