Our Q&A with Andrew Pickersgill, who recently took up post as our Growth and Development Officer.
Andrew, welcome to your new role in Merseyside Scouts! How are you feeling about being the Growth Development Officer for Merseyside?
It’s quite a privilege, and aside of all the usual new job nerves, I’m really excited and very much looking forward to working across the County engaging with our amazing volunteers and members to help support and deliver opportunities for more adults and young people to come and join the incredible skills for life adventures of Scouting.
What attracted you to the Growth Development Officer Role for Merseyside?
Having been involved for almost thirteen years, I have had the honour of seeing first hand just how positive an impact Scouting has on all who participate - not just our young members receiving the programme, but all those who volunteer to support its delivery. And, aside of being my Scouting Home County (for which I could be seen as being a little biased); I truly believe Merseyside is in an amazing position, with the current County Commissioner, Chair, Trustees and wider team members who make up Team Merseyside, to be really shouting from the rooftops – shouting for people of all ages and backgrounds to come and join in this truly transformational skills for life adventure!
Tell our members a bit about yourself?
I’ve had a broad and varied career, with the bulk of my previous employment being within the Civil Service, and I more recently started my own business, delivering complementary therapies; as well as coaching, mentoring and facilitating.
My Scouting background started in the summer of 2006, when I was invited as a parent to help with a Summer Camp - only to leave camp fully uniformed and invested as the Beaver Scout Leader for 12thWallasey. Then in 2010, I took over as Group Scout Leader, and have grown into various additional roles, but which now just include: County Trainer – Executive Committees; Chair of TVSG (Tawd Vale Steering Group), responsible for the County’s Adventure Centre governance on behalf of the County Board; and more recently, Mental Health Awareness Coordinator for Wallasey.
Despite the many things I’ve been engaged in doing, I still feel like a novice when I consider the vast knowledge and skills of many of my peers. And I think that’s what is so exciting, for me, about Scouting – it’s still new and fresh, always evolving, and I learn something almost every week… be that a Beaver showing me their ingenious uses for self-adhesive googly eyes, or, a new adult joining in activities and showing us new ways of working.
Last album you listened to?
Oh heck… I’ve such eclectic taste I actually had to check what’s playing, and in the background as I type this is ‘Shamanic Dream II’ by Anugama… don’t ask!!! But other recent listening includes Queen – Night of the Opera; Kiss – Greatest Hits; Motown Playlist; 80’s Rock Playlist and it goes on… all I can probably say is, if you’re ever driving with me, best ask me to just keep the radio on.
You’re stuck on a desert island, what 3 things do you take with you?
My hammock (providing there were trees); My wife’s hammock; My wife.
If you could choose any meal what would it be?
It would have to be an Indian banquet… although, my preferred max strength on heat is the three chillies symbol 🌶🌶🌶!
If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning a medal for?
I’d be the Undisputed, Undefeated, and Heavyweight Champion of being ‘stupid is as stupid does’ – if acting the goat and being a big kid (as a grown up that is) were an Official Olympic Sport.
Just one? Hmm… I need to put my top three, sorry: 1 – Dead Poets Society; 2 – A Few Good Men; and, 3 – Men of Honour.
Just one, again? Hmm… I need to put my top three, again: 1 - The Alchemist, by Paula Coelho; 2 - The Crack in the Cosmic Egg: New Constructs of Mind and Reality, by Joseph Chilton Pearce; and, 3 - Jack Reacher, by Lee Child (all 25 books in the series and I know that’s cheating even more as it makes 27 all told)
What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?
Crikey – err... probably Social Science and the Economics of the Labour Market, but I’d send even myself to sleep. I think it fair to say, I’d be quite happy with open forum dialogue and debate on any subject, as I love the learning and interaction of that sort of format.
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Pause, and take a really long moment to sense the beauty and magnificence of something natural around you – like perhaps laying down on rain drenched grass, at night, during a thunderstorm, and letting the rain patter over you as you look upward to watch the lightning dance betwixt the clouds… but don’t fall asleep!!! If you want a simpler answer, then: Sleep in a hammock in the woods overnight.
What is something that your friends would consider “so you”?
Wearing shorts in all weathers, all year round, including the winter!
What can you not get right, no matter how many times you try?
There’s lots of things I don’t get right, but I generally don’t quit and keep on trying until I get it right - if I’m making mistakes, then I know I’m trying!
Do you have a claim to fame?
I’ve had several poems published, if that counts.
Ever met a famous person?
I have met quite a few: Was attending lunch with Mo Mowlam… William Hague too at a different event, and various other politicians too. When I was a wee lad, on my first trip to London, Glen Murphy (George from London’s Burning) signed my Evening Standard, and then two minutes later I had an encounter with John Cole, the BBC political editor at a pedestrian crossing. I used to serve Ice-cream to Sonia (the singer) on a weekly basis many moons ago; and, I’ve spent some time with Louis Emerick (Mick from Brookside) who lives locally.
If you can have dinner with a famous person, who would it be?
Billy Connolly – what a life...
If you could make a 20 second phone call to yourself at any point in your life past or future, when would you call and what would you say?
‘Great Scott’ – doing that could unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum… have you not watched Back to the Future?!?! Every bit of what has been, has made me who I am - what’s to come, well, as Einstein said ‘why worry about the future, it will come soon enough’.