During our worst drought in living memory, unprecedented fires are tearing through large parts of our continent. Emergency services and volunteers are working around the clock to protect life and property, with many communities and families already torn apart due to the crisis. Across our landscape, the images of devastation and loss are heartbreaking. Our thoughts are with all those families and communities as they now begin the long and costly recovery process.
As Scouts, we help to create a better world. We’re there for each other during the good, and bad times. During this natural disaster, Scouts have stepped up to help others and demonstrate the strength of community involvement. Many Scouts are actively involved as volunteer fire fighters, serving their community in the face of adversity. Meanwhile, other Scouts are helping injured wildlife, packing and distributing food donations for affected communities, volunteering in Evacuation Centres, and hosting barbecue stalls to fundraise for the recovery efforts.
During this crisis, government organisations are advising the best way to assist in the recovery effort is with monetary donations. As a result, Scouts Australia, in a collaboration with Branches, have launched two badges – the Bushfire Recovery Badge and the Bushfire and Drought Appeal Badge.
As of Tuesday 21 January 2020 100% of the net profits from the sale of the Bushfire Recovery Badge will be directed towards bushfire recovery. All funds raised through international sales will support the Australian Scouts who have lost homes or have otherwise been severely impacted by the bushfires. Funds raised through Australian sales will be allocated to Branches on a postcode basis. Branches will then forward the proceeds to where they will feel it will do the most good in bushfire recovery.
Funds raised by NSW sales of the Bushfire Recovery Badge will be directed to Scouting Groups and families impacted by the bushfire through the NSW Family Support Fund. Funds raised through sales in Victoria will be donated to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal. Other Branches will announce their decision on the distribution of the funds raised by their members as the situation evolves.
100% of the net profit of the Bushfire and Drought Appeal Badge will go to the NSW Chief Commissioners Emergency Relief Campaign, to support the fire and drought affected Scouting families in NSW.
We know the Scouting community will be proud to support their fellow Australians, and will keep you updated on how the proceeds are benefiting Scouting families.
The wearing of these badges on the Australian Scout uniform is at the discretion of each Branch Chief Commissioner. Each Branch will notify its members on the eligibility of wearing this badge on the uniform.
Scouts Australia, together with all Branches of Scouting in Australia, have developed this badge to assist Scouting families faced with the challenge of the current crisis. As of Tuesday 21 January 2020 all net profits will be directed towards the bushfire recovery effort.
As Baden-Powell once said, “You can’t afford to spend money on your own luxuries when there are people around you wanting the necessities of life.” This badge will be available for purchase from mid February to assist with the recovery efforts for NSW Scouting families.
Natural disasters can be incredibly stressful, and bushfires are no different.
Right now, it’s important to concentrate on your physical and emotional safety.
However you may be feeling, we encourage you to connect with your family, friends and community.
The Australian bushfire recovery is complex and evolving and this article has been updated to reflect the current status on the distribution of Scouts Australia’s bushfire recovery funds.