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Chief Commissioner's Blog | Food for thought

BLOG 18.02.16

This week, Wayne examines the importance of ensuring Scouting is inclusive - in a slightly unorthodox way!

Lessons with Lemons!

To an observer, a small number of people sat in a circle holding a lemon and explaining, to each other, something about their lemon (how it feels, what it’s been up to and what its hopes are, to name a few) may seem like a rather bizarre way to explore the challenging subject of diversity and inclusion.

I might well have been one of those sceptical observers, had it not been for the opportunity to sit in on a session at the recent YouShape conference helping young adults explore how we ensure that Scouting truly reflects our local communities, and, indeed, that young people themselves have a better understanding of what it may feel like to be 'in a minority' or 'feel different'.

Learning by doing

The game with lemons continues as one of the lemons is replaced with a different piece of fruit.  The discussion of feelings and anxieties along with hopes continues.  It quietly dawned on me in one of those 'lightbulb moments' as we were having this discussion that we were naturally beginning to explore what it might feel like for somebody who 'felt different'.

Whilst games alone...

Of course, games alone will not make Scouting, or indeed our local communities, a better place. However, as the very ethos of Scouting is about 'learning by doing' it is clear to me that such practical activities would be as helpful to adults as it would  be to young people.

Our vision to represent our local communities, as I have noted before, is perhaps one of our most challenging in a number of practical ways and not least because of the challenges wider society are experiencing.  I am however convinced that the better understanding we have, the easier it will be to help other people understand that in order for us to be inclusive, we will need to treat some people a little differently to give them the same opportunities as everyone else.

Not just for young people

Food for thought, in more ways than one, perhaps as you give thought to your next leaders meeting.  For practical support on how to support discussion and development of local initiatives in this area please do take a look at our website, or get in contact with the inclusion team.



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