DC’s Blog 12 July 2018

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It’s been a while since we’ve written a blog. That doesn’t mean that not a lot is happening – far from it. There’s so much, I hardly know where to begin.

Steve Ball, Ian MacKenzie
DCs, Wiltshire North

In this blog:

  1. AGMs and dealing with new committee members
  2. District development and growth
  3. What shall we do for St George’s Day?
  4. Catching up with appointment reviews
  5. A little bit of what’s going on

AGMs and dealing with new committee members

We’re well and truly into AGM season. Between us, Ian and Steve are just about managing to get around the AGMs we’ve been invited to. It’s great to see thriving groups, enthusiastically support by parents, leaders and committee members.

Wiltshire North District Scout AGM will take place at Langley Burrell Village Hall (postcode SN15 4LL) on Tuesday, 17 July 2018 at 19:30. Anyone involve in Scouting in the District is very welcome.

Many Scout groups will find themselves with one or more new committee members following their AGM. As charity trustees, it’s important that they go through the Scout disclosure and vetting process, which means putting them onto Compass and verifying their identity just as with any other adult volunteer. It’s also important to have an honest conversation with them about the training that’s required. It’s designed to help them understand their role as Trustee properly and see where they fit into the governance and running of the Group. It doesn’t take long, but it is important.

District development and growth

Across the district, demand for Scouting at every level exceeds what we’re able to supply. Two geographical areas, in particular, have very large waiting lists – which suggest there are plenty of young people to get new groups started. Of course, we don’t only need you people for thriving Scout groups – we also need venues and adults to run them.

If we can sort out a venue and a handful of adults to run some taster sessions, the Scout Regional Development team are happy to support us in establishing new groups in Chippenham and Malmesbury. We’re going to try to setup new Groups in these areas, starting sometime in September. We’ve already got some exploratory work on venues – hiring school primary school halls in the evening looks favourite. We do need some folk to help us run those crucial first few weeks to get the groups off the ground.

Would you be prepared to help run the first 4-6 weeks of a new Beaver Colony in Malmesbury or Chippenham? If so, please do let us know. There are ready-made, tried and tested programmes, so these sessions are relatively pain-free to run. There are lots of details still to work out – like details of the venues and which night(s) of the week. At this stage, there may be an opportunity to influence things to fit around your other commitments.

What shall we do for St. George’s Day?

Soon after our St Georges Day parade and service this year, we ran a survey to gather views about what we should do next year. The overwhelming view was to try something quite different – an activity day, for all sections, in a less traditional setting.

A couple of months on, we need to get a group of people together who will lead the establishment of this event: finding and agreeing a venue; deciding the format; organising volunteers to run the activity; setting a budget; marketing the event etc.

Would you be prepared to take a part in shaping this event? If so, please let us know. We really need some help with this if we’re to do something different in 2019.

Catching up with appointment reviews

As volunteers in Scouting, it’s important that we have regular contact with our line managers, we discuss how things are going and what support we need to thrive and enjoy our roles. At their best, those conversations are informal, frequent and a natural part of working together.

As a minimum, each individual should meet and formally review how things are going at least every 5 years. It’s an opportunity to discuss plans for the future that suit Scouting and the individual and agree what to do next. That might be continuing in the same role, trying something different or saying thank you and planning for a step away from Scouting.

At those formal review points, there’s a check on currency of important training – First Aid; Safeguarding and Safety and a decision to be made about whether to extend the person’s role; suggest a new role; or something else.

When the review has taken place, it’s important to submit a form to summarise the details of the discussion. The District Appointments Advisory Committee will take a look at the recommendation from the review and advise us as DCs on renewal of appointments or other outcomes.

There are long-standing review forms, available on the Scout website, but we’re aware that the administration around completing these can be a barrier for some. Feedback about the nights away notification form on our website has been good – so we’ve replicated the review form in the same way. If you’d prefer to use the original form, that’s absolutely fine.

If you’d like a simpler, quicker way to report the details of the review, you can review form.

We’ll soon start chasing up formal reviews which are due or, in some cases well overdue. We hope that individuals and line managers will all see this as a good opportunity to discuss how things are going and plan for the future.

A little bit of what’s going on

The truth is that there is a huge amount going on. Perhaps that’s inevitable given the fantastic weather over the last few weeks, but its clear that everyone is working incredibly hard to provide high quality Scouting opportunities for young people.

The range of nights away notifications we’re receiving is great to see. It’s clear that fantastic opportunities are being offered all across the District. Thank you everyone who is putting in so much effort to allow that to happen.

Rather than a long list of events, a handful of great highlights to whet your appetite:

  • District Cub Camp at an incredibly hot Woodhouse Park
  • Upcoming District Beaver trip to PGL at Liddington
  • Upcoming international trips for Explorers from across the District going to Canada and Scouts from 10th Chippenham going to Ypres.
  • A fantastic result for 1st Malmesbury Scouts, winning Strategy 2018. Coming top of 1,700 Scouts and 290 teams from across the country is no mean feat. Well done!
  • A number of Scouts from 10th Chippenham and Explorers from Endeavour ESU have got airborne in gliders / light aircraft in recent weeks. What a fantastic experience for them.