Chief Chat – September 2018

Over the past month, I've been asked on many occasions to explain "Why Scouts?"

My short answer is that Scouts offers members - young people and adults - skills they'll be able to use for the rest of their lives.

What do I mean by this? Our unique program imparts practical skills to young people - like construction, navigation, cooking, first aid, project management, protecting the environment, and even logistics. It also builds really important life skills, such as resilience, independence and initiative.

By participating in our Award system, young people can hone their communication skills, decision-making and critical thinking. By attending our Regional and State-wide hikes, camps and adventurous activities, young people learn problem-solving, effective teamwork and an enjoyment of the outdoors, far away from their electronic devices.

We host spectacular events and opportunities for those with technical or creative interests, and we work closely within our local communities, offering support to those who need our help.

Interestingly, the life skills we deliver through our program are increasingly being sought after. I'm sure you've also watched the rise of adventure-based or outdoors groups across the country.

Recently the NSW government launched a Life Ready course for Year 11 and 12 students. Its aim is to empower young people to take positive action to be healthy, safe and well; promote positive and respectful relationships and transition confidently to post-school independence, and participation in the community. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

That's why I encourage you to talk to parents, friends, community leaders and influencers about the skills Scouts can offer young people. What sounds fundamental to the way we work is now increasingly being acknowledged as helping young people's future employability and future contribution to their own local communities. Employers are interested in individuals who have leadership experience, understand teamwork and are good problem-solvers. They also need people who have strong self-management skills to cope with change.

Many of our Section and Group Leaders have told me they present each young person a summary of the skills and experiences they've achieved when they leave a Section. For Scouts and Venturers who are starting to think about employment, this can even give them a head-start on their peers.

For many adults, as well as young people, it's these skills that attract them to Scouts, and keep them coming back. Most people love the excitement of learning something new, achieving a skill they never imagined being able to attain, and having fun with their friends along the way.

Please keep sharing your stories about the benefits we're offering and the positive opportunities you've seen Scouts give back. And take a look at some of the NSW awards I've highlighted in this month's Chief Chat, to recognise the achievements of a youth or adult member.

With best wishes,

Yours in Scouting,

Neville Signature

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

NSW Young Achievers

Scouts NSW is proud to support the NSW Young Achievers Awards, and the nominations are open! The Seven News Young Achiever Awards acknowledges, encourages and most importantly promotes the positive achievements of all young people in NSW up to and including 29 years of age as of 31st December each year.

Here's your opportunity to nominate a Scouting member who deserves recognition for an outstanding contribution. Categories include community service, innovation and youth development. Nominate here. Nominations opened on 1 August and close on 1 November. The Awards Gala presentation will be held on 1 March 2019.

No achievement is too small (or too big!) – every young person should be applauded for their positive impact on our local and wider communities.

There are nine different awards:

  1. The Aboriginal Education Award recognises Indigenous and Non-Indigenous young people engaged in the education of Aboriginal people, about Aboriginal people and culture, or education with Aboriginal people.
  2. The First National Real Estate Leadership Award acknowledges young people who set an example through their leadership and drive, paving the way for others to follow.
  3. The Freemasons of NSW/ACT Community Service Award applauds our unsung heroes, acknowledging those young people who are passionate in putting the needs of others first.
  4. The NSW Department of Education encourages and recognises young people who have chosen a career as Early Childhood Educators.
  5. The NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation Award recognises young people who demonstrate creative, inspirational and innovative thinking and have made a significant contribution to an entrepreneurial culture.
  6. The NSW Deputy Premier's Regional Achiever Award recognises regional and rural community contributors.
  7. The Scouts NSW/ACT Youth Development Award recognises young people who assist in the development of others, giving inspiration, role modelling, teaching, mentoring and confidence.
  8. The Western Sydney University Academic Achievement Awardacknowledges young people displaying passion, drive, a willingness to learn and work hard in their chosen field.
  9. The Western Sydney University Science and Technology Awardrecognises young people who contribute to the community through exceptional and visionary science or technology.

NSW Children's Week Awards

Nominations are now open for NSW Children's Week Awards 2018. The theme for Children's Week this year is: Children's views and opinions are respected. They have the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child and the right to be heard.

The awards are designed to recognise the achievements and contributions of children and young people as well as the adults who make positive impacts on the lives of children and young people.

Nominations close on Sunday 7 October. Any children or young people under 18 can nominate for a youth award here.

Children's Week Awards

There are seven award categories specific to children and young people and two award categories specific to adults.

  1. Community Art Award: For those who inspire through art including painting, drawing, digital art, photography, performance, dance and music.
  2. Bravery Award: For those who demonstrate a single act or ongoing acts of courage, strength or determination.
  3. Act of Kindness Award: For those who have or continue to offer acts of kindness by helping and supporting those around them.
  4. Giving Back to the Community Award: For those who give up their time for their community through volunteering, programs and every day behaviours.
  5. Environmental Award: For those who help support the environment through a range of acts, decisions and initiatives.
  6. Newly Arrived Migrant or Refugee Award: For those who have made a positive contribution to their local community, region or state.
  7. Voice Award: For those who use their voice to bring change, inform others, and raise awareness.

There are also two adult awards for those over the age of 18 – surely every adult volunteer at Scouts would easily be eligible for the inspiring mentor award:

  1. Inspiring Mentor Award: A person or group who supports, encourages and guides children and young people.
  2. Foster Parent/Guardian Award: A person who is committed to helping the lives of children and young people in out of home care.

Get your Promo Pack here!

To help promote your Group or Section to more young people and adults, don't forget that every Group in NSW is entitled to one FREE Promo Pack each calendar year.

Promo Packs have been specially designed to assist your Group share its Scouting spirit with the wider community. Packs include mixed sectional brochures, Leader Brochures, Scouts stickers, information sheets and assorted A3 and A4 posters.

Pick up a pack right here.


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

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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