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Celebrations and social media

Wayne’s week included a meet of the Risk committee, several Founders Day celebrations and the best and worst that social media can offer.

Managing our risks

Although I've talked previously about the development of our Culture of Safety, this is of course only one element of risk management within the Movement and so I took the opportunity to join members of the Board's Risk committee.

As well as overseeing the Association's own risk management, the Committee is also tasked with supporting risk management within the wider Movement. Committee members include an excellent mix of experienced volunteers; our professional staff support this area and two external professionals also volunteer their time for this work. 

Building on from what we learnt rolling out the Culture of Safety work, the committee considered a number of actions, in particular, engagement with committee chairs and other officers at a local level. Look out for further support and communication in this area in due course.

Founders Day celebrations

On Friday evening, with the Chief Guide and other members of Girl Guiding UK, we again joined the Dean and congregation of Westminster Abbey to celebrate the birthdays of our founders.

I was delighted to be joined by members of two of the thriving Explorer Units of Stanmore District, Greater London Middlesex West, Alpine and Sher, along with two members of their Scout Network (pictured) for Evensong and the short service of remembrance. This was followed by laying wreaths at the memorials of Robert and Olave Baden-Powell. 

On Sunday, Julie and I were delighted to join members of 'the other Island' (Jersey Scouts) for their annual Founders Day gathering.

Social media: the good and the bad

We saw some of the many benefits of effective use of social media through twitter and Facebook on 22 February, entitled #myscouthero, where members were encouraged to Tweet or post messages highlighting their own Scouting heroes. I saw very many great comments reflecting people's experience; about individuals who had provided excellent Scouting opportunities for them in their early years.

For me this was an excellent example of just how social media can be used to show what we offer to a wider group of people.

Of course social media brings with it other challenges. Over the past few weeks, I have seen a couple of disputes involving the use of social media and where the line between use for Scouting and/or personal use has become blurred. This resulted in comments being posted that some people found offensive, even when such comments are not directed at them.

There have also been a number of comments on Escouts and elsewhere regarding a need for better advice, whether it is around general use of social media or the relationship between members under the age of 18 and their leaders when platforms such as Facebook are the common or desired methods of communication. For me, ‘common sense’ would result in many of these disputes being avoided a lot of the time.  However, I am realistic enough to appreciate that such a definition is near on impossible as what one person finds offensive and another might find to be perfectly normal.

Finding the balance

We have formally picked this up and are presently reviewing our advice and support in this area with some updates to be posted very shortly.  In the meantime, however, I wonder if there isn’t a simple solution that when posting comments online, or indeed elsewhere, one uses the 'grandmother test', that is to say, would you make the comments you are committing to social media in front of your grandmother? Something to ponder perhaps whilst we seek that ever elusive definition of 'common sense'.