Friends in Scouting,
With the new Scouting year now well underway, I want to welcome everyone to another year of great Scouting adventures. Hopefully the last few weeks have been a lot of fun as local Groups have welcomed new members into our community. At our Group we’ve had something of a water theme in our first month, with the Beavers heading out to spot salmon leap upstream, the Cubs going sailing with the local Sea Scouts, and the Scouts canoeing and spotting (real!) beavers.
In late August, the Board spent the weekend with the volunteers and staff from the National Leadership Team to review the state of Scouting across Canada, confirm our priorities for the coming year and approve the new operating plan. It was a great weekend, with rich discussion and dialogue about where we need to focus and what is truly important.
This discussion led to the Board reaffirming our commitment to the strategic priorities; representing a continuation of the work done over previous years and which build on the continued roll-out of the Canadian Path. These are:
Drive Membership Growth
The start of the Scout year is a natural time for us to think about how we grow, as we welcome new members to our Groups and welcome back our returning youth and volunteers, but we need to focus on growth year-round. In the past couple of years there have been seen some signs of improvement in our numbers, with some Councils getting good results, but the overall trend of the past decades is decline. Focusing on the Scouting experience, delivering the Canadian Path, and taking every opportunity to add new members are musts – especially considering our communities’ need for ethical leadership, healthy active adventure, environmental stewardship, and the amazing impact Scouting has on young people.
Unlock the Value of Our Assets
We have hundreds of properties across Canada, including real jewels that allow us to experience the outdoors and enjoy adventures that aren’t otherwise available to our youth. But we also have significant numbers of properties that aren’t being used, have massive costs, or require unrealistic investment. We need to review our properties to understand where we should invest to build world-class locations and where we should ask ourselves if it continues to make sense to own that site. Doing this right means we can not only deliver amazing experiences at our Scouting properties, but also that we can invest strategically in new programs and services for our youth and volunteers across Canada.
Build the Scout Brand
Our volunteers, members and staff all know about the value of Scouting, and the impact we have on the lives of youth. But we don’t do a great job of communicating with parents (or prospective parents) about what we do. This isn’t just about marketing or advertising, but about giving us the language and tools to engage with Canadians on the value of our modern program. We’re working hard on this, including talking to volunteers and parents over the next few months. All the best for your Scouting year!
Yours in Scouting,
Richard Thomas, Chair of the Board