February was a very sad month for South East Scotland Scouts as we came to terms with the death of Margery Naylor, Regional Commissioner from 2017 to 2020. Like many across the Region I was incredibly saddened to hear of Margery’s death. Having served as her deputy during most of her term as RC I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work closely with her and see first hand the dedication and enthusiasm that she brought to the role.
As we reflect on the challenging times that we have just come through with COVID, the fact that the Region has come through it so strongly reflects the strong foundations that Margery put in place for the Region, not least creating the Scouting Support Officer role which has provided crucial support to many Groups and Districts across South East Scotland. The impact that she had was also clear from the many messages which appeared across our social media channels and by the many members, both young people and adult volunteers who joined the Guard of Honour at her memorial service.
Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Margery’s husband John and her family and friends at this difficult time and we will be looking at how we can pay tribute to Margery’s Scouting legacy in the month’s ahead.
The strong foundation Margery laid was clear in the 2022 Census which took place at the start of the year and from which we have some initial data. This shows that we have number of young people is starting to recover after COVID with all districts registering an increase in young people compared to the 2021 Census and whilst are not yet back at the record number of young people we registered in 2020, this shows that we are well on the path to recovery. My thanks to all those who worked hard to complete the census, allowing us to submit the Region’s return on time again this year. The Regional leadership team will be reviewing the detailed data when available to identify key trends that will feed into our planning for 2022 and beyond.
March is Women’s History month and 8th March is International Women’s Day. We have had a number of strong female role models in Scouting within the Region – I am actually the first male Regional Commissioner the Region has had – but as we mark the passing of one strong female leader within Scouting we also want to make sure the next generation of women and girls have the opportunity to follow in Margery’s footsteps. The recent census showed that the gender balance amongst our young people has improved slightly, but as Eilidh, one of our adult volunteers highlights girls remain in the minority. As part of our inclusion strategy we will be looking at whether there are any barriers which prevent young women getting involved in Scouting and, if so, how we can remove them but we want your ideas too. If you have an idea you would like to try for improving inclusion, including gender inclusion, look out for more details next month on how you can access funding to make your idea a reality!
As we mourn Margery, the best way that we can honour her is to continue the great work that she did to strengthen and grow Scouting in South East Scotland. Whether as a leader, trustee, manager, supporter or young person, however we contribute to Scouting in the Region we all play a part in helping our members to develop Skills for Life!
Yours in Scouting