You might have heard that Scouting is changing. For the first
time, we're offering an additional alternative Promise that will
allow those who have no faith to promise to do their best, to
uphold our Scout values and to do their duty to the Queen.
But what does that mean to Scouting here in Avon (Bristol, Bath,
North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire)?
Put simply, it means more people than ever can join Scouting. We
are committed to being an inclusive organisation and we have
removed barriers that might prevent those who share our values from
But none of this is as new as it sounds. For nearly 50 years we
have offered an additional alternative Promise for those from other
faiths that is relevant to their beliefs. In addition, non-UK
citizens also do not have to give their allegiance to Her Majesty
the Queen but to the country where they are living.
Of course those who wish to continue to Promise to do their duty
to their God can continue to do so. Part of Scouting's role is to
help young people explore their faiths and beliefs.
This latest move has attracted widespread support both from
within as well as outside the Movement and is backed by faith
leaders who understand the importance of Scouting being inclusive
and providing amazing and surprising opportunities to both our
young people and our adult members.
Change has always been part of Scouting. As our Founder, Robert
Baden-Powell once said, 'Scouting is Movement, not an
organisation.' Throughout its history, Scouting has moved with the
times to offer the adventure, experiences and practical skills to
young people of all backgrounds.
For example there are now more than 77,000 girls and young women
nationally and over 1,700 here in Avon Scout County. In the last
ten years, over 50 Scout groups have been formed from members drawn
mainly from Muslim, Hindu and Sikh communities and many more have
joined other groups too. We have removed age barriers so people can
continue to volunteer in Scouting as long as they are fit and able
to do so.
Today Scouting is growing faster than ever, offering over 200
activities from abseiling and archery to international expeditions.
We help young people grow in confidence, discover new skills and
become the active citizens of tomorrow. Our volunteers come
from all walks of life and fit the fun and friendship of Scouting
around their work and family commitments.
So if you want to join the adventure and make a positive impact
in Avon come and visit us at www.scouts.org.uk/getinvolved
You can find out more about these developments here.
Dan Wood, County Commissioner