A Narre Warren scout leader has taken a lead role in planning the Scouts Victoria contingent in the annual Midsumma Pride March.
Kaine St Paul helped plan Scouts’ involvement in the annual march in St Kilda on Sunday 23 May – the sixth time youth from Scouts Victoria have marched to celebrate diversity and the inclusive environments local Scout groups create for young people.
In previous years, Scouts Victoria has been able to invite all LGBTIQA+ members, their allies, friends and family to the march however this year, 15 members represented the whole organisation’s membership with 20-year-old Kaine as part of the planning team.
In 2019 over 200 people came with the Scout contingent and in 2020, over 300 – so the 2021 team knew that it was their duty to represent all those people as well as the wider 22,000 members of Scouting in Victoria.
The Scouts’ contingent included members from Geelong, Caroline Springs, Ballarat, Pakenham, Essendon, Eltham, Doncaster, Trafalgar, Mordialloc and Sandringham representing the state-wide scope of Scouting.
The youngest member of the team was a Cub Scout aged 10 while three adult volunteers supported the group.
(David) Wombat Lyons, state commissioner – diversity and inclusion at Scouts Victoria, said the work and participation by the team and volunteers like Kaine reinforced that Scouting is a movement that welcomes all people.
“Scouting is for all young people – regardless of gender, faith, language, location, or sexual orientation,” Mr Lyons said.
“For young people Scouts is a safe and more supportive environment, a place where they can be themselves while having fun and adventure with peers.
“We are proud to be out celebrating diversity and sharing a message that Scouting is an inclusive, welcoming and contemporary organisation.
“Scouting is a diverse and adventurous program – from rock climbing to theatre sports – and [the march] reinforced that it’s a program for all.”
As well as the 15 Scout members who were marching on the day, members of all ages signed up to a “marching @ home” event and shared messages of pride and support to the LGBTIQA+ community during the march with their local Scouting networks.
Kaine said that being part of the Pride March meant young people could express their true selves and be allies to the LGBTIQA+ community.
“It’s great to think we have support from all ages,” he said.
“As a gay man myself Pride March for myself is so important because you get express you true self without any judgement from anyone which is so great for all LGBTIQA+ humans.
Kaine, who has been in Scouts for about a year, is a Scout Leader for the 5th Sandringham regiment and helps out with the advantage Scouts section for 11-16-year-olds with a disability.
He said Scouts is “overwhelmingly” inclusive and “diverse in every way”.
“I’m honoured to be a part of such a fabulous movement. I have never felt I could be more myself in any place than Scouts and you make fantastic friendships with so many wonderful people in Scouts.”