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Celebrating our 140th Anniversary

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Growth, Quality and Voice

Wednesday 7th May 2014

We continue to look at our new development plan, and the three main themes of Growth, Quality and Voice. In the last issue we looked at Growth, and now we begin to look at Quality, and how we grow better at what we are doing.

In this article, Andrew Kimmit, Young Person Rep & Vice Chairman of the Scotland Committee shares his thoughts on how we go about reviewing and improving the quality of our work with children and young people.

Profile: Andrew Kimmit

In asking Andrew to write for the magazine we asked him a few questions about his BB journey:

Q: Tell us a little about your BB journey so far…

A: I grew up in the 8th Stirling, where highlights included playing trumpet in the band, making the UK Finals of Masterteam and camp at Tighnabruaich. I completed KGVI training in 2009 and have since helped at 4 Companies around the Edinburgh area while also serving on the Scotland Committee.

Q: What’s life like for you outside BB?

A: Outside BB I’m involved fairly heavily in my church and the wider Church of Scotland. I’m also enjoying the fact that springtime means my cycle to work is in daylight, and I secretly really enjoy knitting.

Q: What’s been the highlight of your BB journey (so far)?

A: I’ve been very fortunate with the opportunities I’ve had in the BB. In particular it was a huge privilege to visit BB Hong Kong and see the hugely enthusiastic and energetic work going on there. But ultimately, my highlight is working in Companies – seeing Anchor Boys’ faces when you tell them it’s time for dodge ball!

Q: What’s your hope for the future (in BB terms)?

A: My hope for the future of the BB is in many ways already being realised – to be part of an organisation that is ‘Growing Bigger, Growing Better’ and fulfilling the vision set out by our founder of “advancing Christ’s kingdom”.

Why the BB? The reason I ask is because if we’re serious about taking forward a campaign of Growing Bigger, Growing Better I think it’s useful to start by thinking what it might mean to be ‘better’ at being BB. No one would argue that we shouldn’t develop and get better at being the BB – yet we all know from work in our own Companies that it is not as easy as saying, “We want to get better at what we do”, and hoping it will magically happen.

So, again, why The BB? I would suggest that the answer is nearly 131 years old: “The advancement of Christ’s Kingdom…”. It is the first and most important aspect of our Object as an organisation and it is fundamental in our identity as a developing movement. I also think it’s an aspect we sometimes shy away from, often because we’re not terribly sure what we mean by “advancing Christ’s Kingdom” or how to get better at it. I reckon there are a few things we need to understand if we want to be Growing Better.

First, that we don’t need to be scared of ‘advancing Christ’s Kingdom’. Christ’s Kingdom is an exciting vision of how we live when we realise that God has decided to live for us. It is not a sterile sacrosanct vision of untouchable holiness. It doesn’t mean wittering on about bible stories. It’s not about being ‘holier than thou’. It’s not just the chaplain’s job. And it certainly isn’t boring.

Advancing Christ’s Kingdom means offering adventure. This is the second lesson we can learn about Growing Better. When Jesus called Andrew and Peter as disciples, they were most likely teenagers learning their father’s fishing trade. But Jesus offered them an adventure that took them out of every comfort zone they had known, on a journey where water was turned to wine, where thousands were fed from a single packed lunch, and where storms were calmed by a single voice. How often do we push ourselves outside of our comfort zones as BB leaders? And unless we do that, how do we expect to teach young people to do the same? There are countless ways to be more adventurous in our programme: from outdoor activities, residential camps, resources like Challenge Plus, to getting involved in local and national competitions and being active in the community.

Adventure begins when we stop being insular and concerned just with what we think we can do as leaders and look outwards to see what we can bring into our BB programmes to make them better.

Finally, advancing Christ’s Kingdom means challenging ourselves to do the best work we can. The great thing here is that we’re not doing it from a culture of fear that we need to be better and that something terrible will happen if we don’t. Instead it’s a positive opportunity to do work that we enjoy more and can celebrate. Better still, it will mean young people are getting better experiences, broader skills, and more fun from our work as the BB.

Challenging ourselves to do the best work we can involves being reflective about where we are in our Companies: asking what works and what doesn’t, where are the obstacles and where are the unrealised opportunities, and involving the young people in every step of the process. The Company Health Check is a good way of asking these questions constructively and provides a good basis for a development plan in Growing Better.

But these are just my thoughts. What do you think it means to be Growing Better? My one final observation is that we need to share in that conversation more, as well as sharing the great things we’re all doing week-in week-out at our Companies. Learning from each other is probably the single easiest way to be Growing Better ourselves. So I encourage you to continue the conversation – on the BB facebook pages, on Twitter, in the Gazette and face to face!

Andrew Kimmit
Young Person Rep & Vice Chair, Scotland Committee

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