I was delighted to see the announcements of new UK Youth Commissioners in Scouting. Hannah Kentish, a 21 year old will take the helm as Youth Commissioner and will be (I’m sure) ably assisted by Deputy Youth Commissioners Jagz and Jay.
Hannah said: “I think Scouting can be summed up in one word- opportunity. Scouting provides over 450,000 young people across the UK with the opportunity for everyday adventure, and even if they don’t know it yet, it will change their lives forever.
“It certainly changed mine; giving me confidence I never knew I had. Over the next three years I look forward to working to give even more young Scouts, from a wider range of backgrounds, the opportunity to be heard and, ultimately, to experience Scouting to the fullest.”
You can see a video introducing them here:
Giving youth a voice has always been a key part of Scouting and in particular our vision towards 2018 demonstrates our aim towards giving young people more of a say in how Scouting is run. By 2018, we want 80% of young people to be able to say they shape Scouting, feel listened to and are taken seriously. The UK Youth Commissioner will play an essential part in helping us to achieve this.
Which brings me to an interesting question about our Young Leader programme.
Why is the Young Leader programme solely aimed at helping our young people become section leaders?
As ESL (YL) for Norfolk District, Sheffield, I understand very well that the Young Leader scheme serves an excellent dual purpose- developing Young People’s skills whilst simultaneously creating a legacy in the next bracket of Adult Leaders. I acknowledge that a lack of section leaders is a pressing concern and in terms of benefit to a YL, being a section leader provides an excellent base in lots of general skills- communication, patience, leadership, practical skills and planning skills. But I can’t help feel that we are wasting opportunities to utilise the skills of our young people better whilst also creating a pool of people for adult positions which require very specific talents? We need a mix of both broad and deep talents.
Off the top of my head, using and developing skills under a Scouting mentor with a similar background could give us Young Leader (Web), Young Leader (Media), Young Leader (Administrator), Young Leader (Development), Young Leader (Events)… the list goes on and is as wide as the list of adult roles we offer.
Section leaders are a vital cog in the machine that lets Scouting run. I’ve already spoken in previous blogs about how much I believe in our volunteers. But if our Young Leaders are our next generation of Scouters, let’s invest in all of them now.