Chief Chat – July/August 2018

When it was published in 1908, "Scouting for Boys" became an immediate bestseller. It was released during a period of significant change in England - suffragettes were championing for a vote, workers were striking to improve their conditions, and there were gaping inequalities of income and wealth. Amidst the political turmoil and major social changes, Baden-Powell's succinct, powerful values of respect and integrity had enormous appeal.

The parallels to the tremendous shifts taking place across our society today are noteworthy. For some, the constant pace of change is inspiring and motivating; for others it can sometimes be overwhelming.

This month, I'd like to pause and reflect on the importance of staying true to the purpose and values of our organisation, which has offered so much to so many adults and young people over its 110 years in Australia.

"No one can pass through life, any more than he can pass through a bit of country, without leaving tracks behind, and those tracks may often be helpful to those coming after him in finding their way" our Founder explained.

As I travel the length and breadth of our State, I meet a wide range of volunteer members, both uniformed and non-uniformed, some of whom stay firmly on these tracks, and others who adventure along new paths, exploring ways to connect our organisation more strongly with modern life.

This is creating some tension within our membership, which I want to acknowledge, and which I also want to better understand. Amongst my top priorities for the next strategic plan cycle, is to encourage more adults to join Scouting, and to convince them to stay as members and supporters, in order to continue to rebuild and grow our Branch.

We have recently re-launched a short survey to hear directly from you, and to better understand how we can make our culture what you want it to be so that more adult members feel valued, energised and happy to be part of the Scouts NSW family. I encourage you to participate and let us know your thoughts and views about life in Scouts. I am committed to personally reading, and reflecting on, each one of the comments we receive.

Finally, I'd also like to remind everyone of the behaviours we expect from adults and young people in Scouts, which are fundamental to our organisation to protect everyone from harm, physical or emotional. We are vocal about our position on child safety and wellbeing, and as you know, we have zero tolerance for abuse. We are also committed to ensuring the safety of everyone in Scouts. You will find a comprehensive suite of materials and ways to report a child protection, adult behaviour or WHS/health matter on our website.

During times of intense change, it helps to take the time to understand and learn what works, what doesn't, and which tracks we want to follow long into the future.

In the words of our Founder: "It always seems to me so odd that when a man dies, he takes out with him all the knowledge that he has got in his lifetime……..and he leaves his sons or younger brothers to go through all the work of learning it over again from their own experience.""

My Team and I are here to listen and learn. I encourage you to keep sharing your great feedback!

With best wishes,

Yours in Scouting,

Neville Signature

Neville Tomkins OAM JP
Chief Commissioner
Scouts Australia (NSW Branch)

Our Behaviours

Our NSW Scouts Code of Conduct is a personal commitment to set an example you wish others to follow. Its purpose is to protect all members of Scouting and it applies to all members over the age of 18, regardless of location and role, when engaging with young people and adults. This includes face to face contact and using technology such as on-line and social media. You're encouraged to stay familiar with the code of conduct and the code of ethics, and don't forget to use the same rules in the Scout hall as on social media channels, including two-deep leadership.

We are committed to ensuring the safety and protection of all young people in Scouts, and giving them the confidence to participate in our programs and activities. We have a full time Child Protection Team and robust child protection policies in place. We work closely with the Office of the Children's Guardian, NSW Department of Family and Community Services and the NSW Police to ensure all matters are reported and actioned appropriately.

For more information about Child Protection in Scouting, including an overview of our commitment to Child Safety, related policies (including social media guidelines) and guidance regarding different ways to report a Child Protection matter, please visit the Scouts NSW website. If you have any questions, please contact the Child Protection Team at State Office.

Recruiting more Adult Leaders

Developing young leaders is vital to Scouting. It is one of the biggest challenges we face in order to grow our organisation and become more relevant to the communities in which we work. In our 110th year, we've seen a net increase of 47 new Joeys, 131 Cubs, 502 Scouts and 13 Venturers and Rovers. But the number of adult leaders has not grown to support our increased youth numbers.

We are currently trialling a partnership with Macquarie Fields TAFE to explore the potential to recruit more leaders. We're also planning a marketing and promotional campaign to recruit parents and adults later this year.

Another important opportunity is to encourage more Venturers and Rovers to progress into adult leader positions. We have launched the Scouts NSW Young Leader Development Program, offering Venturers and Rovers aged 17-25 years, the opportunity to undertake their training by providing financial assistance and mentoring support.

Visit our website to submit an EOI for more information. It aims to support individuals who have demonstrated an interest in developing their leadership skills and give back to the Scouting community. Funding assistance will be provided to successful applicants to the Young Leader Development Program in the form of transportation costs to and from a residency course or e-learning workshop, all costs charged by the residential courses and e-learning workshops.

Our New Youth Program

"The Adventure Begins" is underway this year, designed to help you refresh and revisit the fundamentals of Scouting, to set the scene, and to lay foundations for the launch of Scouts Australia's new youth program in 2019. There's a great website containing useful materials to support your Group's transition.

Led by Scouts Australia, the new program is a way to re-engage and ensure your programs are true to Scouting's core values. Are you and the youth members in your Group ready for this adventure? Check out the materials covering the Principles, Purpose and Mission of Scouting; the SPICES and their Educational Objectives; the Scout Method (with emphasis on: Youth Leading, Adults Supporting; Community Involvement; and Promise and Law); the Section Councils and the core ingredients to Plan>Do>Review.

What's Your Adventure?

The 14th New Zealand Venture is being held in Kaiwaka, New Zealand from 31st December 2018 to 11th January 2019. The 500 youth places for the NSW Contingent are already filled and a waitlist is now active. The New Zealand Venture is all about freedom, responsibility, action and friendship and is purpose-built for teenagers. Illuminate 2019 will involve 12 days and nights of activities and adventure in the heart of NZ's northernmost region. Participants can expect a spine-tingling combination of unique Maori culture, breathtaking scenery and adrenaline pumping adventure.

The Contingent Team is now seeking Leaders to help execute the vision of a truly amazing event. It will be a lot of work, but it will also be a hugely rewarding experience. The Venture will provide six days of on-site and off-site activities as well as a 5-day expedition. All Australian Contingent members will participate in a four day, four night post stay in Rotorua following the Venture. This will include a Maori cultural experience, adventure theme park and other optional activities as well as plenty of time to say farewell to new friends, Venturers and Leaders alike.

The Australian Jamboree 2019 starts in less than six months – with the opening ceremony at Tailem Bend scheduled for 4th January. There are already 74 NSW troops planning to join over 10,000 scouting friends from across the world, led by 24 adults within the contingent welfare team who are on hand to monitor health, equipment, hygiene, enjoyment and overall experience.

To give a taste of the excitement Scouts can expect, the sub-camps are named after famous explorers: Charles Sturt, Surveyor General of South Australia; Sir Douglas Mawson, a key expedition leader during the Antarctic Exploration in the early 1900s; Matthew Flinders who led the first circumnavigation of Australia and Pawel Strzelecki, who led many expeditions through Australia, and named Mount Kosciuszko.

AJ2019 applications have re-opened to enable Scouts who don't want to miss out to go camping with their mates. There are no late fees if you apply now.

For those who enjoy their adventures a little closer to home, here are some great activities taking place. I hope to attend most and look forward to seeing you there:

  • The thirtieth NSW State Rally is being held from 3 to 5 August at Cataract. The theme is "Choose Your Own Adventure", with activity bases including Witches & Wizards, Solve the Mystery and Catch the Villain.
  • Murum 2018 will take place at Canobolas Scout Camp in Orange from 30 September to 7 October. Lone Cubs, Scouts and Venturers from across NSW are invited to attend this intensive week of Scouting, focused on helping youth members with their badge work.
  • The NSW Youth Environment Team invites Cubs, Scouts, and Venturers to join the State Environment Activity Camp from 12 to 14 October at Camp Coutts, near Waterfall.
  • The 2018 Agoonoree on the Farm will take place at Glenrock Scout Centre on 28 September to 1 October.

Remember 

All suspicions, concerns or allegations about criminal matters or child protection matters should be reported directly to the Chief Commissioner, the Deputy Chief Commissioner (Youth Safety, Compliance and Support), the CEO or the Child Protection Officer at the NSW State Office.
To make a report use the online child protection form, call 02 9735 9000 or email childprotection@nsw.scouts.com.au

Imminent Danger
If a young person is in imminent danger, the matter should be reported directly and immediately to NSW Police on 131444.

Where a report is made to the police, you should also subsequently notify the NSW State Office.

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