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Chief Commissioner's Blog | The essence of Scouting in 24 hours

My weekend included a trustee board meeting at Baden-Powell house, fun and adventure with 4,200 teenagers at Gilwell24 and a visit to the 1st Hardingstone Scouts in Northamptonshire to open their renovated headquarters…

Down to business

The trustee board meeting, the last of the current Scouting year, ahead of the AGM in September, included an overview of the year from CEO, Matt Hyde and myself, plus an update on Compass, safeguarding developments and an insight into the launch of A Million Hands, our exciting community impact initiative of which you will learn more very shortly.

The meeting also included a review of the financial statements to 31 March this year and agreement of the membership fee for the year 2016/17.

More than just sandcastles

It is hard to imagine that when it first started 10 years ago, Gilwell 24 had 450 participants.  This year more than 4,200 teenagers gathered at Gilwell Park for 24 hours of non-stop fun and adventure with more than 200 activities for them to get involved in.

The event is largely organised by a volunteer team supported by the great team at Gilwell Park Activity Centre and the National Centre’s office. It is also an opportunity for leaders to gather and socialise as well as participating in a number of workshops and other sessions arranged specifically for them. 

For me, it was a chance to enjoy some of the fun, survive a sandcastle building competition with our UK Youth Commissioner, Hannah Kentish, and chat to leaders about all things Scouting.

Where it really happens

It was equally as exciting for me to visit the 1st Hardingstone Scout Group in Northamptonshire on Sunday morning, which was primarily to open their renovated headquarters. It is good to remind ourselves that Scouting is about so much more than buildings, as crucial as they are to what we do. It was nice to be able to present some Chief Scout Awards as well as recognising the service given by the Group leaders who helped to ensure the continuation of Scouting whilst the building was being repaired from its previously condemned position.

It was great too that members of the wider community had rallied round the Group who, in addition to problems with the building, have had to deal with a sensitive issue at the same time.

It struck me that 1st Hardingstone are like so many Scout Groups across the UK, where Scouting really happens and young people’s lives are truly changed, whilst a number of day-to-day obstacles and challenges are overcome.

It was fantastic to have a little time to talk to members of the local community, parents and young people themselves to understand just how important and what a rallying point for the local community the Scout Group has become.   

All in all a tremendous reminder of what Scouting is really about.




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