Scouting has continued to grow from strength to strength over the last 12 months. In January we formally launched our exciting new Youth Program, a truly 21st Century development program with integration across all of our Youth Sections. Our Youth Program offers young people the opportunity to achieve their wildest dreams through our adventurous activities including flying, skiing, creative arts, canyoning, scuba diving and many more.
In 2019 we’re celebrating 100 years of the Wood Badge. Creating an exciting and engaging program for our young people relies on a strong framework of supportive adults and this year we celebrate and congratulate all Scouts past and present who have completed the Wood Badge program and contributed to the personal development of more than two million young people in Australia over the last 100 years. This is a remarkable achievement that demonstrates the impact that Scouting has all over the world.
This year marks 50 years since two Scouts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their first steps on the Moon – in total 11 of the 12 people who walked on the Moon were Scouts. More recently the world watched on as a painstaking rescue operation took place in Thailand in 2018 with key contributions from two Australians, Dr Craig Challen SC OAM and Dr Richard Harris SC OAM who were subsequently named Australians of the Year. While diving with Scouts off the coast of Western Australia earlier this year they remarked that “Particularly with Scouts, there is nothing more important than developing young people, they are the leaders of tomorrow.”
Each day we are working to make Scouting better than ever before in our local Groups, Districts, Regions and Branches. In April, following three years of work, the National Council approved the implementation of a modern and streamlined National Executive Committee to ensure we remain tightly focussed on our Vision to be the leading youth development Movement in Australia by 2023 with 100,000 resilient and self-fulfilled young people. We are continuing to empower and support our young people to take on new leadership challenges – we’ve appointed our youngest ever Deputy Chief Commissioner and 35% of the National Team is now under the age of 30. Alongside 50 million Scouts worldwide, we are continuing to work towards implementation of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals while offering once-in-a-lifetime opportunities locally and internationally like AJ2019 in Tailem Bend and WSJ2019 in West Virginia, USA.
We have a lot to be excited about!
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the 1,155 recipients of Scouts Australia’s 2019 Adult Recognition Awards. Those individuals who have earned an award this year have risen to the occasion and exceeded high expectations to create a better world for young people – a hearty congratulations! All Adult Members and Supporters inspire and encourage our youth members to achieve their best and I sincerely thank you all for the work you do.
Whether you are wearing your Scout scarf to work or to school, to a social activity or to the shopping centre, today represents an opportunity to share with others why you love being a Scout. Each year when I wear my scarf to work in IT, someone new will always approach me to find out more about what I do with my “free time” on weekends.
I am honoured to be our youngest ever Acting Chief Commissioner of Australia and to work with some wonderful individuals working to make every young person’s Scouting experience the best that it can be. I am proud to be a Scout and act as a role model for other young people to dream and believe that anything is possible if they put our minds to it.
Acting Chief Commissioner of Australia