Another year over, a new one just begun….

24 Dec

Another year over, a new one just begun….

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So this is Christmas

And what have you done?

Another year over

And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas

I hope you had fun

The near and the dear ones

The old and the young

Not a day goes by when I am not reminded you have done, for the old and the young, what we have done together, for the near and the dear ones, I hope you had fun¸ because I’ve had a blast. This year for Scouting in Solihull has been another one for the record books; more new sections opening up welcoming our newest and youngest members, our largest ever county camp and handfuls of top awards for both our young people and our outstanding leaders and supporters. The conversations I’ve had with you, the photos you’ve shared, the camps you’ve delivered, the trips and experiences you’ve organised and the weekly meetings you continue to put together are so inspirational to so many people including our young people, they are so lucky to have you in their lives, thank you.  

I have now been in the role for 8 months, I had every intention of posting more frequent blog posts and sharing what I’m up to but little did I know what a chaotic year it was going to be for me professionally and in Scouting. Our County Leadership Team and Trustees have been an incredible support for me and I am so grateful for their time and dedication they give every single day. We have some really exciting things in the pipeline for 2023 that we’ve been working very hard on in the background which we’ll share with you next month!

There have been 3 major highlights for me in the last few months starting with our Chief Scouts Award presentations for our Beavers and Cubs. Most of these have been awarded to our members following their commitment to their sections during various lockdowns and a tough couple of years, these awards are testament to the dedication of the young people, the leaders and their families, celebrating these awards was great and I am really looking forward to bringing the Scouts together early next year for their celebrations. Next up, I was invited to visit the Squirrels at Chelmsley Wood… I’m not sure if there was more PVA Glue on my hands or on their autumnal decorations, but what a great way to spend an evening chatting with them and their leaders, seeing how best we can support other new sections in 2023! My highlight of the year is Discovery 2022, which for me was the end of a 2.5 year project. Standing on that stage at the end of the event with over 1200 young people looking back at me really brought it home that we had built something incredible and provided an entire weekend for everyone in Solihull to celebrate Scouting. I spoke with so many young people at the camp and the underlying message from every section is how much they enjoy their weekly meetings, never underestimate the impact that you have on these young people. 

There are so many things to be excited for in 2023… 18 young people and 9 adults will be heading to South Korea for the 25 World Scout Jamboree in July (me included) and their fundraising and team building efforts will continue all year, please do support them if you can and see what they can offer your sections, there will be many opportunities for our members to participant in the Jamboree without being in South Korea, so look out for that! I have got so many adult awards to present to some incredible people, people who have supported me since I first joined the movement as a Beaver Scout, this will be so special. Anyone can nominate anyone for an award and I really encourage you to do so (info here), we all volunteer for our own reasons, if you’d like to recognise the time and effort someone dedicates to any role in Scouting, please check out our awards. We are also entering a period of transformation as Scouts all over the UK, you may or may not have heard about some of those changes already but I ask you not to speculate or spread rumours about what you may have seen online or on social media. Change and transformation is different for everyone all over the country and we have a plan locally on how we manage that to make sure that every leader, supporter and manager gets all the help they need… we’ll provide you with some more information at our All Leaders Meeting on 29th January, I do hope you can attend! 

What ever you are doing in the last week of the year, please join me in lighting a candle and sharing a thought for the families involved with the recent tragedy at Babbs Mill Lake in Kingshurst. Although the young people involved were not members of Scouting, their friends and schoolmates are members of Scout groups at Chelmsley Wood and Kingshurst and are coming to terms with what has happened. There is no doubt that our members across the whole county will be shocked and saddened to see what has happened, while it is important to remind them of the dangers involved, please also consider discussions and activities that look at looking out for each other, both physically and emotionally, and how we can empathise with each other during difficult times. Young People will have been reminded of the dangers of nature both at school and at home, Scouting is a place where they come for break and a rest, so hopefully we can continue to offer that support to everyone. 

As we kick off 2023, I have much more time to come and see you and catch up with you to see what’s going on around Solihull, all of my availability is on our county website (link here) and I’d love to come to any section meetings, camps or youth forums to make sure everything we’re doing is shaped by our members and that we continue to offer Skills for Life that benefit every young person across the County.
Thank you for everything you do and everything you’re going to do. You are an inspiration to me, an inspiration to your young people and I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!