DC's Message

What have I done?

DC of North Lincolnshire Scouts sounded like a good idea a few weeks ago, but after many hours of talking to Angela Bradley I begin to wonder what I was thinking.

I guess many of you will be asking two questions:

1.       Who is he?  

2.       What’s he going to do?

Well John Ratcliffe said “can you introduce yourself in 300 words for the District website?” Well John, I’ll do what I can to answer those two questions, but I’m only starting to count to 300 from here…

Who is he?

A very young version of me joined the Cub pack at 1st Hartburn Sea Scouts in Stockton, Thornaby & District when I was 8, an awful long time ago. I stayed at 1st Hartburn for many years, after which I went to work in Northumberland for a few years and joined another Sea Scout Group in Whitley Bay.

I returned to Stockton where I held several appointments over the next 10 years at Group, District and County. The highlight was undoubtedly leading a group of young people to the 18th World Jamboree in 1995. A transfer from the steelworks at Teesside to those at Scunthorpe in 2002 brought me into East Glanford district, initially as ADC Cubs, before ending up as GSL at 1st Hibaldstow & Scawby over 10 years ago and this is where I’ve been ever since.

Outside of Scouting, earlier in the year I managed to plot my escape from the Steel industry after 30 years, and I now find myself with a couple of part time jobs and a lot of ironing as I endeavour to become the model house-husband.

What’s he going to do?

If by that people mean, what’s he going to change? Well the answer is, to use an old phrase, ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’. The District appears to be well managed with all the key administrative processes in place, and it’s on a sound financial footing. I know it was over seven years ago now but bringing the two old districts together was no mean feat and was always going to take a number of years to settle down. This has been done successfully, people no longer start conversations with “it was never like this when we were in the old District”.

Believe me, changes of this magnitude often take a generation to be accepted. On the whole, the merger of the District has been successful and is a credit to all involved, the challenge is now to take advantage of the firm foundations that have come from the merger.

So, what am I going to do next? Well there’s loads of people I don’t know. That’s the real challenge for me over the first few months. I need to understand the Groups that make up our District; who needs help, who can offer help. I need to understand what support Groups want from their District. I need to understand what opportunities there are for us to support each other and what opportunities there are for growth. I need to fine tune how we organise our District to deliver these items. To use another old phrase, ‘expect evolution, not revolution’.

A final comment, it would be remis not to mention Primrose Hill as it is such a central part of our District. The campsite has come on in leaps and bounds over recent years, I’m full of admiration for what has been achieved.

I’m hoping that Dave Bradley and the rest of his team will continue for many more years doing more of the same; gradually improving the facilities without losing the place’s unique atmosphere.

Finally, I will get around and visit you all, but there’s only one of me and lots of you. It will take a few months to achieve, so please be patient with me.

Yours in Scouting,

Alan Smith

District Commissioner

North Lincolnshire

The Scouts


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