Leadership has been defined by Wikipedia as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task...organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal". The leader may or may not have any formal authority. Students of leadership have produced theories involving traits, situational interaction, function, behaviour, power, vision and values, charisma, and intelligence, among others.
Leadership has always been an important part of the Scouting Movement. The aim of Scouting is to encourage the physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual development of young people so that they take a constructive place in society as a member of their local and international community.
Some of the world’s most successful people today were once Scouts. Over the last 100 years, Scouting has shaped the lives of many individuals worldwide and these individuals have found ways to make their mark in society. Most of them credit their past involvement in the Scouting Movement as an important part in their success. Some examples of leaders in Australia who attribute their success to Scouting are Andrew Lock OAM, Australia’s most accomplished high altitude mountaineer; Dick Smith AO, Business man, aviator, film maker and explorer; Peter Garrett MP, Federal Minister for School, Education, Early Childhood and Youth; Georgina Sutton, Australia’s first female pilot; Sally Browne, Inspirational Speaker and Fashion Designer; and numerous other personalities.
Even today, Scouts continues to influence numerous people in Australia and around the world. The 2011 Nielsen Online Omnibus Survey indicated that of all youth organisations, Scouts was deemed most valuable in the community by 77 per cent of respondents. 79 per cent of people said it was the best organisation to develop the potential of young people while 58 per cent of respondents said that Scouting developed community leaders.
World renowned adventurer, motivational speaker, host of the famous television series, ‘Man Vs. Wild’ and Chief Scout UK, Bear Grylls, who was recently in Australia, acknowledges Scouts as making him who he is today.
Click here to watch Bear Grylls talking about his experience as a Scout, and his encouragement to others to take up Scouting.
In fact, recently HRH, The Duchess of Cambridge, known to many as Kate Middleton, has become Scouts United Kingdom’s newest Scout Leader.
However it is not just celebrities and royalty who have been inspired by Scouts to become leaders within their community. Australia’s very own 17 year old Scout, Heather Divine, was named Shellharbour City Council’s 2012 Young Citizen of the Year, for her extensive leadership role in doing volunteer respite work at Interchange Illawarra for children with autism.
Heather, who belongs to the First Albion Park Scout Group and is an assistant choreographer for the Scout Korimul Gang Show, was presented with the award during Shellharbour City Council’s 2012 Australian Day ceremony.
Heather, in keeping with the Scout Law and Promise of helping others, began volunteering with the organisation at the age of 15, working with young people. Her brother, who turns 20 this year, struggles with other conditions besides autism.
“I used to (think) I was in a bad position, (but) now I see we’re better off than a lot of others” said Heather.
For more information on Heather’s tremendous accomplishment as a leader within her community click here.