St Georges Day Awards 2016

Added 30/04/2016 test

What do milking a wooden cow, Malawi, Norway, Kandersteg, bird boxes, "wings" and volunteering all have in in common? Well - it's Scouting. 

On Wednesday 13th April 2016, the Lord Lieutenant Mrs Mary Prior, who was accompanied by her husband, attended Avon County Scouts Award presentation evening. 

This year the Chief Scout awarded a Medal of Meritorious Conduct which recognises a high standard of scouting to Chris Hodgkins. Four volunteers - Janet Turner,  Ian Carter, Graham Cooper and David Thomas were awarded the Bar to the Silver Acorn, although unfortunately Janet was unable to attend on the night due to a prior commitment. Eight further volunteers - Claire Bryant, Graham Bush, Chris Jones, Mike Clark, Alan Nicholls, Steve  Hamey, Mark Smee and Tony Clutten received the Silver Acorn Award, although Tony was also unable to be present.   

The event was opened by Graham Brant, County Commissioner for Avon County Scouts, who welcomed the attendees and their supporters and families. Mr Mike Lea, Managing Partner of Smith & Williamson, was welcomed and thanked for allowing the presentations to take place at their Bristol office. Graham introduced each of the nominees in turn, sharing some of their personal history and some information about why they have been selected prior to asking Mary Prior to present the awards. 

On the night, we asked each of the attendees why they volunteer, and continue to do so, as well as their favourite memory in scouting. The responses ranged from: "to give something back"; "loved the adventure"; "there was no provision for activities for 15 year olds"; "no one else to do it"; "inspired by others"; "have fun"; "because I had been a cub scout and enjoyed it"; "seeing young people achieve and develop into young adults" to "give young people the opportunity to try something they normally wouldn't be able to do". 

The shared memories were poignant, happy and thought provoking. For example - Claire shared how she felt on her return from her first week's Cub camp. She started volunteering as an 18 year old with the 133rd Bristol, a group for young people with special needs. On returning home she cried with emotional happiness because although she was exhausted after a week's camping (and who isn't?), the young people had been able for the first time in their young lives, to experience activities that able-bodied scouters do without thinking. 

Ian just said "Malawi 2009!". Ian accompanied 45 Explorer scouts to Malawi where they worked on a young project supporting a feeding centre and clinic for orphans. David spoke about the various World Jamborees he attended which ranged from Sutton Coldfield 1957, Holland 1995 to Sweden in 2011. Chris has encouraged more scouts to "be in the air", and talked about "milking a wooden cow" at the 1995 World Jamboree in Holland with the now current County Commissioner. Graham B and Mike just wanted to give something back to their community, although canoeing to Brownsea Island sounded like it had been an interesting and fun trip. Steve spoke about the group of young people who took part in the Ten Tors event. The team barely made it round on the first day, but on the second day, 5 minutes before the deadline and disqualification, they crossed the finishing line to cheers from their supporters and fellow hikers. Alan went to a scout wedding in Kandersteg; and Mark's Explorer Unit has very strong links with a Group in Oslo, Norway. Chris H accompanied a contingent to the WSJ in Japan in 2015, whilst Graham C has successfully worked alongside 4 District Commissioners and survived!

 If you want to know (especially about the wooden cow) - then you will need to search out these wonderful and interesting people in Avon County who were always smiling. They will never be far from their Section, Group, Unit or District - possibly even running a camp or Jamboree. The evening was a joyful celebration of successes and overcoming adversity, and through it all these individuals have quietly gone on their personal journey, ensuring that so many young people from all walks of life have had an opportunity that many others can only dream about. Whilst they may have spent many hours volunteering in their current roles, we should not forget that the figure is probably double or triple that when we remember their own families' support. 

We are all proud to share in the successes of our colleagues, especially in 2016, a year when Scouting has grown both locally and nationally. All our volunteers contribute to make Scouting the fantastic youth led service it is today. We are growing this daily by sharing our enthusiasm and knowledge, passing it on to the next generation of volunteers; this makes us unique and a force to be reckoned with to change the world for the better. 

The Lord Lieutenant thanked all the adults who help young people experience scouting in ways they wouldn't normally be able to do. Every day we recognise the achievements of our young people between the ages of 6 through to 18, and in April each year we make a special effort to thank our adult volunteers. We are all incredibly grateful to those who make a difference and all our adults are truly appreciated. The award recipients have been invited to attend the St George's Award ceremony at Windsor Castle with the Chief Scout and members of the Royal Family. 

Finally Bear Grylls, Chief Scout sent us this message, which sums up what the Awards were all about. 'The Scouts stand for so much that I value in life - friendships, family, faith and adventure. It is about everyday people, serving as leaders in their communities, giving kids confidence, a sense of purpose, life values and outdoor skills that are hard to find anywhere else.'