Scout leader finds new path in digital age

One of SA’s most respected marketing and advertising professionals, Ms Turbill has just been appointed chief commissioner of Scouts SA.

The first female chief commissioner to lead SA’s 7000 Joeys, Cubs and Scouts, Venturers and Rover Scouts, her first challenge is guiding the organisation into the online environment it has been thrust into because of COVID-19 restrictions.

With the traditional weekly Scout group meetings outlawed for the foreseeable future, pushing such activities on to online platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to ensure the movement continues to flourish is a priority.

“I think Scouts have risen to the challenge,’’ Ms Turbill said.

“And I think from a marketing perspective, it is one of the best opportunities Scouts has had for decades.

“Scouting has to compete with every other extra-curricular activity, such as video games and a whole range of other things kids are involved with these days.

“I also see Scouting from home providing a platform for the non-Scouting community that may never have considered Scouts. I think we will fill quite a big void for parents who are struggling to keep kids at home occupied and entertained.’’

She said while children missed the regular interaction at Scout halls, they had rapidly adapted to the online environment to continue their involvement with Scouting.

Ms Turbill said a Scouting From Home initiative would soon be available online to the general community for no charge to help parents through future months. “We are doing it because we are part of the community,’’ she said.

As the first female chief commissioner, Ms Turbill sees herself as a role model for female Scouts, who make up about 40 per cent of the 7000 Scouts in SA.

“I will be giving my best shot,’’ she said. “The congratulations I have had for leading the movement have come more from females than males.” Ms Turbill, who has been involved with Scouts SA for the past 14 years – most recently as vice-president – runs her own marketing company and is well known in SA’s business community.

Her current board positions include Eldercare, the Kain Foundation, the University of Adelaide’s postgraduate advisory board and she is chair of the Regional Development Australia Adelaide board.

Ms Turbill said her first role with Scouts SA involved market research, which resulted in an invitation to join its board.

“I have enjoyed it immensely,’’ she said. “I have been actively advocating for Scouts as a youth organisation but also as a very successful business in SA.”

She said the outcomes for youths involved with Scouting were the most appealing aspect for her, along with the story of the movement itself.

“It is the resilience, the need for the educative process that Scouts provides that no one else provides is the reason I love it so much,” she said. “It is really worthwhile.’’

Scouts SA president Paul Dickson welcomed Ms Turbill’s appointment, stating she was “a great asset to Scouting’’.

“She has shown exemplary support for Scouting, both nationally and locally,’’ he said.