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Chief Commissioner's Blog | We must be mad!

Your colleagues might think you're mad, but you're playing a vital role in providing life-changing opportunities for young people.

Treasured roles

‘You must be mad’ is the reaction you usually get from colleagues if you explain what being an IST (International Service Team) member entails – you are giving up two weeks+ annual leave, possibly unpaid, and paying over £2,000 for the privilege of helping to run a camp for 35,000 people where you could up cleaning toilets or starting work in the kitchens at 3.00am, amongst other treasured roles!

Alternatively, you might say that you are playing a vital role in providing a truly life changing opportunity for 30,000 young people from around the world for a global  event like no other.

Similar stories can be shared by Unit Leaders and other support roles and, on smaller scales but nonetheless of great impact, those that take their sections away regularly and on annual camps.

Such an amazing buzz

Judging from the great buzz around Gilwell this weekend where 1,000 of the 1,300 IST/JPT and Unit Leaders gathered they are going to have an amazing time themselves too and it was very enjoyable being able to spend time with them on Saturday to say ‘thank you’.

Get In 2015

I spent Saturday morning with 4,500 young people from Warwickshire who had gathered in the impressive grounds of Ragley Hall for ‘Get In 2015’, their County camp, where over 200 activities were available and everybody was having an equally amazing time.


30 youth representatives from Merseyside and Cheshire counties also spent the weekend at Gilwell for their ‘Youth Engagement on Tour’ weekend.  Along with some other members from HQ, I joined them on Sunday for a series of 3 workshops on Vision 2018, Community Impact and the roles and services of HQ.  All with a focus on what this means for them as young people, the impact they can have and the partnerships.

Always impressed

Discussions in my groups ranged from the suggestions of ‘apprenticeships’ for management roles e.g. GSLs and DCs; the challenges caused by leaders who won’t let go, getting units and Groups in Districts to work together and much more. Both counties are at the leading edge of our youth engagement work and I’m always greatly impressed when I participate in discussions with them and this weekend was no exception.




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