Federation Chamber

Dr HAINES (Indi) (18:08): Today I’d like to recognise the incredible work of the many young people and adults involved in Scouts and Girl Guides across Indi.

Indi is home to 16 Scouts and 11 Girl Guides groups, stretching from Yea to the Indigo Valley to Corryong. These form a part of the 17,000 youth members and 5,000 adult volunteers involved in scouting programs across Victoria, and they form part of an even larger story.

Girl Guides Victoria is connected to more than 10 million members in over 150 countries. Over 500 million people worldwide have participated in scouting programs. More than a billion people have been through the global scouting movement in the last 110 years. Scouts has stood the test of time in part because it speaks to the universal values that are as relevant today as they were a century ago.

Scouts Australia is about supporting individuals to develop a sense of personal identity and self-worth; the belief that young people are able and willing to take responsibility and contribute to society; and the importance of mutual support and help between members of a community to maximise quality of life for all.

Girl Guides, the sister organisation of Scouts, also has lessons relevant for all young women in today’s world. Back in 1909, at the formation of what was then the Boy Scouts, a small group of girls insisted that they wanted to be Scouts too. At the time, the idea of girls getting their hands dirty in outdoor activities like camping and hiking was seen as radical—a bit like a woman joining parliament!

According to the Girl Guides’ official history, the idea was denounced as a ‘mischievous new development’, a ‘foolish and pernicious movement’ and an ‘idiotic sport’. But those girls won, and in 1910 the Girl Guides was established.

Today it is one of the largest all-female organisations in the world. Girl Guides is about building confidence, self-reliance, team-building and leadership. I think all of us—men and women, boys and girls—can take inspiration from that early example of the first Girl Guides.

I know that this year has been a tough one for all the Scouting groups in Victoria. Because of the restrictions, there were no in-person Guiding activities during terms 2 and 3, and only now are groups able to start meeting again in small gatherings and tentatively planning for a better 2021.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to celebrate the recently completed upgrade of the Baranduda Memorial Hall, home to the 1st Baranduda Scouts Group. Group leader Brendan Greaves leads a vibrant group of young people in the fast-growing Baranduda area near Wodonga. The upgraded hall, originally built in 1955, now has new insulation, new floors, two office spaces, a kitchen and bathrooms. Importantly, the upgrade also includes accessibility improvements, with a disabled shower and toilet and a ramp going out the front of the hall. I wish the 1st Baranduda Scouts Group all the best for a much brighter 2021 in your new facility, and I look forward to visiting you all there.

And I congratulate all young people involved in Scouts and Guides right across Indi. The skills you develop, the lessons you learn through Scouting, will stay with you for a lifetime, and there is no better way to get out and enjoy the beautiful setting of North East Victoria than to get out with your Scouts or Girl Guides group and have a camp. Best of luck, and, now that we can start to meet face to face again, I look forward to getting out there and visiting you right across Indi into the New Year.

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