At last I have managed to watch John May’s keynote speech at the World Scout Education Congress last November. It’s over an hour long, but it really is worth a watch.
If you haven’t come across John’s work before then suffice it to say that I don’t think there are any roles in Scouting that he has not held. You can read John’s biography on his blog. If you want to know about developing and growing Scouting into the 21st Century, then in my opinion you’d be hard pushed to find anyone better to listen to.
A key message from John’s talk is that we are all different; that there is a huge age range in Scouting, featuring people from many generations, each of which has it’s own view of the world and attitude to life that stems from their childhood experiences. Making progress in Scouting (in the UK, for example, towards our Vision 2018) is all about managing change, whilst working with a range of people from across the generations – a challenging task!
One thing that struck a chord with me hearing John talk about this generational sociology is the importance of remembering it when we work with other volunteers in Scouting, as well as when we are working with young people themselves. My immediate colleagues in Scouting range from 15 year-old Young Leaders to 60+ (or even 70+ or 80+) committee members. Certainly in future I’ll be spending more time thinking about how I can work with these people to get the best out of them – and help them get the best out of me! – rather than just seeing them as people doing a particular role, which is an all too easy trap to fall into.
Right at the end of John’s talk itself he uses a quote from Pablo Casals, a Spanish Cellist. You can read the quote in full on John’s blog, but to take just a few lines that I found the most inspirational:
“You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven.
You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel.
And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel?
You must cherish one another
We must all work-
To make this world worthy of its children.”
Note: The featured photo at the top of this blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License from Joe Martin Photography – http://www.flickr.com/photos/joekmartin/12371072843/