Margery Naylor, our Regional Commissioner for the last three years recently resigned due to ill-health. Here we highlight her achievements over this period with contributions from a number of members who worked closely with Margery in this role and in her role as Cub Leader for the 82nd Craigalmond Cubs. Before becoming RC, Margery was the Regional Safeguarding Awareness Coordinator for 5 years and the ARC Adult Training for 2 years.
In her time as Regional Commissioner, Margery worked hard to be approachable at all times in order to develop a positive culture. She has a leader and supporter-centric focus, whilst stressing that Scouting was all about assisting over 7,400 young people to have fun and adventure.
One of the most visible signs of Margery’s success during her term as RC is the strength of the Regional Leadership Team which she has built up. Margery was adept at appointing, motivating, leading, and managing an effective leadership team of volunteers to support the Region, including an impressive group of seven District Commissioners, as well as a full and still growing team of hard-working Assistant Regional Commissioners and Regional Advisers.
Margery instigated a Bonaly Business Planning Group in 2019, working with the group members to improve activities and reduce costs. Latterly, Margery led on the formation of the Bonaly Review Group, which has now streamlined the functioning of the centre. She also led on the decision taken by the Regional Executive Committee (REC) to reverse the decision to close the Longcraig Scout Centre and on its recent decision to improve the showers and toilets.
Margery recognised the importance of effective communication to make sure that all members of the Region were kept informed of what was happening. For many months, Margery personally produced the Regional Newsletter before setting up the Regional Communications Working Group which has been very successful, improving further still our Regional messages, newsletters, social media and website.
Margery is passionate about the importance of Scouting awards as a way to recognise and thank our leaders and volunteers. As a result, we significantly improved the numbers of awards achieved with twenty awards at the Regional level, and a total of 106 across the Region in the last year. Moreover, 935 Top Awards were achieved by young people last year.
In line with her overall vision of Scouting in the Region, Margery worked hard to ensure that the REC has been able to focus in a positive and a collaborative way on its key role of underpinning grass roots Scouting activities, or as Margery likes to call it the “Game of Scouting”. She recruited John Cannon as Regional Chair, and Bruce Macdonald as Regional Treasurer, and many more members of the REC, which strengthened it enormously.
She has represented the uniformed volunteers strongly on the REC, ensuring that it invested Regional resources to support young people and our adult volunteers, including funding for the Longcraig Scout Centre and the recruitment of a Scouting Support Officer to support adult volunteers in the work that they are doing. She also led the development of the Regional Strategy 2018-23, setting out a clear direction of travel. Much has been achieved including in the last year, more leaders (up by 7%), more Young Leaders (up by 6%), and over 75% of Groups having Group Scout Leaders.
Throughout her time as RC, Margery wanted to make sure that all members, young people and adult volunteers, were able to get the most out of their Scouting experience, so she worked hard to ensure that the Region was run effectively, and that Scouting developed in line with the rules and policies of The Scouts. She kept on top of the ‘grunt work’ including lots of admin, as well as dealing with complaints, and ensured that challenges within the Region were resolved so that excellent and safe Scouting was being provided to young people. A great example was the Regional Model Risk Assessment for restarting Scouting that Margery produced, which has made the process of restarting much simpler and easier for leaders.
She has always taken great pride in the many successes of South East Scotland Region and made sure that these were recognised whenever she represented the Region, for example with the Chief Commissioner, the Scouts Scotland Commissioners’ Team, the Head of Scouting Operations, and other members of the Senior Leadership Team at SHQ, as well as promoting Scouts to the wider world.
We have received a number of messages from various members including those who were close to her during the 18 years she served as cub leader at the 82nd Craigalmond Group and members of REC and SHQ. We wish Margery well and a speedy recovery and we look forward to perhaps seeing her back in Scouting in some capacity in the future.
John Cannon, Regional Chair, South East Scotland Region
I was asked by Margery to become Chair nearly three years ago having not really known her before. Our paths hadn’t really crossed. Interestingly though her husband John was the new GSL of the 82nd when I was DC of Inverleith District, so I did know the family!
Having been convinced by Margery it was a good idea to take the role on for a year 🙂 I soon discovered Margery had quite a plan and an incredible knack of getting people involved to help make it happen! She was often heard to say, “it’s not a problem – leave it with me, I’ll find someone!”
Margery was the master of the email and like many others was amazed by her capacity to send emails well before I was out my bed in the morning! I think that was her way of helping us reprioritise our daily to do lists! Many a morning I was crafting responses on the bus into work! Margery was also often quickest to the keyboard after meetings to summarise the actions just in case we forgot who agreed to what! Margery also preferred using her home phone rather than mobile and I think I know why. Rather than take calls randomly, if you did call her without warning, her husband John was always on hand to answer and check if she was expecting a call from you! Nice bit of PA screening!
Margery’s drive and enthusiasm has certainly been a significant factor in the progress made across the Region these past 3 years and I’d like to thank her for taking such a strong lead. There is a very capable team now ready and willing to pick up in her absence and hope it won’t be too long before we see her out and about again in the Region.
Graeme Robertson, Vice Chair, South East Scotland Region
As well as serving on the Regional Executive Committee and the Regional Chair’s Committee with Margery, I had the privilege and pleasure of being her Training Adviser for the Managers & Supporters training scheme, to support her in achieving her Wood Badge as Regional Commissioner. This gave me a ringside seat to witness the many challenges faced by Margery in her role, and I never ceased to be amazed by her capacity for spinning so many plates, and not letting any of them crash to the floor. I’ve lost count of the number of times Margery’s husband John popped his head round the door to offer us a refill of coffee, when our TA meeting had overrun (again!).
Margery also has an amazing capacity for something I’ve never mastered myself – the “pre-breakfast email”; on many occasions I’ve settled down to my morning coffee to find I already have 5 or 6 emails from Margery in my inbox – even though I’d last seen her leaving a meeting at 10pm the previous evening! I’ve not done a thorough audit, but the earliest I could find readily was a budget email sent at 05:54!
I’d like to wish Margery every best wish in the coming weeks / months, and very much look forward to seeing her back in uniform soon – who knows, perhaps even before we return to Green status! And for those of you itching to hear about the time when Margery had to ask the newsagent to fetch her copies of Zoo and Nuts from the top shelf, as she couldn’t reach them, you’ll have to buy me a pint when the Coronacrisis is over!
Gillian Caldwell, Depute Chief Commissioner (People), Scouts Scotland
I would like to thank Margery for everything she has achieved as SAC, ARC(AT) and most recently RC in South East Region. She has given superb service and, never one to resist a challenge, has embraced each of these major roles with enthusiasm and determination. My congratulations to her on everything she has achieved.
Graham Cullen, GSL, 82nd Craigalmond (Cramond)
I have had the pleasure of working alongside Margery for 20 years and throughout all that time, she has been dedicated to Scouting at the 82nd and more recently across the Region. Wonderful with the youngsters as a Cub Leader for nearly 18 years and a true team player, she was always available to offer sound advice and guidance to fellow leaders across the Group and District. She has been at heart of making Scouting in Cramond such a success over the past two decades, in a community she is passionate about, and has worked tirelessly for in several roles. I am truly grateful for the personal support and encouragement I have received from Margery throughout the years and wish her all the very best for the future.
Sarah Gordon, fellow Cub Leader at 82nd Craigalmond (Cramond)
Margery and I were leaders of the 82nd Friday night Cub pack for more than 17 years (18 in Margery’s case) and during that time I can honestly say that I looked forward to every planning meeting, every Friday night and especially every Cub Camp we did.
I remember at one camp we had been double booked and had to move out of the accommodation, her answer to this was “we will make the best of this so that the Cubs don’t miss out” and of course we did.
Margery is the epitome of a Scouter, leading in a quiet selfless way, always putting others (and in particular the Cubs), before herself, she has been an amazing Regional Commissioner, a fabulous Cub Leader and is, and always will be to me, a true friend.