What is a District Youth Commissioner?
I am the first District Youth Commissioner in Berkshire, and one of very few in the UK. The District Youth Commissioner’s role is to develop and oversee the principles of Youth Shaped Scouting within Slough. As part of this, I will be starting a Youth Forum within the District to allow Young People’s voices to be heard by the District Team and encouraging leaders to develop Youth Shaped Scouting within their Section.
Who are you?
I am Dave Shaw, some of you may know me as an Explorer Scout Leader with Discovery ESU, while others will know me as a Network member. I am 23, and I have been a part of the Scouting Movement since I was 6, so I know what it is like to be both a Young person and a Leader within Scouting.
What is Youth Shaped Scouting?
Youth Shaped Scouting is the idea that Scouting is a Youth Movement and should be shaped by the Young People. Adults should only be here to guide the Young people and ensure that they are kept safe. The Young People should have a say in what they do on a weekly basis, where they go on camps and how major decisions are made.
As one Explorer said: “Scouting is like play-doh, Young People have to shape and mould it”
What about YouShape?
YouShape Week is the National Event during which we want to get everyone talking about Youth Shaped Scouting. YouShape Week is 1st – 7th February, with a major conference taking place from the 5th – 7th. The week will provide the opportunity for every young person from Beavers through to Network to get involved either online or at your meeting place.
What’s the plan?
I will be setting up a District Youth Forum which will aim to involve a Young person from every Section within the District, from Beavers to Network, from 1st Britwell to 3rd Wexham. To kick off this process, I will be paying a visit to all of the Sections during January to talk to the Young People and Leaders about Youth Shaped Scouting and the Youth forum. Follow me on Twitter for the Schedule.
How can I develop Youth Shaped Scouting in my Section?
First things first, ask the young people what they want to do on a Section Evening, whether that is what game to play next, what to cover in a future meeting or having the young people taking a lead role in a game or activity. The key is to listen to the young people and carry out what they want to do.
District Youth Commissioner – Dave Shaw