Passionate Leaders recognised at Scouts NSW Greater Western Sydney Region presentation
Published Fri 03 Nov 2023
It was a packed house at NBC Sports Club on Sunday for Greater Western Sydney Region’s presentation ceremony for Scouts Australia’s Adult Recognition Awards.
More than 200 of Scouts NSW’s quality Leaders were recognised in this year’s awards, announced in August.
At the GWS event, Assistant Chief Commissioner – Program Niamh Hitchman (pictured right) recognised the great work adult Leaders do.
“I believe that our youth are the heart of our Movement. However, if they are the heart of what we do, all of you sitting here today are the foundations that keep our Movement thriving,” she said.
“Today, we have gathered to honour your time, your efforts and your unwavering support to our Movement and to take this time to appreciate your service in a small way. The journey of a young person through Scouting is a testament to both the power of positive leadership and also to the power of community.
“Thank you for dedicating your time, your passion, your energy and for your commitment to our organisation.”
Amongst those recognised were Hills District Adviser Brian “Kimba” Roberts, who received both the Silver Kangaroo and a commendation for 60 years’ service to Scouts NSW.
The Silver Kangaroo is one of the highest accolades in Scouts, awarded to active Leaders for exceptional service and a highly valued contribution to Scouts over a long period of time.
Brian said he still found it hard to believe he had been awarded the accolade.
“It took me time to take this in as it’s something I had never expected at this stage in my life,” he said.
“As an adult Leader for more than 60 years, my philosophy has been to encourage, pass on and share all my Scouting skills and experience with every Cub Scout, Scout, Venturer and new Leader, to enhance their training and Scouting life.
“My training at 1st Parramatta from Cub Scout through to Rover has been the basis of my Scouting life and I can name at least 14 people that had a total involvement in my development over that time.”
One of those attended his presentation – his long-time friend and fellow former 1st Parramatta Scout Bernie “Kui” Chaloner (pictured below).
The pair met when Brian started at 1st Parramatta Scout Group as a Cub Scout, with Bernie four years older. They immediately hit it off.
“You soon learn in life who the genuine people are and Brian was always very genuine,” Bernie said.
“I remember in Scouting, pitching tents in the rain and doing badges together.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all (that Brian received the Silver Kangaroo). He deserves it. He’s the epitome of what a good Leader is, his devotion to Scouting is excellent, there’s no holding him back. He always had a natural feel of talking to kids and encouraging them to explore.”
Brian fondly remembered being taken on his first “big walk” with Bernie and their other friend Alfred Vine. Brian was almost 15 at the time, with Bernie and Alfie Leaders at 18.
“I was moving from Scouts to Senior Scouts, now Venturers, and they took me on a bushwalking journey from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves,” Brian said.
“Later, we joined up in Rovers and spent more time together.”
They found one of the greatest joys about Scouting in each other – true friendship – attending weddings, and also funerals, together.
Brian’s wife Marg (pictured left) was also proud of Brian’s achievements.
“Scouting has brought so much love and happiness into the house,” she said.
“I don’t remember ever moaning about Brian having to do something Scouting. Even if 50 years ago I was spending three or four nights a week alone with four kids!”
Brian was one of 52 recipients of Adult Recognition Awards in GWS.
A Silver Kangaroo was also awarded to Jeffery Harrison (pictured below left), while the Alan Overton AM Award was presented to Tracey Priest and Shane Selwood (pictured below right).