1999 saw me start in post as District Commissioner for Chandler’s Ford District and was the start of some memorable years.
I had been in Scouting then for 15 years at the 2nd Ramalley Group and when offered the post of District Commissioner I realised that my close contact with the young people was going to change.
I needn’t have worried as I found that all the Groups were very welcoming and I’ve been able to be involved in many activities and presentations which have given me the chance to see so many young people in many different ways.
Explorer Scouting started 10 years ago and from a shaky start I have seen it grow until we have nearly 100 young people involved, and some truly amazing young people very involved in The Duke of Edinburgh scheme and working in the sections with the younger Beavers and Cubs, and making a valuable difference to both the younger sections and to their own Leadership potential.
The Millennium camping
The first real challenge came in the Millennium when every member of Scouting was given the challenge of camping all together somewhere over a weekend in May.
We are fortunate in having our own campsite in Cranbury Park (Courtesy of the late Major Chamberlayne MacDonald and Mrs MacDonald) and so I ran a camp for between 200-300 people and a fantastic time was had by all and really cemented the relationship between me and the district. Many other District Camps have taken place since but none so wet!
Many other special moments have occurred over the last years and I have been fortunate to attend Cathedral Thanksgiving services, paraded all the District flags with my peers and young people, through Winchester in pouring rain, camped, drunk coffee, laughed over many weekends and seen the District grow and flourish in both numbers and exciting activities over the years.
I have had an invaluable relationship with many organisations such as B&Q and facilitated our Scouts make films with them for Youtube information on do it yourself. I’ve taken Cubs to the House of Commons (and had my photo taken with Ian Duncan Smith!) to meet MPs, facilitated the involvement of Explorer scouts in the Jubilee Garden project at Fryern Recreation Ground, brought Scouting to the notice of Chandler’s Ford Parish Council and been given such great support from them, and been involved in the launch of Explorer Scouting and seen that section grow and flourish.
Many great memories, but overall I have gained an insight into how Scouting can develop, encourage, guide, and respect young people. Beaver scouts from 1999 are now young adults and Scouts and Cubs from then are the young leaders of the future.
“I am so very proud to have led this wonderful District. None of it would have been possible without all the leaders past and present, who all give so much of their time and talents to the young people in their care, to echo the Scout Promise Do their Duty and do so much to influence these young lives, and make the Scouting Movement the greatest organisation for peace in the world.”
By Carolyn Darbyshire MBE,
District Commissioner, Chandler’s Ford Scout District