The Purpose of Scouts Australia is to encourage the physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual development of young people so that they may take a constructive place in society as responsible citizens, and as members of their local, national and international communities.
The breadth of the development – physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual – that we provide for young people is unparalleled in other youth organisations. What other organisation can provide such holistic development for young people. Many will provide development in one or two areas but Scouting provides development in five areas.
And the reason for this development – so that they may take a constructive place in society as responsible citizens, and as members of their local, national and international communities. Surely this is an outcome that every parent would want for their children and an outcome that local, state and federal government would want for the young people in their constituencies.
We as Leaders believe in this Purpose otherwise we would not be motivated to plan and attend our Section meetings each week, to coordinate camps and hikes and provide those wonderful learning opportunities that we are privileged to work with. Are the programs and activities that we provide or facilitate addressing each of those developmental areas? Is there sufficient challenge and fun to keep young people engaged and looking forward to the next meeting? Do the parents of our youth members broadly understand the Aim of Scouting? Should we be more explicit in using the Aim when recruiting new youth members?
Children and young people have the right to be emotionally and physically safe at all times. To this end, Scouts Queensland has implemented a Child Protection Policy with associated Procedures. The documents can be found in QBSI (Section 10) and they are also publicly available on the Scouts Queensland webpage. Our Policy is modelled on the Child Protection Policy in Scouts South Australia and recently a national version of a Child Protection Policy was adopted. The issue of child safety is of absolute importance to Scouts Queensland as an organisation and to all Leaders and parents personally.
The Child Protection policy states that Scouts Queensland will take every practicable step to ensure that all members feel safe within a setting of mutual respect, and that any allegations of child abuse or harm are dealt with consistently and appropriately.
A critical feature of our Policy is that if a volunteer, youth or young adult member, staff member or helper suspects a child has experienced harm, or is at risk of experiencing harm, that person (called a “Notifier” in this Policy) must contact the appropriate agencies to provide support and advice. This is not limited to Scouting related activities.
This Policy must be outworked in every formation, at every event, at every meeting within Scouts Queensland. Make sure you are familiar with these requirements to protect the young people in our care.
Scouts Branches across Australia have partnered up with a University of Western Australia research team to find ways to attract and retain more adult volunteers to deliver our Youth Programs. Developing effective recruitment, training and retention strategies is essential for us to deliver quality youth programs. We often struggle to attract and retain a sufficient number of volunteers, resulting in waiting lists of youth who would like to become Scouts.
To achieve these goals, the UWA research team will be contacting via email all Scout volunteers to participate in surveys beginning shortly. The key to success for this ambitious project is a high level of participation of current volunteers, which will ensure that the research team has all the information it needs to produce strategies that will deliver the right outcomes to us.
I have already completed the survey and it is my hope that you will actively participate in these surveys, which should pave the way to better practices to create and manage a volunteer workforce across Scouts Australia.
We are now in the run up to Christmas and most Sections will be organising end of year functions prior to closing down for the Christmas break. Make sure you finish the year on a high with Leaders and Youth Members keen to get back in the Scouting in the New Year. Use the Christmas break to recharge, to relax and to catch up with family.
Debbie and I wish you a safe and Merry Christmas!
Daryl (Tavi) Scott