About Boys' Brigade New Zealand » BBNZ Executive
Paul Blackler - National President
It always amazes me the number of people that know of or have experienced 'Brigade', yet are genuinely surprised to learn that the movement is still going. Why is that? How have they come to that conclusion, and as a movement how do we market the fact that we have a very much alive and vibrant origination?
These are all some of the questions and challenges that face our movement today; a movement which operates in a world that continues to see a watering down of the moral values that it fundamentally stands for. As individuals before we can consider these points, perhaps we need to challenge ourselves. If we really believe in our Object of advancing Christ's Kingdom among boys', then are we prepared to be absolutely united in our focus in achieving this, even if it may require that we need to do things differently than done in the past?
Why do I share these comments in what is effectively my profile? In many ways these comments summarise what I believe are critical for our movement taking the next step forward. Accordingly, I need to be upfront right from the start and note that if elected as President I will be challenging you all in these areas. That is not to say that I have all the answers – I don't. However, I do have a great deal of confidence in the 'brains trust' that is our Executive and leaders that serve our movement.
So now a little bit about me. I am married to Jennifer and we have three teenage children - David, Michelle and Andrew. We could be described as a 'Brigade family', with Jennifer serving locally in the 29th Christchurch Girls' Brigade Company as well as holding a position on GB National Executive. All our children have been involved in Brigade since the age of five with David and Michelle now serving in leadership roles in the 1st Christchurch BB and 29th Christchurch GB companies respectively.
I began my BB journey with the 7th CH-CH Company as boy and later serving for a number of years in both Team and Company Sections. After a break (marriage and mission work in Papua New Guinea) I joined the 1st Christchurch Company in 1996 where I continue to serve in the Company Section. Other previous BB roles have included chairing The Sure and Stedfast Development Trust – the trust responsible for management of BB campsites at Waipara and Birch Hill in Canterbury.
I am often asked why I still serve in BB. For me the answer is very easy: "I believe in our Objective". Yes the words may be viewed as a little out-dated, but the intent remains just a relevant as when it was written some 125 plus years ago. Simplistically I serve because I want to see Christ's Kingdom advanced among boys and beyond.
Michael Good - National Director
Michael joined BBNZ on 28th November and is already showing capable servant leadership, particularly relating to the staff. His personal profile may be found on the Staff page.
Eric Russell - National Treasurer
Eric has had a long involvement with the Boys' Brigade, passing through the ranks of 1st Blenheim from Team Section through to gaining the Queens' Badge in 1968. He served for a time in the 70's as a lieutenant in 14th Wellington Company, and as Treasurer for the Wellington Battalion. He currently works for a firm of chartered accountants in Te Aroha. His wife Wendy is a great supporter, providing time to enable him to carry out the financial work of Brigade.
Ian Foster - Northern Area Representative
I am married to Adele (24 years), and we have 3 children - Liam (16), Holly (13), Jensen (9).
I lead, with the support of other great leaders, an Iconz Adventure/Anchor section in Papatoetoe (formerly the 5th Auckland Team Section) with approx. 25 boys. My involvement with Boys Brigade has been since starting as a boy in the early 1970’s. I became involved in leadership becoming a leader in the early 1980’s. Both our boys are involved, Jensen in Adventure and Liam in Xtreme.
1981 – 2002; employed by NZ Rail as a Diesel Mechanic.
2002 – 2008; real estate sales for the Professionals Group.
2008 to present - CEO/Trustee for the South Auckland Christian Foodbank – visit us at www.sacfb.org.nz
I also have 19 year’s experience in the Property Investment/Management sector, and serve on some local boards in our community.
Spare time is spent supporting Liam in his road cycling and Holly and Jensen in their soccer. I also enjoy Motor racing and boating with the family.
Scott Billington - Central Area Representative
I have been involved in BB since joining the 2nd Palmerston North Team section in 1983. I have been at 2nd since then, apart from a time while at Auckland University. During that time I joined in with the Papatoetoe Combined Company. I gained my Queen’s Badge in 1993.
I am currently the LIC Company Section, and am also active at Battalion level as Manawatu’s President. I have previously served on National Executive between 2000 and 2004.
I work as a radio engineer, mainly servicing the power industry. Outside of work, other things I’m occupied with include Amateur radio, bits and pieces at Palmerston North Central Baptist Church, and dispatching the odd possum.
I believe BB is a great programme which effectively blends Christianity and the outdoors and is an important influence for many of our members.
Shane Cross - Upper South Area Representative
I am 47 and married to Tracey. We have 3 children – Jared 20, Nathan 16 and Emily 12, and also a foster girl Shanae, 13. All of our children are/have been involved with Brigade. Jared was a Queen’s Man in 2009 and is now studying at Victoria University. Nathan is well on the way to gaining his to make it 3 out 3 for the boys. I received my Queen’s Badge in 1981 while a member of the 1st Renwick Company.
I became re-acquainted with Brigade in 2000 as my own boys were getting to that age. I'd enjoyed the opportunities it provided me as a boy I wanted to assist my own sons to gain those experiences too. I got on board as a leader in the Team Section at our Company, 1st Blenheim, then progressed to be Captain a couple of years later. It's a great way of re-kindling those old memories of camps and tramps and being with other like-minded men to give the boys, our future leaders, the tools, experiences and examples of what a "True Christian Manliness" looks like.
For the last 4 years I have also been involved with NLDC as a Stage 1 Leader. This is a great opportunity for the boys, but has also been for me too. There is so much to be gained from experiences such as this and keeps you passionate about what you do.
Who we are and what we have to offer is just a relevant today as it was when BB first started. To see it thrive is our passion so we can see boys changed to men, fathers give to sons and communities strengthened through positive Christian role models.
David Gray - Lower South Area Representative
I joined the Life Boys at age 8 and progressed through to Company Section with the 11th Southland Company, becoming a Sergeant and achieving my Queens Badge. I then spent a year as a helper with that Company before heading off to Otago University.
On returning 5 years later I was appointed as an officer, and the following year (1981) as Captain of the 11th Southland Company. After serving there as Captain for about 8 years I transferred to the 3rd Southland Company (other end of town) where I joined as a Lieutenant, then LIC of the Team Section and then Captain, the position I still hold.
I have been an active member of the Southland Battalion being Treasurer for far too many years and was Battalion President for a 3 year term.
My passions in life are Boys Brigade, the outdoors, fishing, whitebaiting, soccer (player and coach) and tramping with our Boys Brigade Company. I am a self employed accountant with a home based practice that allows me time to devote to Boys Brigade and other pursuits.
I am 55 years young, married to Dianne with 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls. One of my sons achieved his Queen's Badge with Boys Brigade and both my daughters have achieved their Queen's Award through Girls Brigade, it's part of our family. My calling for Christian Service is Boys Brigade and has been all my life.
Appointment of a Youth Rep. is expected to be made during 2013.