“I am delighted to welcome Simon as our new Deputy Regional Commissioner. Simon’s long term interest in outdoor activities means that he will be able to assist our leaders develop and run more outdoor activities and camps in their sections as well as special Regional events. We look forward to a real impetus in the range and quality of these activities and events over the coming years!”

Margery Naylor,
Regional Commissioner, South East Scotland Scouts

My first association with Scouting was in 1971 when I joined a cub pack in the North East of England before moving to West Yorkshire, where I had a fantastic 12 years being a Cub Scout and Venture Scout. The leaders of my Troop/Section were very outdoors focussed, and it felt like every other weekend we were walking, potholing, climbing and camping in either the Yorkshire Dales, The Lakes or Peak District. I also attended a WSJ in Norway in 1982.

Whilst my Corporate career made any subsequent involvement with Scouting difficult, my passion for the outdoors, especially mountains, was sated by hiking, climbing and skiing. Living in Scotland for the last 20 years has allowed me to climb most of her mountains including being a Munro bagging “compleater”. My other passion has been travelling and I have combined both interests to ski, hike and climb in North & South America, Europe, the Himalayas, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Africa.

Five years ago, after returning from a year long career break travelling round the world, I decided that not only did I not want to return to Corporate life, (thus becoming a self-employed), I also wanted to give back to Scouting for giving me the life skills and more importantly the passion for the great outdoors.

I joined Meadows Explorers in Braid as an AESL and within a year was running the Unit’s DofE programme including the expeditions. In addition, I am an AESL with the District’s Young Leaders, I became a Regional Assessor due to the fact I have a Mountain Leader award and also a Regional trainer to help leaders gain their T1 and T2 permits. The old adage of when you get involved with Scouting it hooks you in to do even more was then never truer when I was asked to be Deputy Regional Commissioner in November 2019, with a focus on leading the delivery of the Programme Pillar in the Region’s 5 year strategy.

So, as we go into 2020 I am really looking forward to working with all the Leaders in the Region to enable more young people in Scouting to increase their experiences of the great outdoors. The first step in this to help, encourage and support Leaders to both gain their Nights Away Permits and also, if they wish, Adventurous Activities permits. Increasing the number of capable and confident leaders will support Young People experiencing the magic of the outdoors, not only augmenting their learning of skills for life but supporting their mental and physical wellbeing and resilience. A great measure of this is, not only just more young people getting out there, but also seeing more of them achieve their Scouting Top Awards (particularly Chief and Queen’s Scout Awards).

Scouting is a lot of things to a lot of people but to me the core of scouting, our differentiator and in our DNA, is our outdoor experiences. Learning new things, having memories that will last a lifetime, making long lasting friendships and having loads of fun along the way is what it’s all about. And that’s not just for Young People; it’s for the Leaders too!

I look forward to meeting, working and supporting as many of the Leaders in all the Districts’ sections going forward. And If any of you have any ideas, suggestions, best practice from our Region or the wider Scouting Movement or elsewhere on how we can achieve this please feel to email me at simon.cocker@sesscouts.org.uk