Introducing our Chief Commissioner
We are really excited to be welcoming Andrew Sharkey as the next Chief Commissioner of Scotland. We’ve asked Andrew – known as ‘Sharkey’ by many in the movement – to answer a few questions so we can all get to know him a bit better.
What are you most looking forward to in the role?
Having the opportunity to help continue the great work done by Graham Haddock and ensuring Scottish Scouting continues to grow in numbers and quality. I’m really looking forward to getting around and seeing excellent Scouting happening all over the country and enabling the good practice to be shared widely and developed further. I would also love to help more adults have the confidence to join Scouting. I sometimes think we do such a good job telling people what great adventures we have that potential leaders don’t feel confident enough about their own abilities to want to join us.
Why did you want to do the role?
I feel very humbled to have been given the role and hope I can do the position justice. I’m excited at having the opportunity to further develop Scouting. This will include getting Scottish Scouting to better reflect the diversity of our communities and getting Groups started in areas that currently don’t have Scouting, particularly in our more deprived communities. Scouting can give young people so many skills for life including leadership, confidence, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills, as well as friendships that often go on to last a lifetime.
What is your favourite Scouting moment?
Am I allowed ‘moments’? One of my current roles in Scouting is as Camp Chief of Blair Atholl Jamborette. I’ve attended the camp every two years since 1988. And a favourite moment every time is the final campfire. For the previous ten days, 1,000 young people from around the world have lived, worked and played together. It’s a model of great international Scouting and friendship that never fails to move me.
How are you going to spend your first 100 days in the role?
Learning and listening! Graham was an inspirational Chief Commissioner, building on the great work undertaken by his predecessors. I’ve got to work hard to ensure that progress continues and, whilst we need to continually adapt to today’s young people and society, I also want to ensure I don’t lose the essence of what makes Scouting in Scotland so special.
What is the best skill you’ve learned through Scouting?
I think what’s great about being involved in Scouting is that you’re always learning. Earlier this year I went to the Parent and Child Cub camp at Scout Adventures Meggernie with my eldest son and we learnt how to make fire by rubbing sticks together (and no they weren’t matches!). I also discovered that I may be a bit old to be learning the skill of space hopper racing! Overall Scouting has given me the confidence to try new things and to explore and respect the world around us. I love working with my local Group supporting them in giving my children these opportunities and skills. And now, as Chief Commissioner, I hope to help as many people as possible across Scotland find out what Scouting can do for them.