Aidan and I spent the day campaigning for my election to the World Scout Committee, ably supported by the rest of the UK delegation. This evening I made my 3 minute election speech to the conference. 1,000 delegates heard me say the following:
“I can still remember my first hike as a Scout. I was eleven years old. In boots that my mother had bought for me (and were a little too big), I went with my Patrol into the hills outside the village where I grew up. I was given the map and invited to navigate. We got lost. But eventually, with the help of my Patrol Leader, we found our way home. I learned a lot of things that day. Reliance on others; working in a team; doing my best. And I remember those lessons, even today.
I mention this to remind myself, and us all, that above all else, Scouting is an educational movement that changes the lives of boys and girls in their communities, wherever they are in the world. Conferences and committees have their place. But it is local Scouting, in local communities, that actually develops a better world. It is my view that the role of WOSM is to support National Scout Organisations in their task of developing better Scouting for more young people. In this room we share common values, but how we do our Scouting differs from country to country. Good Scouting looks different wherever you find it. There is strength in our diversity.
As we enter Scouting’s second century, our challenge now is to agree, NOT what good Scouting looks like – we know that already. Our task is to agree what the role of WOSM really is and should be. If you choose to elect me to the World Committee, I promise to work with my fellow committee members to do three important things:
1 To identify the role of WOSM in supporting World Scouting
2 To draw up an ambitious, but achievable, action plan
3 To work in partnership with all our stakeholders to realise a new vision for Scouting
If we can reach clarity about how we can bring value to National Scout Organisations, then we will have a much happier World Movement. Let’s not spend the next three years arguing about structures, memoranda of understanding and constitutions. Let’s invest time and effort in planning for and achieving impact – through properly supporting NSO’s in their work with young people. So millions more boys and girls can get lost on their first hike – and can begin the task of finding the right route for their journey through life.”
We have to wait until tomorrow for the ballot – and tomorrow lunchtime for the result – but there is little more that we can do now to let people know what I stand for and why they should vote for me.