As County Commissioner of Solihull I am often asked to present awards and speak at County events. In the early days I would fly by the seat of my pants quickly learning that good public speaking needs a clearer message than can be delivered through the medium of umm’s and stagnant pauses as I think about what to say next and I now plan in advance.
This has it’s drawbacks like when the Mayor thanked all the people on my list to thank, but generally gets me through.
But I thought it’d be nice to publish the transcript from the Chief Scout’s Silver Awards presentations, a talk I gave on having an adventure.
It’s been around 12 months since I stood here last congratulating the Chief Scout’s Silver award holders sat right where you are currently sat and like then I’m going to ask you to do the same thing I asked them.
I’m going to ask you to have an adventure.
In these modern times it’s far too easy to watch our heroes on TV and to pitch ourselves in feats of courage on a computer screen, or disappear in a world of cute cat pictures on Facebook.
Helen Keller said that “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing”. Helen Keller was a deaf blind person born in 1880 who broke through the isolation imposed by what then was a near complete lack of language to become an author, a political campaigner and to earn a degree. When Helen talks of adventure she doesn’t mean to be the fastest, or to climb the highest but to get the most that you can out of life.
When I ask you to have an adventure I’m not asking you all to become our Chief Scout Bear Grylis and perform amazing feats of survival and such I’m asking you to make the most of what you have to enjoy the time you have and to seize every day.
Edmund Hillary the chap that was the first to summit Mt Everest wrote “You don’t have to be a hero to accomplish great things… to compete. You can just be an ordinary person, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals.”
Who decides what’s challenging?
Who decides on the goals?
So as you leave here today with your silver awards, spare some time to think about what your next adventure might be and what sort of person do you want to be? Do you want to be someone who dreams the impossible dream while watching the television or do you want to be someone who looks for adventure in everything they do, turning everyday into an adventure.
Before we leave there are a few more people we need to thank, firstly dear award holders we need to offer our applause and thanks to your leaders who have supported and guided you though your award.
Secondly we need to thank your parents, guardians, and families who have also supported you, dropped you off at meetings and taken you to your camps.
I’d like to leave you with one more thing taken from the book Peter Pan by JM Barrie. The scene is set in chapter 4 and the children have just arrived in never land and are flying with our hero Peter Pan.
“Would you like an adventure now, Peter said casually to John, or would you like to have your tea first?”
Ladies and gentlemen… choose adventure, the tea can wait.