Dublin. At a Crossroads…

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Dublin. Capital City of Ireland. A vital hub, politically, logistically, academically, socially. A hotbed of best-practice and, in keeping with major cities everywhere, a liberal bell-weather full of the latest thinking and fresh ideas that regularly challenge the status quo.

Dublin is a city that is full of top-class scout groups. Some of the countries oldest groups are here, as are some of the youngest. The city boasts groups with amazing scout skills, worthy contenders at any Phoenix Competition. It is the home to the Scout Show and supplies a good deal of the talent that enters. It has scout groups that are less handy with knots, but are leadership incubators to rival the best business schools.

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UNIFORM THINKING

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Scouting Ireland’s defunct ‘Vision 2020’ document carefully highlighted the ‘uniformed’ nature of the association. Indeed, it was the second descriptor of the movement and interestingly came before the words ‘movement’, ‘young people’, ‘open to all’ and long before the movements founder Robert Baden Powell got a mention in the opening preamble to what was a widely dispersed document in the lead up to National Council 2014.

One gets the impression that elements in the Scouting Ireland establishment are living in constant fear that ‘uniform’ as a concept will be eliminated just as soon as the wretched liberal (youth orientated) thinkers outnumber all the ‘real’ (traditional) scouts. It will be the end of civilization as we know it!

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Chair Challenge

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The Scouting Ireland Chat Forum, not known for its freedom of debate or indeed meaningful conversations these days, nonetheless recently hosted a spirited exchange. This followed the furore at the associations National Council, surrounding the Meeting Chairman’s alleged assertion to the meeting, that a female youth member was being inaccurate in some comments she alleged the Chief Scout had made relating to the controversial ‘Vision 2020’ proposal a number of weeks beforehand.

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Scout Honours

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Adult awards as a concept may seem counter-intuitive in an association where volunteers seek only to serve the interests of their scout group, the community it is in and the members of it. Yet, an awards system is also arguably a valid and welcome method in which to recognize in a small way, the efforts that adult scouters go to in their spare time, to bring Scouting to the nation’s youth.

It’s an open secret however in Scouting Ireland for some time that the adult awards system is in need of review. It is secretive, unaccountable and the way it is currently calibrated, by and large favours only politically connected (and/or politically savvy) Scout Groups.

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What next for Scouting Ireland’s Vision?

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The decision, by the National Council of the Youth Organisation Scouting Ireland to reject in full, the ‘Vision 2020’ proposal, as put forward by the associations National Management Committee at this weekends annual National Council meeting in Cork, suggests a number of things about the current culture of leadership within the Scouting movement in Ireland.

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