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Chief Commissioner's Blog | A winning formula

A brilliant example of a movement shaped by young people in partnership with adults…


Saturday saw YouShape take place. This was a gathering of 120 young adults aged 14-25 from across the United Kingdom who met to look at the role of young people in Scouting. One of the leading issues discussed was what a national youth council may look like.

It was the first time that we successfully live-streamed a Scout Association event, with the afternoon sessions at YouShape being shared with the wider membership, which included a question and answer session – successfully integrating social media interaction with those in the room.

I’m sure that all who experienced the event both online and at home would agree that it was a well organised and exceptionally inspiring event organised by young people, for young people.

Getting the balance right

Interestingly, some of the topics that arose from the discussions included the roles that young people should play in adult training modules, to help everybody understand some of the issues around Youth-Shaped Scouting.  Other topics discussed included communications (of a traditional nature) as well as intergenerational differences and the immense value placed by young people on effective mentoring and support in their roles.

Everybody acknowledges that the biggest challenge we face is a necessary compromise in the ‘balance of power’ within our Movement. As I have explained before, nobody should confuse the partnership element of being youth shaped with a right of veto by adults.

For me, this is best amplified in a small element of the organising of YouShape. Traditionally, when organising national Scout events of this nature, we would ensure that there was a representative nominated locally from each County/Area/Region.

There are naturally advantages and disadvantages to this approach. Hannah and her team were particularly keen to ensure that everybody who felt that they could contribute should have that opportunity and so operated a largely first come, first served approach to attendees. 

It is fair to say that I offered some advice against this and how it might be interpreted locally, but Hannah was confident that the advantages would outweigh the disadvantages. 

Hugely successful

I would be the first to say that this element of the selection was just one of the hugely successful factors of the day. Everyone I met and spoke with – without exception – was clearly able to contribute and have a view on what youth-shaped Scouting should look like.  A few of them commented on how surprised they were to have been invited, as they ‘never get an opportunity like this normally’.

This is just one example of how, by working in partnership and compromising a little, we can achieve even better outcomes.

Incidentally, those of you asking about the live streaming should know that this was achieved using a 4G dongle at a cost of less than £3,000.  Given that we have been previously unable to broadcast from the AGM at Baden-Powell House for example, this for me was yet another example of the benefits of being youth shaped in partnership with adults.




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