I can’t believe we’re approaching the end of 2021 already and many of us will be preparing to take some time off work and hopefully the opportunity for a well earned rest after yet another extraordinary year…although hopefully we’re now able to look forward to 2022 with positive thoughts.
Reflecting on the last few months, I’m pleased (and more than a little relieved) that Scouting has returned to something approaching normality following the huge vaccination programme that has been rolled out this year. Notwithstanding the current concerns around new variants of the Covid-19 virus, I’m hoping this bodes well for us and that we can resume doing what we do so well and giving our young people the taste of adventure and memories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
As a County team we met earlier this month to start planning our 2022 programme of events and it was great to be able to schedule our meetings, development days, award events and section activities with more certainty that they will happen. As we look back across 2021, however, our Programme Team should also take a huge amount of pride and satisfaction in the virtual events that they have been able to run, having done so in the best possible Scouting spirit.
Events such as BrumVenture, which is normally held at Pikes Pool was run as a hybrid event, with over 100 Scouts and Explorers taking part in 8 badges across the County and using a variety of venues to do their badges.
The County embraced the launch of Shirehike and is looking forward to getting out and about in sections once again, along with our CubBrumChallenge which ran up until the end of November – giving a ready made programme for the Cub section.
Our County Beaver team also helped the Beaver section to celebrate their 35th Birthday with our aptly titled ‘BrumBeaverBirthdayBash’ held over Zoom with over 100 on the call many having taken part in Group birthday activities set by the team.
And finally, we have our very own 20 in 21 Challenge which has been running all year giving our Young People the opportunity to achieve their Bronze, Silver and Gold badges throughout the year, along with a series of seasonal challenges set each quarter which we hope has also given leaders programme ideas that they can take forward and deliver with minimal effort.
I’m pleased to also advise that we have now also selected our leadership team and 36 participants who will represent Birmingham at the World Scout Jamboree in Korea in 2023 – please do support them as they kick off their fundraising ahead of the event and we’ll see lots of them across the County over the next 18 months.
So it really has seemed that wherever we go in the County, Groups and sections are starting to return to Scouting. Our mini census that we held in October showed very encouraging numbers and I’m hoping we’ll see the trend continuing when we complete the annual census in January.
What I think the pandemic has shown us is that we have some truly creative leaders who have risen to the challenge and demonstrated that they can continue to do great things despite all of the obstacles put in their way – we’ve seen some great innovations and opportunities to do things differently and I’d just ask that as you start thinking about 2022, let’s keep some of that creative thinking and look at what we can do that’s going to be new, innovative and exciting…alongside your old favourites of course!
Please do take the time to rest and enjoy the festive season, and I, and the rest of the County team, look forward to seeing you all in 2022.
Andrew Lloyd, County Commissioner