Natter with Nathan Christmas 2020

It all started off so well! We were looking forward to putting some exciting plans into action: WINGS 2020 summer camp, several District Camps, revamped training platforms, launching our refreshed Area strategy and our refreshed DofE International Award delivery along with continuing to grow our volunteer and young people numbers, to name but a few. Then we were hit by the pandemic and all our lives changed. 

BSO Groups were the first to be impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic and I’m pretty sure that BSO Groups will be the last to finally reopen. Throughout the year we’ve transitioned to the delivery of amazing online programmes and virtual meetings. We’ve seen loo-rolls and scarves being thrown in every direction, two Area-wide campsfour District camps, virtual Area-wide Everest climbs, campsites in living rooms, balconies, gardens, scavenger hunts, Kahoot quizzes and much, much more. The effort that has gone into this is both fantastic and inspirational with parental feedback indicating the massive impact you are having on young people. 

I’m also proud to say that we have achieved most of our plans, albeit the Area/District camps have been virtual, but still pivotal in cementing our Scouting bonds. Our Area Strategy was launched and is progressing well. We launched our refreshed DofE International Award and now have many new BSO Groups signed up. Our training teams continue to make a huge impact across the Area and are currently delivering about 9 modules via online webinars, with the remaining modules following soon. A big well done if you’re one of those awarded one of the 64 Wood Badges we’ve awarded 10: F&I, 25: ME, 21: NE, 6: RoW and 2 for Area 

We should not underestimate how hard any of this has been, but you have played your part in making a real difference to the lives and mental well-being of all of our members, young and old. I send my heartfelt gratitude to all our amazing volunteers for your commitment and time that you dedicate to delivering and improving Scouting across BSO. You are truly amazing! 

The pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and an unprecedented challenge to mental and physical health, food systems and the world of work. Scouting has an important role in helping with the mental and physical implications of the virus and as we move towards 2021, the vaccine rollout appears to be giving a glimmer of light at the end of a very long tunnel. I think we all realise that we won’t be back to any semblance of normality until later in 2021 and until then I would urge you to keep doing what you do best, keep engaging with our young people and supporting each other. 

When we do finally get over this pandemic, I know that we will never take normal things for granted: we will treasure our friendships even more, we will build ever stronger memories and appreciate all that we have and do as part of this great movement. 

Thank you for all you are doing for British Scouting Overseas. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR – To all of you and your families. 

Area Commissioner
British Scouting Overseas