Like many in the Region, I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of our monarch and patron, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on 8th September. Throughout her reign, the Queen was a living demonstration of the values that guide us as Scouts – care, respect, integrity, cooperation and belief – and continued to be an encouragement to many of us in Scouting. As Scouting joined the nation in mourning her death, it also allowed us to reflect on the effect that her leadership has had on us and how we put these values into practice ourselves.
It was fitting that Scouting played a leading role in supporting the nation as it mourned the Queen’s death and I, like many of you, was proud to see members of Scouting from across the UK involved in assisting those attending the lying-in-state in London and in particular, was pleased to see South East Scotland Scouts represented by Jacob Wood, a Network member and Assistant Scout Leader in Midlothian District. Thank you to Jacob for being such a brilliant ambassador for Scouting within the Region and more widely. I would also like to congratulate all the young people from South East Scotland who were nominated for this opportunity – it is a great recognition of the work that you have done in Scouting – and all young people and adult volunteers from across the Region who paid their own tributes.
In keeping with our Scouting values and our proud traditions, we continue to commit ourselves to serving others and our nation in our Scout Promise which has been updated to promise to do our “duty to the King” .
Further guidance on the changes can be found on the UK Scouts website.
Over the past month, I have been able to visit several Group and District events and a common factor at many of these has been young people and adult volunteers following the Queen’s example and living out the Scouting Values. Whether that be leaders providing opportunities for young people to develop Skills for Life such as at the World Scout Jamboree Scottish Training Camp at Fordell Firs or the Pentland District Scout Camp or young people doing their best and being great representatives for their Groups and Districts such as at the Braid District Flag at Bonaly Scout Centre or the group of Explorer Scouts leading and managing the Braid District AGM.
It was also great to see the work of so many of our volunteers recognised at these events and I was particularly pleased to have the opportunity to present, David Newton, our Regional Adviser for South East Explorer Expeditions (SEEE) and John Buchanan, Assistant Regional Commissioner for Explorer Scouts, Commissioner’s Commendations to recognise the huge amount of work both of them have put into establishing and leading SEEE, providing opportunities for hundreds of young people across the Region to complete award expeditions. Well done to both and thank you for all that you do for Scouting in South East Scotland.
Any of you who watch Strictly Come Dancing will have seen one of our Scouting Ambassadors and multiple Paralympic gold medallist swimmer, Ellie Simmonds, putting their best feet forward to compete for the famous glitterball. I hope that Ellie’s participation will be an inspiration to many of our members, both young people and adult volunteers, as she demonstrates that dwarfism is no barrier to participation and as she puts it “being different is OK”. At the end of September I enjoyed leading a session with adult volunteers from across the Region who are interested in how we make adjustments to Scouting to remove barriers to participation either through additional support needs or social deprivation. The discussion that we had was fascinating and I left the session with new ideas for how we can make Scouting in our Region more inclusive so look out for more on this in the coming months.
Inclusion is one of the key elements of our updated Regional Strategy. We planned to share more details of this at an all members meeting on 8th September but following the news of the Queen’s passing just before the start of the session we took the decision to postpone. The rescheduled date is Wednesday 26th October at 7pm and I hope that you will be able to join us for this to hear more about the exciting opportunities for the Region over the next 3 years. You can register to attend at the All members online meeting signup page.
I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet so many members from across the Region in recent weeks and look forward to more opportunities in the future. If there is an event that you would like me to attend please do not hesitate to contact me.
Yours in Scouting