Natter with Nathan – January 2021

At the time of writing, most of BSO is at Readiness Level Red and no face-to-face activity or meetings can take place. Despite global lockdowns/restrictions affecting most of us, I hope you and your families have had a good Christmas and New Year.

Despite not many of our Groups running face-to-face programmes, it was great to see the 1st and 2nd Falklands enjoying their summer camps this weekend, even though they had a whole range of weather conditions! I enjoyed the Rest of World leader’s social this weekend which included a wine quiz in which I learnt a lot! You may not know, but I am a wine enthusiast… The more wine I drink, the more enthusiastic I get! … (apologies for the dad joke!).

It was also great to join the webinar delivery team last weekend along with leaders from all over BSO for module 12b (Programme Planning). It’s been many years since I completed my Wood Badge training so this was a good refresh of key skills, some of which have been updated. We’ve got a fantastic webinar delivery team and I would encourage anyone who, like me, are perhaps getting a bit rusty in some areas to sign up for a webinar to refresh these key skills. Don’t forget that this will also count as your yearly ongoing learning.

I’m pleased to report that the Area team continues to keep busy with various tasks including:

  • Our Events team are planning a Leader’s social & quiz on Saturday 23rd It would be great to see lots of BSO leaders taking part and meeting other leaders. You’ll need to register very soon to take part @
  • Deputy AC, Matt Lightfoot reports that we have nine BSO Scout Network members registered on 16th World Scout Moot 2022 in Dublin, Ireland (plus another three on the wait list). This is the most members we’ve ever sent to a World Scout Moot and it will be great to see BSO being publicised globally at this special camp.
  • Under our Youth Shaped strand of our Area Strategy, we all have a mission to develop, support and encourage participation in the top awards. So, I am delighted to report that two Explorer Scouts, one from Northern Europe and the other from the Middle East, have now achieved their Queen’s Scout Award. Well done to them and a big thank you and well done to their leaders for all the hard work getting them to this point.
  • Growth & Development: We have a number of promising enquiries to start new BSO Groups. Adrian Richardson’s team are looking after these and also available to support any Groups/sections that might be struggling. Please reach out to him if you need help.
  • It’s been wonderful to see Duke of Edinburgh International Award (IA) registrations continue across the Area. It’s vital that BSO Groups already running the IA are registered with BSO via our DofE Coordinator Tam Pearce, by the 15th of February. After this date, any BSO Groups not known to us, will not be recognized by IA headquarters in London.
  • Census 2021. I know that BSO Groups and sections have been have had varying levels of activity/engagement throughout 2020. This might lead to some uncertainty on how to count your young people for 2021 census. Please read the guidance and action to take which will help you explain to parents why they should pay a membership fee when perhaps you have not been meeting face-to-face. I would urge GSLs/section leaders to be totally honest with return figures which will ensure vital HQ support functions like insurance and safeguarding continue to run.

Finally, while the journey to a more ‘normal’ life may be slower than we would like, the global vaccine rollout makes it likely that we will be returning to more of our outdoor and adventurous lifestyle as Scouts. The work we have been putting in to writing our Risk Assessments for a return to face-to-face Scouting will begin to pay off. More of our time will be spent enjoying time in the real rather than the virtual world. Now is the time to complete those assessments and make the action plans for a reinvigorated Scouting. We can take advantage of enforced locked downs to complete those mandatory training modules so that nothing can stand in the way of getting out and active again.

As always, thank you for all you do for Scouting across BSO.

Yours in Scouting


Area Commissioner