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Every day is a school day

Thursday 28th April 2022

What a journey we have travelled in the last few years… in our everyday lives and within our lives as part of The Boys’ Brigade.

The BB has not only been through the journey of the pandemic, but is also on a journey to ensure that what we offer is of the highest quality as nothing less will do for the children and young people we serve.
The Strategic Review of 2019 highlighted that we must focus on the quality of the experience for young people, and if we get this right then the rest will follow. This makes so much sense as the reason for the existence of the BB is to share the love of Jesus with young people. If we are to continue our mission we must ensure that we are relevant to the age we live in so that young people and leaders want to join us.

In the Strategic Review you told us that a high quality BB Company means…

What does a quality experience within the BB look like to you? (Quotes from the Strategic Review)

“Good relationships with young people and recognition of their individual abilities and strengths.”

“Varied programme that can be accessed by a variety of young people and adapted for their needs.”

“Passionate and energetic leaders who understand that they are required to give considerable time outside of standard weekly activities.”

“Shows God’s love to young people and their wider families in every aspect of what we do.”

“Quality is meeting the needs of the community around you. Each community will be different so each Company will need to adapt.”

Quality of curriculum (which within the BB we would call programme), and quality of leadership are central to the world of learning where I have spent my working life, including as a Head Teacher.

A place of learning to reach its full potential, to be successful, should be filled by a love of learning and a longing to share that love of learning. From that comes a place which children and young people want to be part of, that they are committed to and want to give their time and energy.

Quality of programme is about knowing what works, having energy and enthusiasm to deliver the programme, ensuring that it is ever changing, where new things are tried, sometimes they fail to work, but this is just part of the learning journey for us all. That programme needs a balance to meet the needs of all young people and hopefully to bring out skills and attitudes that perhaps they didn’t know they had!

The programme we have developed within the Brigade is here to help you do this. So that you as a leader can share of yourself which is probably the most valuable resource you have to share! The Brigade has invested in programme over recent years, with new under 11s and over 11s programmes being launched, along with #BBatHOME and virtual activities as we adapted to the pandemic.

We have developed a new approach to programme that links together all age groups, that can be at the core of our meetings. Our programme supports leaders with ideas that they can use easily, practical resources that can be adapted to the local context and that will not become stale over time. It provides a structure that promotes a balanced programme over time, with some short, repeatable activities alongside activities that take time, determination and expect a deeper engagement.

Like programme, leadership development is central to the quality of the experience we offer young people. Leadership is about the qualities we bring and how these can be enhanced and developed.

Every day should be a ‘school day’ – we should never stop learning. Whatever our age or experience we can always learn more from other leaders, through continuing professional development courses, visiting other groups, sharing what we do through Battalion/District meetings; these all support us in creating a learning culture, where learning is valued, shared and celebrated. We have also tried to make learning easier and more accessible with the development of virtual training courses and the recent launch of e-learning through OBM.

“A high quality programme and effective high quality leadership are the pillars that support the experiences our young people receive.”

The quality of what we share with our young people will impact on how they view life, whether they want to buy-in and offer of themselves. This comes through the quality of the relationship we share with them.

The ‘BB experience’ we share with our young people should excite us and our enthusiasm and love of what we are doing will be recognised by our young people, who will want to be part of it and share with others. This is a journey together with them as we explore life and the riches contained within it. This develops trust and understanding with our young people and from this the ideal opportunity to share our relationship with Jesus with them, where they can question, challenge and explore.

A high quality programme and effective high quality leadership are the pillars that support the experiences our young people receive. With these resources we can take our wonderful organisation forward to share with young people what lies at its very core, a love of sharing faith and opportunities to mould the lives of those we are called to serve.

We have much to celebrate, but we can’t stand still! We can look back at the impact the BB has had and know that it is our responsibility to ensure that we provide those same opportunities to the young people of today, not by imitating the past, but by using the best of today.

The BB has changed, especially in the last few years and we must plan so that we are here, thriving and striving to meet the needs of generations to come. William Smith and the leaders of the past would expect nothing less, in fact they would probably expect more!

Sir William created an organisation designed to meet the needs of the generation of 1883 and we likewise must ensure our organisation meets the needs of our day and is already looking forward.

What will you give to young people of 2022? A programme that makes them thirst for more? A leader who loves to learn and wants to share?

Ian Rumbelow
Vice-President and Chair of the Brigade’s Programme Group

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