Five years went so quickly
I’m coming to the end of my five years as UK Chief Commissioner. It’s been a privilege and an honour to hold this role, though at times it’s been a bit scary too.
There are exciting times ahead as Carl Hankinson takes on the role of UK Chief Commissioner with huge energy and vision. Together with his UK Leadership Team, he’ll lead our movement as Scouts recovers from the pandemic and continues to create fabulous adventures for young people.
As many people do when it’s time to move on, I’ve been reflecting on my experiences. There are some key points that I think are important and that I’ll carry with me into the future.
We do better as part of a team. I understand that I don’t know all the answers – and that there are some things that I’m just not good at! That’s where the team is really important.
I’ve enjoyed the outstanding support of my Team UK colleagues, in particular, Graeme and Kester (Deputy UK Chief Commissioners), who are also stepping down in September. They’ve been unwavering in their focus on how we help the movement and have kept me on track, gently (but firmly) pointing out when I might be doing something silly.
Staff and volunteers work so well together. We’re lucky to have such brilliant staff who, just like the volunteers, serve our movement. We each bring strengths to Scouts.
Lots of the staff’s work isn’t noticed, but without the close working of staff and volunteers, Scouts simply wouldn’t be able to run. I’ve been bolstered and supported by many staff members as we’ve tackled some difficult challenges together. Scouts’ staff have my gratitude and my deep respect.
You can’t please everyone. There are always decisions to be made, and as everyone knows, it’s not always easy to make them. With a movement of our size, there will always be different views.
My sense is that sometimes we could express our differences of opinion in a gentler way. I’ve had some very strongly worded messages over the past five years that seem to lose sight of the fact that we’re all human beings trying our best. It makes me even more determined that we should live by our Promise and our Scout values.
The most difficult circumstances can bring out the best in people. I couldn’t reflect on my time at Scouts without mentioning the pandemic. Everyone in Scouts has faced some astonishing challenges over the past 18 months – young people and adults alike. My heart soars when I think about the way we changed from face-to-face meetings to online sessions within a week.
It was a big challenge. We all had to dig deep to find strength and ideas that worked. And our Scouts family did just that in spades! I joined hundreds of section meetings, AGMs, and award ceremonies and witnessed fantastic work.
My deepest thanks to everyone in our great movement, whatever you do. For us adults, being part of Scouts is a great privilege, for young people it is a right – a right that we must fight and stand up for. We need to be prepared to adapt what we do so that Scouts remains relevant for years to come.
There are changes ahead of us, and I’m sure that Carl and his UK Leadership Team are well placed to lead us through.
Enjoy your Scouting!
With best wishes,