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Celebrating our 140th Anniversary

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Monday 27th April 2020

Like many of our leaders, I joined The Boys’ Brigade as a young person, when my best friend at school invited me along to the Junior Section, not realising that forty years later I would still be involved! Over the years I have served the organisation in many capacities. I was instrumental in re-forming the 21st Northampton Company, serving as Captain for thirteen years. I have been a Battalion President and was a member of the Brigade Executive before joining the staff team at BBHQ.

I believe my experience as a volunteer leader, as well as the insight from a staff perspective, has been invaluable preparation for this role.

This is my first “Welcome” article so I thought I should share something of the experiences that have led me to this point. But don’t worry, this won’t be a regular thing! I believe my role is to focus on telling the story of the organisation and not merely my own journey.

We are living in unprecedented times, and like many of you I’m having to take decisions that even a month ago
I hadn’t even imagined. Although the world around us seems scary and uncertain, I have been inspired by the creative ways in which our young people, volunteers
and staff team have found to stay connected and keep the BB adventure alive during these difficult days. The #BBatHOME programme is a good example of this and is providing opportunities for us to engage with many young people and their families for the first time.

As well as coping with the present, it is important at times like this we also have one eye on the future, and the possibilities that await us, both for ourselves and our organisation.

The last few years have been about re-positioning ourselves as an organisation, the Raise the Bar campaign, launch of the new under 11’s programmes and strategic review consultation have all been part of that, and prepare the ground for the new Strategic Plan which will be launched in September. The new Strategic Plan will run for five years and I hope will shape the priorities and plans for us all over the coming years.

However, before we start charging into the future, it is important that we take a moment to pause, to reflect on the reason we are doing this, the purpose of the organisation and the motivation we each have to be involved at this time.

A few years back, as part of the introductions on a course I was attending, we were challenged to describe our organisation in a phase or sentence. My description came from the first line of our mission statement “We are an organisation that has faith in young people”. I went on to explain that we believed in the ability and talents of young people to shape our organisation and the world around them, and that the Christian Faith and experiencing Jesus in our lives is an important message for young people too.

If you were asked to describe the organisation in a phase or sentence what would you say? Perhaps it’s not something you have ever thought about before.

For our future plans to be successful they must be rooted in the very purpose and reason for our work. Over the next few months and in readiness for the launch of the Strategic Plan this will be our focus.

Our core Vision, Mission & Values is the theme of this issue of the Gazette and is the focus of the Vision article (see page 6). We will also be communicating these through social media and other channels over the coming weeks.

As we make plans for the future, whether that be in our Companies, Battalions, Districts, Staff Teams or as Trustees, the challenge for us all is to ensure that our vision “that children and young people experience life to the full” is at the heart of everything we strive to achieve.

That we demonstrate that we have “Faith in Young People” and provide them with opportunities to learn, grow and discover in a safe, fun and caring environment which is rooted in the Christian Faith. We have a great story to tell, a story that can honour our heritage, celebrate the achievements of the present, whilst having confidence in the future for the next stage of the journey.

So, back to describing The Boys’ Brigade in one sentence – have you thought what you would say?

With very best wishes and thanks for all you are doing.

Jonathan Eales Chief Executive

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