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Leadership weekend 2023

Scouts Aotearoa held it’s annual Leadership Weekend over the weekend (8th – 10th September).

It was a jam packed weekend with lots of activities, constructive conversations, and training sessions.

There was also a formal dinner where this year’s Best Practice Awardees were announced and presented with their awards.

A huge BRAVO to the 2023 Best Practice Award recipients….

Supreme Award: Ngāti Toa Sea Scouts

The Supreme Award recognises those who display the characteristics of all of the award categories in their Scouting endeavors. Championing youth development and diversity and inclusion through adventurous, innovative approaches that create a better world involving their community with youth leading the way with phenomenal adult support. They embody all aspects of Scouting including the Scout Promise and Law and the Scout Method.

Better World Award: Sarah Sorensen
The winner of the Better World Award is an individual who has empowered their Scout Group to provide several years of service cooking meals for the charity Kura Kai. Involving the whole community whānau members gifted ingredients and sourced donated food, and everyone got involved with the charity. The meals prepared by Scouts went towards helping vulnerable rangatahi and whānau through a freezer at a local college. Aligning with Matariki the Group took the opportunity to engage with the cultural significance of the occasion in their initiative. Their impact improved the quality of life for those affected by the cyclone in their local area and the difference they made was highlighted through the charity’s social media, aligning the Group with the Matariki star – Waita. Here at Scouts Aotearoa we are honored to recognise the service and contributions of Sarah Sorensen from the Mauao Scout Group through the Better World Award.
Living the Adventure Award: Graham Plows and Ruth Clark

The winners of the Living the Adventure Award were described as the go to example in their Zone when the Zone talk about living the adventure that is Scouting. They are consistently present and always planning the next great activity. From fundraisers, to camps, hikes, sailing, and gang shows. An inspiration and a pleasure to work alongside the individuals are involved not just in the events for their youth at a Group level but also get involved across the Zone. Playing key roles in the “Counties Takeover Camp” seeing over 100 Scouts and volunteers taking on six bases including abseiling, caving, shooting, zip lining, archery, and a mystery base run by Venturers. It is just one example of how much these two do for others. They give their time selflessly and without hesitation. For their passion and their unrelenting impact Scouts Aotearoa presents the Living the Adventure Award to Graham Plows and Ruth Clark of the Papakura Sea Scouts.

Youth Development: Ngāti Toa Sea Scouts

The winner of the Youth Development Award is a Scout Group that has exhibited an ever increasing ability to empower youth through adventurous experience to lead lives that make a positive difference. There is continuous review of how they can make a bigger difference and impact on the lives of the rangatahi that lead the way in the Group. Every Section has embraced an age appropriate level of Youth Leading – Adults Supporting, incorporating programme elements such as the achievement pathways to further expand the growth of every individual. Youth members have led multiple camps and tramps across the North Island and the impact these opportunities have had on the young people shine through in their confidence and abilities to lead. Scouts Aotearoa recognises the Kaiārahi and rangatahi of the Ngāti Toa Sea Scout Group through the Youth Development Award.

Youth Leading, Adult Supporting: Brian Corney
The winner of the Youth Leading – Adults Supporting has unparalleled dedication to nurturing young leaders and has made a profound impact on their community. Through personalized mentorship and empowerment through responsibility, they create an environment where the rangatahi of Scouts can flourish. They are committed to the long-term growth, recognition, and growing of skills that set a remarkable standard for mentorship. Their impact encourages partnership between youth and volunteers with a focus on everyone having fun. Through their guidance youth leaders not only acquire essential skills but also transform into positive influences in their communities. Noted as having an innovative approach in mentoring that fosters a culture of collaboration and leadership that has been recognised within the community beyond Scouting including by the Whangarei Council this volunteer embodies the difference we can make when supporting young people. Scouts Aotearoa is grateful for the opportunity to recognise Brian Corney with the Youth Leading – Adults Supporting Award.
Innovative Approach: Sarah Leslie
The winner of the Innovative Approach Award is an individual who has redefined the ways in which we deliver Scouting with their Scout Group since 2022. Taking the long running concept of the Lone Scout programme and bringing it to the quality and relevant youth programme it is today with the youth voted name of E-Scouts. Through providing both physical and digital options to ensure accessibility for both areas with a lack of internet and for individuals with visual impairments, the award recipient goes the extra mile adapting our programme to termly magazines, organizing monthly online meetings, and supporting growth opportunities. The E-Scouts connect with local Groups to take part in all the camps and adventurous activities Scouts is known for, such as a recent white water rafting trip. The youth take initiative with their own projects as well, which they then share with the other Scouts – including snorkeling, making art displays for local hospitals, and fundraising. The youth are extremely self driven and have raised over $500 for cyclone relief. With the incredible achievements of the young people in mind – Scouts Aotearoa is honored to recognise the support and facilitation of the E-Scouts Group Leader Sarah Leslie through the Innovative Approach Award.
Dame Patsy Reddy Award for Diversity and Inclusion: Jo Sutton
The winner of the Dame Patsy Reddy Diversity and Inclusion Award has shown unwavering dedication in creating an inclusive environment for young people with neurodiversity. They go above and beyond their volunteer roles and show endless commitment to providing educational sessions and hands-on support for other volunteers. Their impact goes beyond just the fair and accommodating spaces they create as they teach others to do the same. They epitomize dedication, innovation, and impact in neurodiversity inclusion within Scouts Aotearoa – breaking down barriers of misunderstanding and stigma. Their collaborative approach with volunteers ensures they are equipped with the necessary tools to offer tailored support and foster an environment where every neurodiverse young person can thrive. Her nationwide influence, both as an individual and as our National Advisor for Diversity and Inclusion, reflects the difference she is making for our movement. It is with great pride that Scouts Aotearoa recognises Jo Sutton with the Dame Patsy Reddy Diversity and Inclusion Award.
Community Engagement: Westshore Sea Scout Group

The winner of the Community Engagement Award is a Scout Group that has been noted as humble without recognition. Unsung heroes that have a high level of pride and presence in their community. The group has operated in their city for over 80 years and is called on to participate in all events and celebrations held. Their reputation is strong and commendable and every year their calendar includes ANZAC day celebrations where they serve breakfast to retired seamen, marching in both of the country renowned Art Deco parades, and participating with their local iwi in Waitangi Day reenactments rowing the Clive River at dawn. The youth show immense pride in their Group and the volunteers are friendly, easy-going, and welcoming. In the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle the Venturer Unit that operates with the Group got together and went out into the community to help people whose houses had been destroyed by the flooding. The Scouts were showing up and helping those in need. It is with great pleasure that Scouts Aotearoa recognise the Westshore Sea Scout Group through the Community Engagement Award.