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Author: Mike Preston | Date: 12th July 2015
By Scott Ideson
It’s currently past one in the morning, and I’m sat in a bustling marquee in a field within walking distance of the M25 listening to the dulcet tones of L.M.F.A.O playing in the distance. I’ve been awake about 18 hours, and have at least seven hours until activities end. I’m at Gilwell24, of course!
There are over 4000 Explorers on site at Gilwell Park today taking part in the yearly action-packed fun-filled 24 hour extravaganza that is Gilwell24. Today activities included DJing sessions on a red double decker bus courtesy of Volvo, kiteboarding, firefighting, laser quest, scuba diving, amongst many, many others. Of course, tonight the activities continue – the disco being the favourite!
This weekend, FLAGS are attending Gilwell24 again - this time running our own activities within the Global Zone. Old favourites returned. Diversity Jenga and rainbow paracord woggles were as popular as ever. Although the woggles ended up being fluorescent pink – but shhhh, we won’t mention that!
New to our repertoire of activities was the Diversitree. Diversity. Tree. Get it? Please say you get it...? The Diversitree allowed us to consult youth members and find out their views and opinions on diversity and inclusion in Scouting. Explorers got the chance to write their ideas on post-it notes which were then stuck to our Diversitree. Questions asked included:
What makes you unique in Scouting?
What could your unit do to improve your Scouting experience?
Who is your Scouting hero?
Do you think Scouting is inclusive? And why?
We also set out some statements for the young people to ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ (agree/disagree), surrounding how welcome they feel in Scouting for example. Some, of course, were less serious than others! Beyoncé or Bieber?
As a member of FLAGS, it was terrific to see young people in our movement’s passion for equality and inclusion and how much they embrace diversity in Scouting and in their lives more widely. Scouting is more diverse in its membership than ever before and it’s humbling to see we’re as equally as accepting. The mostly positive comments from the weekend demonstrate that we have a movement to be proud of, but there is still some way to go to ensure that our youth members feel equally as welcome in their groups, districts and counties as the friends they’ve made from across the country at Gilwell24 this weekend.
P.S. FLAGS is also now on Instagram! Be sure to follow us on @flagscouts where you can find some fantastic photos from our activities from throughout the weekend at Gilwell24!
Author: Mike Preston | Date: 27th June 2015
Wow, What an Incredible Day !!!
I wanted to start with a huge thank you, before telling you about this incredible event. Our celebrations wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for the hard work for the project team in the run up to the event. I'd like to take time to say thank you to Laura and the rest of the team for their dedication and commitment. I'd also like to thank all our speakers, wheel stewards, Stilt Walkers and those who supported the breakfast.
The day started off with an amazing welcome from all the project team, and some great talks by some of volunteers. This included a welcome from Dean Jeffreys, Regional Commissioner for London, as well as a great talk from our Jagz Barth, our Deputy Youth Commissioner, telling us why inclusion is so important to The Scout Association.
The morning continued with a chance to get to know other volunteer, and take part in some great activities which helped to demonstrate the diversity of The Scout Association. Volunteers were able to share their experiences with others, as well as tell us more about their experience of The Scout Association as an LGBT Adult. We were also pleased to be joined by Scout Radio, you can here some of their interview here.
As we moved on to the parade, we were joined by more volunteers, and young people and ended with over 120 people taking part in the latest celebration of diversity in the UK. This year, we were pleased to be positioned at number ten in the parade, being one of the first groups with a float in the parade. Once again this year we were pleased to be supported by National Express with their Scout branded Coach. This year, we were also joined by the fabulous stilt walkers, which helped us look amazing !!!
During the parade we were also pleased to be joined by a number of the senior volunteer team, including Tim Kidd, Debbie Bainbridge, Kester Sharpe, Alex Peace-Gadsby and Dan Wood. This is the first year a number of these had attended and they were impressed not only buy the turn out, but also by the excellent reception by the by-standers.
As the parade came to an end, I haven't felt so proud to stand with a group of volunteers and celebrate the diversity of The Scout Association. We have come so far in the last five years, and I want to thank all those who have helped us get there. Its been a long journey, but now i feel we can truly say we are one of the best groups at Pride in London, and continue to show everyone that Scouting is for everyone !!!
Author: Mike Preston | Date: 13th June 2015
So, over the last few weeks, I've spent a lot of time ensuring we are ready for pride events across the UK. It was great to see so many members of FLAGS at Birmingham Pride, it was most certainly our best attendance to date. Id like to say a massive thanks to Russell for his hard work in ensuring the event was a success. We will be adding some pictures from the parade to our website shortly. We are now in the final countdown to Edinburgh and London. Don't forget there is still time to sign up to be involved in London. You can find out about all our pride events for this year on our website.
We also started off this month celebrating National Volunteers Week, we have over 100 volunteers who support FLAGS and help us to demonstrate to people across the UK. Id like to take another opportunity to say THANK YOU to all the amazing volunteers who support help make FLAGS possible.
Last weekend, I was pleased to attend a LGBT Round Table with representatives across Europe. The purpose of the round table was to develop training for other Associations around Europe. It was a great opportunity for me to share our experience of support LGBT members, as well as sharing some of the actions we have taken over the last few year to promote inclusion in Scouting. I was able to make some great contacts from across Europe, as well as take some great ideas about how we can engage more LGBT people in Scouting. The outcomes of the round table will be seen in November at a training event, where we hope to be able to share more of our experiences.
Coming up this month we have our first team meeting of year, where we will be discussing our progress against our service agreement, as well as checking in on finances and membership.
Just a quick reminder for members to pay their membership fees by the end of this month.