Though our magazines are crafted in offices nearly 5,000 miles apart, the editors of Scouting magazine (U.S.) and Scouting magazine (U.K.) share more than just a name.
We have similar philosophies in how we cover the Scouting movement. And we must overcome similar challenges in doing so.
Last week, my dad and I spent a day at the headquarters of the U.K. Scout Association as part of a weeklong personal vacation to England. (Personal meaning I paid for it, not BSA.)
I’ll share the highlights of our visit in two parts. In this post, I’ll tell you about my time with Matt Jones, one of the editors of the U.K. version of Scouting magazine.
In Part 2, I’ll take you inside the Scout Association’s archives to check out Baden-Powell’s actual Wood Badge beads, and we’ll head to the original Gilwell Park, where the first Wood Badge course was held in 1919.
First, let’s see what the “other” Scouting magazine looks like.
My dad and I met Matt Jones at the train station in Chingford, a 26-minute trip north from central London.
After a short drive (on the “other” side of the road, naturally), we arrived at the spacious and splendid headquarters of U.K. Scouting.
More than just office buildings, Gilwell Park is home to a busy conference center and activity center, open to Scout and non-Scout groups for team-building activities, camping and fun. All are welcome, and any American Scouts and Scouters who stop by are sure to be greeted warmly as fellow members of the world Scout movement.
After getting our visitor badges, we checked out the area where Matt and his fellow Scouting editors work. His workstation (on the left below) is similar in size to my cubicle, though mine’s twice as messy. His desk, like mine, is filled with Scout handbooks and reference materials, in addition to an array of other magazines. I even spotted an open copy of our Scouting magazine on his desk. I’ve got an open copy of his Scouting on my desk as I type this, and I’ll freely admit I’ve adapted a few ideas from U.K. Scouting magazine for blog posts and story subjects.
Matt then showed us to a conference area where we could sit down and chat, but not before he brought us some coffee and biscuits. That legendary British courtesy is real.
Next we talked for about an hour and learned that our magazines deal with many of the same issues (pardon the pun).
For example, we both often hear about great Scouting adventures after the fact. A Scout leader will tell us of something incredible they did last weekend — too late for the magazine to send a writer and photographer to cover it. (Sidebar: Submit your story idea to the U.S. Scouting magazine here, and please do so well before your amazing adventure.)
Both Scouting and Scouting use professional writers and photographers for stories and photos, but we rely on Scouts and volunteer leaders for the majority of our story ideas.
Our magazines are funded by the organizations we serve, and we each strive to enhance a leader’s Scouting experience through inspirational stories, ideas for improving a Scout’s journey through the program and answers to questions leaders are asking.
You can read stories from both magazines online, too. I hope you already use our Scouting magazine website for stories that help you lead, inspire and explore. But I’d also encourage you to check out the terrific U.K. Scouting magazine website.
Though we use different terms for programs and awards, both Scout organizations are part of the worldwide Scout movement and have the same goal: helping a young person become prepared for life.
After our chat, we stepped inside the U.K. Scout Association’s archives and walked around Gilwell Park. More on that in Part 2 tomorrow.
Thanks to Matt and his Scouting magazine colleagues for their hospitality. I’ll leave you with one more photo of Matt and me as we went our separate ways. Until next time!