District Comissioner Blog – July 2016

Posted on Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Well I got to complete my five years as the DC of the District. I have to say I am really grateful for the fun and joy that the role has given me. It was a wonderful opportunity to shape scouting for 800 people and see the confidence grow in the Leadership teams and the young people.

My key messages throughout the five years has been all about growth and to shout load about our scouting.

We as a district are now 25% larger than we were five years ago and we have a record breaking 800 children and adults now involved in Southampton Scouting. We still have all eleven groups with Beaver Cub and Scout sections throughout, the 14th Highfield are the first group to start to introduce second sections which may bring us back to the heady days when a lot of groups had two sections throughout. Thanks go to Thelma for managing the district “want to join” list and encouraging growth in our beaver colonies.

We shout much louder about what we do, before we only spoke quietly to ourselves!! We now promote our scouting to the wider community. This is done through our group and district websites and facebook. A huge thanks go to Oli Bills and Nico Chart and Previously Tony Kench and Mike Johnson for their work with the district website, it is a good  example for other districts to follow. We should all be very proud of what we as volunteers do for Southampton Scouting and how we support the community and local charities such as Race for Life, Southampton Marathon, and the British Legion Poppy appeal to mention just a few.

My final big District event was our recent District Camp at Broadlands Estate in Romsey. We had a record number of children come to the camp and after some concerns about the venue I feel that the camp was a real success and the feedback I have had since has all been very positive. I hope you all get an opportunity to go back there in the future and experience the party and the spitfire fly over again.

This year we have had a record breaking amount of children gaining the Bronze, Silver and Gold Chief Scout Awards. Over the last five years we had a great number of Explorers and Young Leaders go to Windsor for Queen Scout Presentations and young leader belts. We can be very proud of the quality of our scouting.

We have had many changes in the district team over the last five years, we have a team approach with every section. They being for Beavers a team of Thelma, Eve and Elaine.  More recently Rob and Sarah and Claire supporting the Cubs and now recently Andy, Luke and Andy C supporting the Scouts. With Dave and Iain and Sam supporting Explorers and Young Leaders. You can see from this approach that we in Southampton believe in team being best. You can do more with a team of three than you can with just one ADC trying to do it all. A big thank you to the teams. I suggest that those with the task of appointing my replacement may learn from this approach. Team DC may be a way forward that I would encourage.

I would like to thank the District Executive Officers Veronica, Richard and Rex they have always supported every initiative we have put forward to them. We are very fortunate to have a district Exec that “gets our scouting “and believes in how we need to do the very best for our children.  Thank you to those that have sat at meetings long into the night discussing the executive business. Thank you to Jo Ash who is very busy as our Scouting Ambassador promoting our scouting in the community.

Thanks go to Ian Budd for the work he has done organising our main district events especially District camps and Wye Valley events I hope I get an invite to still come along with you all in the future. Thanks go to Brian Purchase and also Chris Davis who have acted as our District Chaplains, their services are wonderful.

A huge thankyou to Graham Meering who has been a big support to me and greatly helped me for the past five years, his experience and knowledge has been invaluable.

A special thank you to Lyn Westerman and Mike Jackson and the appointments committee for all their support and hard work with the huge task of interviewing and appointing what has been a great number of changes and new appointees over the past five years.

To George and the active support unit for all their support and encouragement for our scouting traditions. It is very important that we remember those that have been before us and we remain grateful to them for what they have given us in our scouting.

As someone who took almost five years to gain my wood badge when I became DC I wanted to greatly improve the approach of leadership training and that led me to appoint Nico as our LTM. He and his training advisers have done a grand job and training is in very good hands in Southampton. Thanks.

Thanks from go to the Canoe Club, Archery Climbing and shooting skills instructors they greatly enhance our scouting adventure.

It gives me great pleasure to see the enthusiasm of our Network section. This is a band of 18 to 25 years old that thoroughly enjoy their scouting. Some great ideas come from Network and they are an ever growing source for good in our district. Whenever I have been down in the dumps with scouting I spend some time with them and they enthuse me to get back up and get going again. Thanks!!

That leads me to tell you what my next scouting adventures will be: I have been appointed as the Assistant County Commissioner for Network scouting in Hampshire. This is a role I am looking forward too as I am a great believer that scouting should be much more led by the younger membership to enable them to fully shape our future scouting and give them the confidence to grow as a person into adulthood. So you may hear of my name in the future with Network.

I am also going to manage the District Campsite at Wilverley with the support of the campsite team. We have recently started to improve the facilities at Wilverley, we also have increased its usage and income and this will enable the campsite revenue to be used for further development and enable the site funds to give district more income to support scouting back at home. So I will be badgering you to help me at Wilverley and I look forward to seeing you all there in the future making great use of your site. Thank you to the service team and those who have supported us at maintenance days.

Huge thanks go to Hampshire Scouting and the Scout Association who have led me and supported me whilst in post and especially to my fellow DC’s in Itchen North and South for the support they have given me and our new collaborative approach.

Finally, I would like to thank all group scout leaders and group executive members and all the leaders, section assistants, and young leaders who are working hard every week to deliver a great scouting adventure and programme. You can all be very proud of Southampton Scouting.

Last of all big well done and thanks to all the beavers, cubs, scouts, explorers and young leaders, thank you, scouting is a wonderful organisation and you are what really makes it great.

I won’t be going very far and if I can help you don’t hesitate to contact me, Good Luck Southampton City Scouting and thank you to you all.,