Missing you already

Dear Everyone

Some of this I’ve noted in previous Shows – but for me it rings as true for this Show we’ve just shared as any we’ve done before.

I’ve just seen Richard Lane and the other techs at lunch in the Heritage Room at AGS, and that let me know that we are all packed out of the theatre, and everything that is scheduled to be stored away is in storage at Harding Hall. Wardrobe still have some washing ironing and folding to do, but to all practical intents and purposes, ACGS 2019 is now officially at an end.

We have a maybe a month before we begin to think seriously about what we are going to do for ACGS 2021.

In the meantime, as Director for the last time, I’d like to place on record my deep thanks to the Gang and the many folk who form part of the teams who support you. I know I said a lot of this on Saturday midnight/Sunday morning, but I think it’s really important for every single person who helped in any way at all to contribute to the marvellous success that the Show undoubtedly was, to know that what they were able to give in time and talent was most profoundly appreciated.Gang Show has got to be one of the largest regularly occurring volunteer-staffed events which happen in Scouting and Guiding.

Yes, there are Jamborees and Regattas which are exponentially more huge, but many of the services provided are contracted in. Gang Show, on the other hand, from beginning to end is staffed and serviced by enthusiastic volunteers. So we really value whatever people can do to make the Show happen.

Please take this as a personal “Thank You!” from me, whether you took part as a member of the Gang on stage, or in any other of the myriad capacities that ultimately helped the Gang to shine.

One of the things which pleases me (and many others of our GS team) is the way when you join us first you perhaps have no clues about just what Gang Show can be. We go on a journey of challenge and discovery together, and at the end, we hope you’ve been surprised with just how good the final result has been – maybe better than you thought possible. We hope that your families and friends have been surprised, too, and made proud by what you have been able to achieve.

That, of course, is only a part of the story. Because in amongst the challenge and achievement, there has grown a real affection and caring among you, which is something that can’t be replicated by any other experience. In your Patrols, and across the Gang there is an indefinable glowing spirit which has intensified over the weeks we have been together. Baden-Powell was aware of this spirit within Scouting and Guiding, and he hoped that it would so transcend boundaries of “colour, class, creed, or country” that humankind’s tendency towards violence and aggression would be subsumed in a kind of brother- and sisterhood around the world.

Alas! that human negativity he hoped to displace is all-too-powerfully evident to this day; but we can all make a difference in our own way of living.The special thing about Gang Show is that it takes that spirit which is already present in our Movements and strengthens and intensifies it. By the time you reach the end of the season, it is immensely powerful. It is no exaggeration to point out that there have been many marriages/relationships which have started by people meeting in the cast and crew of our Gang Show, and consequently there are people who would never have been born had Gang Show not brought their parents together. Many, many lifelong friendships have also had their genesis in the Gang Show experience.

So I’m pointing out that what you have at the moment is something both precious and rare in this world, and also very special. Yes, you’ve put on a supremely enjoyable Show; but you’ve also participated in a deep human experience which has the potential to affect the rest of your life.

As you reflect on your time in ACGS 2019 in the days and months which lie ahead, my hope is that you will come to treasure this experience which has provided learning and joy, love and friendship, as well as being your time in the spotlight!

There is a cheesy American (where else!) expression which is usually insincere, in that you’re supposed to murmur it as you end a ‘phone conversation – but from me and the team, even though it’s only a few hours out, we can with sincerity say . . .”Missing you already!”

With warm affection, heartfelt thanks, and best wishes to you all,