It’s hard to believe that we are already a quarter of the way through the year. I think we have all suffered from the grey and wet weather and despite the return to colder temperatures and rain over the last week, are all hoping that Spring has ‘sprung’ and Summer is on its way.
We were lucky to have a beautiful and fine day recently when this year’s Queen’s Scout Award recipients and those leaders who were recognised in this year’s St. George’s Day Awards, attended the Queens Scout Award event at Windsor Castle with HRH Princess Beatrice and Bear Grylls. With the sun shining we were able to celebrate the achievements and reflect on the hard work and many years’ service given to Scouting and just what this means to the Movement and to the individuals concerned. Across Birmingham I was absolutely delighted that this year we were able to present 29 Higher Awards – congratulations, and thank you again. to everybody who celebrated their success.
Continuing the theme of recognising achievement, it was great to attend the first of this year’s Chief Scout’s Award presentation afternoons at Blackwell Court where we were able to celebrate the success of over 150 of our young people and their hard work. While we have a great day with the young people and their parents, it’s thanks to the dedication of the Groups and their Leaders that we’re able to present such large numbers of awards on these regular presentation days.
This weekend we had our second Basic Skills day with over 25 new leaders attending to supplement their training programme and I’d like to thank the support team for giving up more time to pass on their skills. We hope to see as many Leaders as possible on these additional programme days.
At this time of year, we’re also able to reflect on our membership numbers following the annual census process – for which I’m eternally grateful to all of our Group Scout Leaders and District Teams for supporting! It’s great to celebrate another year in which our numbers have grown across the County. Last year we grew by 3.4% with 7,619 people now belonging to Scouting across Birmingham – that’s an increase of more than 20%, or 1,286 members, since 2014 which is an awesome achievement!! Growth such as this doesn’t happen without a huge amount of hard work by everybody across the County, the Districts, the Groups and sections who are delivering exciting and engaging programmes each week, keeping our youngsters interested and active in Scouting. When we see so many achieve their Chief Scouts Awards and then move onto their Queen Scout Awards we can only applaud your dedication and thank you for your ongoing commitment to Birmingham Scouting.
Lastly, while we think about membership and our programmes – I’m hoping that everybody has seen that we’ve now licensed Online Scout Manager (OSM) for the entire County. This is a great tool for both managing your membership data (which also complies with the new GDPR data protection legislation) but can also help you develop programme themes and record your young people’s progress – since we went live in February, over 50% of the County have signed up. If you haven’t yet done so, click here for more information.
Thanks again for everything you’re doing. I look forward to seeing many of you at our County AGM on 14th May and wish you all a fantastic summer!