wanna put something out there...... submit you blogs/words/thoughts directly to Rob Vaines, and he will post them for you
Author: Mike Preston | Date: 2nd August 2015
By Ian from 3rd Hove
“On Saturday 1st August, if you were in Brighton, you couldn't help notice something was afoot. Thousands of people had gathered to take part in, watch and support the 25th LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender) Pride parade and festival.
19 adult members of the Scout Association from the Southeast and further afield, including District and County Commissioners, beaver, cub, scout and explorer leaders, and members of FLAGS (Fellowship of Lesbian and Gay Scouts) gathered at an ungodly hour of the morning to prepare for the festivities ahead.
The diversity message we carried was scouts are a diverse bunch and welcome LGBT members and leaders. This was given added poignancy by the announcement, with provisos, by the Boy Scouts of America, that adult leaders who identify as LGBT will be allowed to carry on their work or join the organisation (led by Eagle Scouts - their equivalent of Queen Scouts - who found that they couldn't continue as adult members and gain leadership roles if they identified as LGBT - and were effectively "fired" at 18 years-old).
25 years after Brighton's first Pride march, the political message may have waned somewhat, but the re-routing of the march away from a perceived bomb threat, and seeing the Royal Ordnance Corps Bomb Disposal Unit going in the opposite direction to the parade at the start to explode a suspect package, reminds me that there are people who are so violently opposed to the various messages of LGBT Pride, that they might consider it a target, along with the public thronging the streets.
Along with help from a very friendly drag queen, whose unexpected help in rabble-rousing was unparalleled, the 19-strong contingent had a strong reception from the crowds along the 2 mile route. Present and former scouts were in evidence, and many said hello. We were upstaged by a troupe of acrobats in monkey costumes that we had the good or bad fortune to be next to - but I suppose that is par for the course.
Why take part in a parade like Pride as scouts? What does this achieve? Well, it shows the world that we are here and we support the values of acceptance and tolerance that Pride stands for. It shows that there are LGBT or LGBT-friendly (I must say I didn't enquire of everyone!) members of the organisation who don't mind showing their faces at an event like Pride. I suppose for people like me and some others present, it is because I was a gay youth member, and found great comfort from newspaper and TV reports of positive role models growing up (I think the Independent and Channel 4 were particularly good when I grew up). I would like to think that all 19 marchers/paraders were good role models that day.
More "Oggy oggy oggies" than I can remember, with audience participation, slight sunburn, a hoarse voice and one of those frozen grins that you get when you pose for too many wedding photographs, were my abiding memories of a very interesting and enjoyable day.”
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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
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
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?
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
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
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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 !!!
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