Australia Committee NSO Visit reveals immense work accomplished
It is Scouts Australia’s turn to meet the Regional Scout Committee for the CNV programme, the 18th NSO to be visited. First Vice Chairman Prakorb Mukura led the team together with Fazlur Rahman and Regional Director Abdullah Rasheed. Scouts Australia was led by National Chief Commissioner Reg Williams together with the core national team of Scouts Australia including Chairman of the National Executive Committee David Jones, Youth Programme Commissioner John Clarke, Adult Development & Training Commissioner Paul Parkinson, International Commissioner Neville Tomkins and National Chief Executive Richard Miller. Regional Office Desk Officer for Australia, Prassanna Shrivastava, assisted the meeting.
Among the many remarkable achievements of Scouts Australia revealed during the CNV presentations were the regular and vigorous review and research undertaken in the area youth programme in all the five sections, the tremendous work undertaken by the current National Adult Resources Committee (NARC) in supporting the adult leaders, effective marketing strategies which had proven record of change in membership, elaborate training arrangements provided the Scouts of Australia Institute of Training (SAIT) were the highlights, to name a few. Scouts Australia is very supportive to other NSOs in the region especially those that lack youth programme materials and experience in implementing the Adults in Scouting policy.
The association’s vision is to be “the pre-eminent youth organization in Australia”, and it has already extended itself to cover emerging and crucial concerns of today’s society such as health, keeping children way from harm and exploitation and working towards ensuring an ecologically balanced development in environment. Projects were initiated contributing towards peace and the importance of gainful employment. Work in these areas aim to meet most of the challenges of today’s young people of Australia.
With the association’s healthy financial situation for the association based on its own resources coming from its Branch Councils (43%), own trust fund (29%) and commercial operations (18%), Scouts Australia works heavily with other partners in multiple projects across the country ranging from e-learning project to saving of water, energy and to environment. Its work in putting up of 1,1000 water tanks in all scout halls and saving of 100 million liters of water a year, paved the way for Scouts of Australia to become a 2010 winner of the national "SaveWater" Awards.
Scouts Australia also excels in providing various opportunities to young people to be part of decision making processes through the effective functioning of two youth bodies: the National Youth Council which covers all sections of the youth programme and the National Rover Council which oversees the Rover Section. Representatives from these two bodies, participate fully at the National Executive Committee and National Scout Council and provide regular and timely responses on the needs and aspirations of the young people. These were evident when the team met the selected young people from the Scout, Venturer Scout and Rover Section who expressed their commitment and confidence that scouting provides the wholesome development for the young people through adventure, self reliance and do not regret giving up some other sports and hobbies in place of scouting. They expressed that scouting gives them opportunities, which they have never found in any other organization in getting more friends, joining adventure, going abroad among others.
Among a number of research projects undertaken during the last decade was the review of the management structure in 2008, that had great impact in bringing about the necessary changes for improving various aspects in management.
The Venturer Scout Review of 2008 has paved the way in improving the venturer section, which has outreached all other sections in gaining a better growth of 5.8% over the last year while the next closest cub section had a growth of only 2.0%. The current “Rover Review Towards 2020“ is expected to reveal the needed change in the Rover section, once the review is completed, to make it one of the most robust sections in supporting the movement. Among others the Brand positioning research, research on young people's interests, life style, values and attitudes as generation Y have had the scouting programme more relevant and attractive to young people. Total membership of Scouts Australia has grown for the 4th successive year in 2009 to a total of 73,523.
Last but not least is the current strategic planning process of Scouts Australia, with seven targets set for 2014 and with 10 milestones to reach by June 2011 has proved to be an effective on-line system called the “StrategyConnect”. This gives information updates on the level of implementation, progress and reporting by those responsible at any given time. The strategic plan is reviewed three times a year at its regular Executive Committee meetings.