Dear Scouting Community,
At the Chief Commissioner’s Council on 17 – 18 March 2017, I had the pleasure of introducing the five newly appointed Deputy Chief Commissioners (DCCs) and the Youth Commissioner to those attending the weekend meeting.
I am delighted to also introduce our new DCCs and Youth Commissioner to you. I am certain that you will be seeing more of their faces around the State over the coming months.
The DCC team started work on their portfolios immediately, and they are swiftly demonstrating that we all belong to One State, One Team – a United Team.
Yours in Scouting,
Neville Tomkins OAM JP
Scouts Australia (NSW Branch)
DCC (Growth, Strategies and Group Support)
I was a bit of a tomboy and, in my youth, an excellent asset to any team in a dirt-clod fight. I was never a Scout but after being part of Scouting, I wish that was an option for me when I was growing up in the 1970s.
My introduction to Scouting began in 2006 when my husband volunteered me as the Public Relations Officer for our local Group, where our sons were new members. A few months later I was asked to consider taking on the position of Group Leader. I held this position for six years until I transferred to the position of Assistant Scout Leader.
I took part in my first Australian Jamboree in 2010 as a member of the NSW Contingent Media team. I enjoyed the experience so much, in 2013 I attended my second Jamboree but this time as the NSW Contingent Director of Media and Promotions.
The time I spent in 2011 and 2012 travelling around the state and promoting the Jamboree was a wonderful experience and allowed me to see the depth and commitment in both our Adult and Youth membership across the Regions. Following AJ2013 I moved to the position of Assistant Regional Commissioner (Scouts) in Greater Western Sydney. Compared to many other Leaders, my length of time in Scouting may seem brief however I make up for that with the enthusiasm I have for working with Leaders and Youth to help Scouting grow and succeed in NSW.
I am a country girl at heart – and always will be – being born and raised in Murwillumbah on the far north coast of NSW. I moved to Sydney in 1987 after meeting my husband, James, on a cruise ship. Not only am I fortunate to marry the best man I know; we have two wonderful sons – Callum and Darcy. While one of our sons no longer lives at home, the other has informed us that he will live with us until he is 45 years old so we feel very ... er ... lucky.
My professional experience has included positions focused on Australia, Asia Pacific and globally, in financial services, technology services, and now in the higher education sector. While my background is mostly in marketing and communications, I am currently employed at the University of Sydney in the role of Organisational Engagement Specialist which allows me to enjoy an interesting mix of organisational and cultural change, corporate communications, branding, event management, script writing, coaching and mentoring. My hobbies include fishing, craft and baking. I am also proud to say I am a cat person.
I am energized by seeing others succeed, and I believe that we have two ears and only one mouth to allow us to listen. I commit to listening to our community so that I can help with the future growth and success of Scouts in NSW.
DCC (Youth Program)
Born in New Zealand and immigrating to Australia January 1999, my wife Robyn and I have lived on the North Shore with our son Aaron ever since.
We own our own technology business focusing on application software and services to our clients across five Australian States focusing on Financial Lending and Funeral Systems software. Aaron is in his 4th year at University doing an Honours Degree in Interior Architecture.
Previously he has been a Cub, Scout, Venturer and a young Leader. Between us we have five other children who live back in New Zealand and Samoa...looking after our Grandchildren.
Photography and trains are my pastimes and interest areas, when I get the chance! Holidaying and staying somewhere nice is our special time which Robyn and I look forward to each year.
My own Scouting journey includes Cubs and Scouts as a youth member and Scout Leader in New Zealand, a Scout Leader, District Scout Leader, District Commissioner, Region Commissioner (Scouts), Deputy Region Commissioner and most recently State Commissioner – Scouts.
Attending ten Jamborees - two New Zealand, six Australian, two International, five Cuborees, many State Rallies and ScoutHikes have been a massive buzz for me along with the numerous other special events and opportunities. During this journey I have met many wonderfully passionate, dedicated Leaders, and an ever increasing number of Youth Members who have had their lives energized through their own Scouting achievements.
The opportunity ahead is exciting! We are at the crossroads in Scouting as we are facing a lot of competition from other organisations and pastimes. Over recent years we have seen a new approach, really a rebuild, to address the challenges of attracting new Youth, retaining existing Youth and positively helping them once they have joined the Movement to get the most out of Scouting.
I am looking forward to continuing to be part of this exciting organization as the future continues to develop.
I started my Scouting Career as a Cub at 1st Kirrawee Cub Pack, and then moved quickly onto 2nd Sutherland (Armco) Scout Group where I was a Scout and am currently the Scout Leader. I transferred to 1st Caringbah Venturers and achieved my Queen’s Scout Award in 2013 and then continued on to my current position as a Rover with 1st Caringbah Rover Crew. As well as being a Scout Leader, I am the Adviser to the State Youth Council (SYC).
Most recently, I ran the highly successful Super Saturday at AJ2016 and attended the 1st Australian Contingent to Kandersteg International Scout Centre.
I am now planning to take my Youth Members back in 2018 to experience a wonderful international adventure BP set up for us. Since being involved in Stage 3 of the Youth Program Review (YPR), I have taken aspects of the YPR back to my Group and District.
Scouting taught me the foundations to life. It has given me ability to think clearly and practically when approaching any situation as well as the ability to be organised. These skills have given me the capacity to share and showcase “Learning by doing” to Scouts across the State through the SYC. These skills matter to our youth members and help them become responsible citizens as members of their local, national and international communities.
In between Scouting I work as a Program Manager in the Customer Experience Team for Woolworths. I also plan to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Business and go onto complete an MBA.
I believe the Youth Commissioner needs to be a touch-point for all decisions made in Scouts NSW, to ensure that the voice of our Youth Members is heard. So you will see me out and about in your Regions!
DCC (Youth Safety, Support and Compliance)
Unlike some, I discovered Scouting relatively late in life, initially as a committee member when my son joined 1st North Turramurra Cubs. By the time he wanted to go up to Scouts there was no leader and only eight Scouts, so in conjunction with a mother whose family have become some of our closest friends, I agreed to commence training as a Leader. That was 25 years ago – how time flies!
Five years later, when the Troop had grown to 32 and another leader had volunteered to assist, I transferred to a District role, originally helping with Adult Training and Development, before taking on the role of District Commissioner for Ku-Ring-Gai.
After four years supporting 16 groups, I was privileged to spend some great time with one of my best mates Rohan Reynolds helping the Scout Section in Sydney North Region. During this period I gained Flying Fox qualifications (a very popular activity at the Ku-Ring-Gai Fair), and was heavily involved with ScoutHike. Along the way, I earned Wood Badges both in Scouts and Leader of Adults and attended my first four Jamborees: in Perth, Springfield, Cataract and Woodhouse in the Adelaide Hills.
In 2004 I took up a position as Assistant Branch Commissioner Member Support working closely with Dr Warwick Bateman. I have held positions on the Scoutsafe Committee and Audit and Risk Committee, as well as retaining links with my local Group (as Chair and Deputy Chair and sometime assistant Joey Scout Leader).
When Warwick retired in 2010, I was appointed as Assistant Chief Commissioner (Issues Management) which was redesignated as Deputy Chief Commissioner in 2015 when the position took on additional responsibilities in response to the Royal Commission.
During this whole period I have been selflessly supported by my lovely wife Julie who in 2010 when our local group was in need, took up the challenge by commencing her training and establishing a Joey Mob.
In my paid employment I have worked as a solicitor for more than 35 years, the last ten with the NSW Police Force. I am an accredited specialist in Personal Injury Law and currently manage the Insurance Law Team, although for eight years I managed the Employment Law Team where I gained extensive knowledge of Administrative Law and, in particular, Privacy, Discrimination and Disciplinary law and processes. I have completed mediation training and have postgraduate qualifications in Governance.
I am thrilled to be involved with Scouting in this watershed moment when we have a great opportunity both to refresh and revive our movement. I believe that we will not go far wrong if we look to the words of our founder:
“Hold the Patrol Leader responsible for everything good or bad that occurs in his Patrol. They must put responsibility on him, let him do his job, and if he makes mistakes let him do so, and show him afterwards where he went wrong – in this way only can he learn. Half the value of our training is to be got by putting responsibility on young shoulders”.
Apparently a Youth leading, Adult supporting Movement is not such a novel concept after all!
DCC (Program Transformation)
I became a member of the Movement in 2001 and throughout the last 16 years I have held many leadership roles from Patrol Leader at my Scout Troop on the Tilligerry Peninsula in Port Stephens, through to the 2015/2016 Branch Rover Council Chair.
My current appointments include being an Assessor on the National Training Team, a State Adventurous Activities Guide and an Assistant Scout Leader at Peats Ridge on the Central Coast. I really enjoy seeing my Scouts achieve goals and work as a team as I did in my time as a Youth Member.
I believe the Scouting Movement enabled me to develop Leadership skills in a safe and supportive environment with Youth Leading and Adults supporting me through the Scout Program and beyond.
During my week, I spend my time as the Assistant Manager of the Baden-Powell Scout Centre at Pennant Hills in charge of all Adventurous Activities on site as well as program camps. My love of the outdoors started with my time as a Youth Member in Scouting, and I have turned it into my career completing a Diploma of Outdoor Recreation in 2010 and since then, working for several outdoor education companies from Newcastle to the Southern Highlands and everywhere in between.
My focus will be on the New Scouts Australia Youth Program and to lead the implementation across the State. Working together with the DCCs, State and Region Commissioners, will ensure that all NSW Members are informed at all stages of the process and well prepared for the new Youth Program. Open communication is key to the success of the Program and to support growth of our State.
DCC (Activities, Training and Fellowships)
I am the husband of a very patient and wonderful woman named Catherine, and we have four children ranging in age from 22 to 16 (two girls, two boys). They have all been through Scouting, though only my youngest is currently in Venturers, with Rover related recruitment going on with the others.
We live in Heathcote, in southern Sydney, which is a great location for getting out and about into nature. I work at Energizer (located in Sydney Olympic Park), in Supply Chain looking after Australian and New Zealand operations. From an education perspective I have an MBA, and also a Bachelor of Science degree (in geology and geography).
I have been in Scouting now for 35 years. I started Cub Scouts at 1st Yaralla Sea Scouts, eventually moving during the Scout section to 1st Figtree, near Wollongong, after my family moved. My Venturer years were with Figtree, where I gained my Queen’s Scout Award. Venturers was also my first taste of Rock Activities, where I enthusiastically got into abseiling and caving. I spent Rovers as a member of Figtree Rover Crew, which expanded my activity experiences even further. During that time I had been a Cub Scout Leader, and then an Activity leader, eventually moving into the Region Commissioner Activities role for South Coast & Tablelands Region. I moved back up to Sydney 16 years ago, and took on the RC AT&D role in South Metropolitan Region for a number of years. I moved into my recent role as Branch Commissioner Rovers in 2011. I’ve really enjoyed working with Rovers, where youth led, adult supported is very much a positive reality.
I have kept current with adventurous activities, and continue to actively participate in, and hold qualifications for, abseiling, caving, canyoning, bushwalking, canoeing, kayaking, and SCUBA. I have been an active member of the Scouts NSW Training team for just over 15 years, currently as a Leader Trainer. I recently gained my Certificate III in Outdoor Recreation through SAIT, it was great to get an externally recognised qualification through Scouts.
Outside of Scouting my hobbies cover what I have listed above, plus geocaching, exploring Australia, and cooking as non-Scouting extras. My new role gives me the opportunity to do more activities, all around NSW, with Scouts from around the State.
I’m really excited about my new role; it gives me the chance to further support Scouting and the Youth Program in this important area. And with the positive changes coming with YPR, it is critical that all facets of Activities and Training supports the change and the outcomes.