Avon Scouts and assembled guests today welcomed John May as
keynote speaker at its annual meeting which was held in the Great
Hall of the Wills Memorial building at Bristol University.
Scouting's popularity has soared lately, experiencing nine years of
sustained growth, with teenagers and girls leading the way. John is
Vice-Chairman of the World Scout Committee and Secretary General of
the Duke of Edinburgh's Award which co-ordinates and develops the
Award in more than 140 countries worldwide. John, who was a Scout
volunteer whilst at the university in the 1980s, said "it was great
to be back home".
John's distinguished career has included being a head teacher,
aged just 28 and regenerating under-performing schools, National
Education Director of Business in the Community, Chief Executive of
Career Academies UK and later of Young Enterprise. As a teacher,
John worked in a range of situations from schools in suburban
England to refugee camps in Uganda. He is a former
Non-Executive Director of UNICEF, helped found "Teach First" in the
UK and he regularly writes, speaks and broadcasts on subjects
related to education. In 2008, John received the prestigious
Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion in recognition of his
long-standing dedication to enterprise education and in 2008 he
received the Freedom of the City of London.
John highlighted the impressive impact of Scouting on the
development young people in this area and around the world and
pointed out the strong partnerships that exist with the Duke of
Edinburgh's Award. In his address, John spoke of the need to
encourage more volunteers to get involved with Scouting in order to
respond to the huge surge in demand from young people. Later, he
joined Explorer Scouts, aged 14-18 and challenged them to think big
in grasping the many opportunities to inspire and help others and
to transform their own lives afforded both by Scouting and the DofE
John also took the opportunity to welcome the announcement of TV
adventurer, Ed Coats as County President and local ambassador for
Scouting. In a prerecorded message Coats spoke of his latest
international expeditions and his admiration for Scouting. Dr.
Coats, a resident in the County and himself a Scout in his youth,
is the latest in a long run of high profile supporters of the
Movement seeking to encourage more adults to volunteer. He joins
the likes of Chief Scout, Bear Grylls and the Duchess of Cambridge,
Catherine Middleton who announced her volunteer involvement earlier
this year sparking global media interest.
As a medical doctor and no stranger to a busy life, Ed joins
John May and these other high profile ambassadors in promoting the
message that volunteering for the Scouts can be flexible and great
fun for adults too. Recently, Coats took Scouting's flag to the
North Pole and later this month returns from a different trip in
Tanzania to spend a day of adventure with 30 specially selected
Scouts at their national activity centre near Bristol. Ed points
out the strong similarities between Scouting and his latest
adventures to be broadcast in a BBC series involving UK young
people later in the year.
Read John May's blog post after the Annual Meeting.