Michael is welcomed into the 1st Gilwell Park Scout Group by his friend Peter.
Michael is welcomed into the 1st Gilwell Park Scout Group by his friend Peter.

This time last week, I was arriving back in Belfast having been ‘at home’ at Gilwell Park for Gilwell Reunion. Scouts and Scouters the world over see Gilwell Park as their home – and in the first weekend of September each year it becomes a cosmopolitan and bustling village of Scouters from across the UK and further afield. Scouts live together in peace, one family worldwide.

This year’s Reunion was quite moving for me. Earlier in the week I had validated all the modules in the Adult training scheme of The Scout Association that I needed for the award of a Wood Badge as a Manager in Scouting. Over the years, some people have supported me while I worked towards the target, others were not quite as supportive. To all those of them who worked with me and supported me, I say a great big

Thank You.

The first training I went on as an adult in Scouting was in the Guide Hall in Ripon, North Yorkshire back in 1997, as an Assistant Scout Leader in the now defunct 9th Ripon (Wakeman) Scout Group. Last weekend, I met a Scouter who had worked in Ripon after I had been there. Gilwell Reunion is a confluence of the world.

Many of the modules that were validated for this Wood Badge were validated as a result of work done as a Trustee in The HIV Support Centre, and as a member of FLAGS National Scout Active Support Unit.

Of course, credit has to be given to those who support me in my current Scouting role, and I thank everyone in Bedford Scouts for their care and assistance. I look forward to continuing to support them in telling the public about the everyday adventure of Scouting.

Having validated the modules, Peter Davies, Deputy District Commissioner for Bedford with whom we were camping, acquired a Wood Badge, and the scarf of the 1st Gilwell Park Scout Group – and in the evening of Saturday 7th September he presented me with both, and invested me as a member of that Scout Group.

The 1st Gilwell Park Scout Group is the largest Scout Group in the world, being made up of all those who have been awarded the Wood Badge on the completion of leader training in the Movement.

The Scout Association has produced a new video, and I encourage  everyone to watch it, we all find our own paths in life, using the Scout motto of “Be Prepared” we can make choices to overcome whatever obstacles are placed in our path, we can reach our goals and celebrate our achievements. Scouting is an everyday adventure, where we always try to have fun.

Watch the video. Think about it. Get involved. Join the adventure.