It is appropriate that I write this during Volunteers’ Week as we reflect on the 2022 Census results for the Region which have shown a strong recovery from the COVID pandemic with youth numbers up 5.8% on 2021. Click here for a more detailed regional Census summary.
This is due to the hard work of all of you, our amazing volunteers across South East Scotland in whatever capacity you serve, who have continued to find new and innovative ways to provide Skills for Life through the challenging times.
However, the census also shows that there are also many young people still missing out on these opportunities with 1800 on waiting lists across the Region. Providing access to Scouting for more young people is one of the reasons why we have been revising the Regional Strategy. It is an ambitious strategy for us and can only succeed with the support of all our volunteers so I would like to invite you to a Region wide all-members webinar which we will be hosting on Thursday 8th September at 7pm. Further details will be announced shortly but please put this date in your diary and join us to hear some of the exciting opportunities for Scouting in South East Scotland.
UK Scouting is also planning some exciting changes, designed to make it easier to recruit and retain volunteers as well as make volunteering at Scouts feel more rewarding for everyone which should ultimately ensure that more young people are gaining skills for life. We look forward to sharing more on these and how they support our Regional Strategy in the coming months. Recognising that any change can only be successful if properly supported I am pleased that Scott Goddard has agreed to join the Regional Leadership Team to support the implementation of these changes. Scott will be working with the wider Regional Leadership Team, including District Commissioners, to plan for the implementation of these changes to support our Skills for Life Strategy. Scott and I, along with Mike Treanor (Deputy RC) and Roux Hanna-McNiven (Regional Adviser, Youth Involvement) recently joined volunteers from across the Scouts at Basecamp 22 to help prepare for the coming changes and it was great to be able to meet with colleagues again and share ideas about how to successfully take forward our Skills for Life strategy locally.
As some of you will be aware, Mark Hesketh, District Commissioner in Craigalmond district, has decided to step down after 7 years in the role. I would like to thank Mark for the strong leadership that he has provided to the district over this time, particularly through the challenges of COVID and I personally benefitted from the 5 years that I served as Mark’s Deputy DC. We will be celebrating Mark’s time as DC in a later newsletter but to allow a smooth transition, we are beginning the search for a new DC. You can find out more about the role and apply or nominate someone here and either Mark or myself are also happy to answer any questions that you may have. I am very grateful to Aileen Thomson and Graeme Robertson from the District Leadership team as well as Laura Haley, Regional Scout Network Commissioner, and Ewan Knight, Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Scouts Scotland, who have agreed to be on the search committee for the role.
As we head towards the summer holidays, I would like to thank you all for the work that you have done. As we look forward to summer activities and camps, I hope that you will all have the opportunity to take some downtime during the summer break and recharge.
Yours in Scouting