It’s been wonderful to see many parts of BSO reopen in line with local government guidance, including a small number of summer camps. Despite continuing restrictions, it’s been hugely motivating to see the hive of activity happening across all parts of BSO. I’m hugely grateful and in awe of our Area training teams who continue to enhance, develop and deliver excellent training to our Leaders which in turn ensures we are delivering brilliant and engaging programmes. Please keep an eye out and sign up for any of the many BSO training webinars that are on offer.
Those who have ever been camping with me will have had the pleasure of listening to my early morning wake up bugle call! I write this on Remembrance Day, and this is the first time ever that I have not played the Last Post and Reveille and I was feeling quite lost earlier today (I usually play in Fulham London and later at the war memorial for Scouts in Westminster District). Just then, a notification popped up from the Rest of World District Facebook page and I spent the next 30 minutes in Singapore on a virtual Remembrance Sunday Service and then with the 1st and 2nd Singapore as the recited the deeply moving poem For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon (thank you Emma Perrin for sharing). It has been wonderful to see how our Groups around the world have been marking Remembrance Day either virtually or in-person.
According to our Getting back together status webpage, we have a total of 17 Groups currently open either outdoors and/or indoors. However, many parts of the world, especially Europe, are now in a second wave and lockdowns are being reinstated. Many of our Groups continue to have amazing programmes being run on Zoom but for others this has been a bit harder for all sorts of reasons which are totally okay. I would ask that we all work together to support our fellow leaders who have been unable to provide online activities so far. Maybe you could host another section in the same time zone as you and give the other Leaders some pointers on how to run a programme or perhaps two same-age sections could take it in turn to host one another? Young people thrive on variety so why not invite someone from your District team, the Area team (even me!) to run an activity or talk about what they do?
So, the challenge is………
To aim for an online opportunity to be offered to every young person in your District at least once during November and December. If we could do that, it would be amazing and a great achievement!
As you may have seen, HQ have negotiated an extension of our FREE Zoom licences for a further 6 months; this is an amazing opportunity and enables online meetings to continue.
The impact of Covid-19 has had a massive impact on the young people from the poorest Areas of the UK and threatens the viability of at least 500 scout groups that are at risk of closing. Scouting in these areas make the biggest difference in the lives of Young people. One of our fundamental policies is that as Scouts, we promise to help others. We should do everything we can to fulfil this promise and I would urge you to push the new fundraising campaign from The Scouts called “Race Round the World”, which aims to support the 500+ groups hit hardest by COVID-19.
By virtually travelling around the world in teams led by Scouting ambassadors, everyone can help make sure that thousands of young people don’t miss the life-changing skills and experiences being a Scout can bring. All you need to do is get sponsored, complete your miles, and add them to your team’s grand total. Please help BSO make a difference.
Finally, I’d like to quote a recent post by Deputy UK Chief Commissioner, Graeme Hamilton:
“Let’s remember we are a movement of values and strong purpose, let’s do the right things for our young people, let’s be visible in our communities looking after those who need us most whether online or face to face, and let’s remember that our predecessors back in 1914 and 1939 didn’t know they were facing a four and six year challenge respectively. BUT all through those years they delivered scouting; they looked after the young people; they faced the wider society challenges; and they, and Scouting, came through it all the stronger. WE CAN TOO”.
Scouting continues to be harder to deliver and more than ever we need to live up to the sentiments behind our Scouting Ethos. I am grateful to every one of you, our amazing BSO volunteers, for everything you are doing to keep Scouting going in these difficult times.
Finally, please remember to ensure you understand the latest HQ information for everything you need to know about the Covid responses, rules and regulations. Getting Everyone Back Together Safely.
Yours in British Scouting Overseas