The following is an extract from the President’s speech at the Branch AGM in Latrobe on May 24, 2019:
Growing up I never had the privilege of joining Scouts. As a kid I remember movies where a Scout would help an old lady across the road, indicating that a Scout was selfless and did things to help others. Or a policeman was referred to as a real boy scout, indicating that they were honest and could not be corrupted.
I often hear people refer to the movement as “a Scouting family”. And I love that concept.
However, what I see when I look around are individual Groups and Districts that are all operating independently and doing their own thing. Each doing their own fundraising and applying for grants. Often in competition with each other for the same funds.
I’d like to ask why we are not acting more like a family. And not the dysfunctional type. Why are we not helping each other more? Does every Group really need to purchase the same equipment? If you only go kayaking a few times a year, could you not borrow the kayaks from someone else in your District or Region? Or even from across the Branch?
We are a not for profit. Everything purchased is for the good of Scouting. Groups are not small businesses. If you have something that you no longer need and it’s worth less than say $100 – why sell it to another Group? Why not gift it for the good of Scouting? Pay it forward.
What happened to that selfless Scout that goes out of their way to help others? A bit of selfishness seems to have crept in somewhere along the lines. I’d like to remind Groups and Districts that they do not own the money and assets. Yes, you did the fundraising. But we are merely custodians. Everything belongs to Scouting as a whole.
In 2017 we lost $9000. Last year it was about $6000. This year we are forecasting a loss of close to $80,000. And that does not include any redress payments that we’ll probably incur later this year. We can carry that level of loss for a year or two. Or maybe even three. But it is not sustainable in the long term.
We may have to look at releasing some of the money that we have tied up in assets just so that we can keep operating.
So we are going to need to raise our membership numbers.
We also need to find other ways to bring money into Scouting.
But there is something that we can do right now. And that is to start sharing.
Start acting like a true Scouting family that helps each other.