Scouting in New Zealand, a lesson to reckon with
As the last CNV mission in 2010, the Regional Scout Committee met with the key leaders of Scouts New Zealand in Wellington from 1-3 December to understand the recent developments in Scouting.
With well prepared presentations highlighting the past five years, it is evident that Scouts New Zealand has made remarkable headway in bringing about the desired changes and good progress is foreseeable. A small team of experienced volunteers and dedicated professionals is making this possible.
Another remarkable change noted was the 5.3 growth as of June 2010, a big leap of membership coming from a 9-year decline in membership. Current membership is 18,649 and Scouts New Zealand is committed to achieve its ambitious target of 25,000 members by 2015.
A combination of factors contributed to this change. They applied dynamic and innovative approaches to offer attractive activities to young people. They eased the training style and mode to meet the lifestyle of adult leaders, plus they introduced creative branding and image building initiatives. These are lessons to reckon with for anyone who wishes to modernize their programs while meeting realistic challenges on the ground.
Attractiveness of youth programme is a challenge to every unit leader. To ensure this, Scouts New Zealand designed tailor-made support packages available to all leaders through the website. This pre-packaged material is well articulated and professionally developed, using a carefully selected theme for each term to ensure that those who are less experienced can always refer to it.
Modular approach to training is divided into four different stages, making woodbadge the highest Scout training for the leader. With no emphasis on the current training scheme for assistant leader trainers (ALT) or leader trainers (LT), it has enabled Scouts New Zealand to increase its adult leader training by 300% within three years to meet the ever increasing demand for new leaders.
The tagline Adventure Plus is the key for marketing with an enormous number of publications such as the An Introduction to Scouts New Zealand, annual review report, special news, a comprehensive website of resources and information, strategic priorities booklet, annual report, National Programme Package for leaders -- all add to the revival of scouting since the introduction of New Scouting in New Zealand 5 years ago. Scouting continues to be community-based where youth sections are linked to the life of young people in their formal education system.
Specialized National Schools run by Scouts New Zealand such as the Walsh Memorial Flying School had its 44th session early this year. This is a prestigious avenue to promote scouting to non-Scouts and a good training ground for Scout members who may never have otherwise. These schools run regularly with hundreds of young members. The chocolate fund raising programme held countrywide is perhaps one of many success stories raising over $200,000 in 2010 which aims to increase scout groups joining the event.
With six strategic priorities set for the period 2010-2015, which includes Membership and Leadership, Youth Awards and Programme, Finance and Resources, Image, Governance, and Emerging Strategies, Scouts New Zealand has a clear focus into becoming a leading youth organization in the country.
National Chairman Noel Walker led the New Zealand team, together with International Commissioner George Fairbairn, National Chief Scout Executive Chris Hooper, National Secretary Murrey Charlesworth. The regional team was led by the 1st Vice Chairman Prakorb Mukura, consultant Kirsty Brown, Regional Director Abdullah Rasheed, and Desk Officer Prassanna Shrivastava.