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Kristen Bailey: A Scout Leader With A Passion For Motorsport

Motorsport enthusiast Kristen Bailey takes scouts to the circuit to learn about life and leadership.

BY SUSAN MULDOWNEY

When Lord Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scouts at the beginning of the 20th century, he wouldn’t have expected motorsport to be an activity for adventurous youth – or that girls would also be behind the wheel. Kristen Bailey AIMM has been volunteering her time with Scouts for the past decade and now she is helping them learn speed skills around Adelaide racetracks.

Volunteering can be a balancing act with your time. Bailey has two jobs – training area manager at not-for-profit Status Employment Services as well as managing her own training consultancy, StaffTrain SA – so she is clearly a skilled juggler.

Bailey first started helping out with the Scouts when her children joined a local Cub branch in South Australia. “The thing I was missing, being a working mum, was the ability to spend time with my kids,” she explains.

FIRST LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP

When Bailey became a Cub leader, she was charged with teaching children aged 8–11 the fine art of leadership.

“We teach kids survival skills. It’s not just about teaching them how to survive in the bush or to cook a three-course meal, it’s about developing them as a whole person to be a leader of tomorrow in the community.”

For young Cubs, this means leading their own small groups within a branch. Activities range from learning to cook eggs to planting sunflower seeds. “They also learn from returned service people or learn about their community,” says Bailey. “When you’re a Cub leader, you instil in them what it’s like to be a leader.”

For young Cubs, this means leading their own small groups within a branch. Activities range from learning to cook eggs to planting sunflower seeds. “They also learn from returned service people or learn about their community,” says Bailey. “When you’re a Cub leader, you instil in them what it’s like to be a leader.”

“We teach kids survival skills. It’s not just about teaching them how to survive in the bush or to cook a three-course meal, it’s about developing them as a whole person to be a leader of tomorrow in the community.”

Today, Bailey’s children have gone on to become Venturer Scouts, a division of Scouts Australia that offers a mix of adventure and personal development for children aged 15–17. Her own volunteer responsibilities have also evolved and she is now an activity leader with Scout Motorsport.

Scouts with an interest in car racing can learn a lot from Bailey – she races her Hyundai Excel five times a year and finished second in the South Australian ladies’ championship (Modern Regularity division). “It’s about engaging with kids and getting them interested in motorsports. What I do on the track is what I teach kids.”

Bailey’s time commitment to the Scouts has varied over the years. “We have a joke in scouting that says, ‘Come join the Scouts – it’s only an hour a week’,” she laughs.

When Scouts SA recently hosted the Australian Venture, which is similar to a Scouts jamboree, Bailey took six days off work to help prepare for it.

Bailey says that the single best leadership lesson she can teach her Scouts is to never give up.

“To be able to teach kids that there’s always another way around things and there’s always people who can help you is a valuable lesson to learn.”

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