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Celebrations and social media

Wayne’s week included a meet of the Risk committee, several Founders Day celebrations and the best and worst that social media can offer.

Managing our risks

Although I've talked previously about the development of our Culture of Safety, this is of course only one element of risk management within the Movement and so I took the opportunity to join members of the Board's Risk committee.

As well as overseeing the Association's own risk management, the Committee is also tasked with supporting risk management within the wider Movement. Committee members include an excellent mix of experienced volunteers; our professional staff support this area and two external professionals also volunteer their time for this work. 

Building on from what we learnt rolling out the Culture of Safety work, the committee considered a number of actions, in particular, engagement with committee chairs and other officers at a local level. Look out for further support and communication in this area in due course.

Founders Day celebrations

On Friday evening, with the Chief Guide and other members of Girl Guiding UK, we again joined the Dean and congregation of Westminster Abbey to celebrate the birthdays of our founders.

I was delighted to be joined by members of two of the thriving Explorer Units of Stanmore District, Greater London Middlesex West, Alpine and Sher, along with two members of their Scout Network (pictured) for Evensong and the short service of remembrance. This was followed by laying wreaths at the memorials of Robert and Olave Baden-Powell. 

On Sunday, Julie and I were delighted to join members of 'the other Island' (Jersey Scouts) for their annual Founders Day gathering.

Social media: the good and the bad

We saw some of the many benefits of effective use of social media through twitter and Facebook on 22 February, entitled #myscouthero, where members were encouraged to Tweet or post messages highlighting their own Scouting heroes. I saw very many great comments reflecting people's experience; about individuals who had provided excellent Scouting opportunities for them in their early years.

For me this was an excellent example of just how social media can be used to show what we offer to a wider group of people.

Of course social media brings with it other challenges. Over the past few weeks, I have seen a couple of disputes involving the use of social media and where the line between use for Scouting and/or personal use has become blurred. This resulted in comments being posted that some people found offensive, even when such comments are not directed at them.

There have also been a number of comments on Escouts and elsewhere regarding a need for better advice, whether it is around general use of social media or the relationship between members under the age of 18 and their leaders when platforms such as Facebook are the common or desired methods of communication. For me, ‘common sense’ would result in many of these disputes being avoided a lot of the time.  However, I am realistic enough to appreciate that such a definition is near on impossible as what one person finds offensive and another might find to be perfectly normal.

Finding the balance

We have formally picked this up and are presently reviewing our advice and support in this area with some updates to be posted very shortly.  In the meantime, however, I wonder if there isn’t a simple solution that when posting comments online, or indeed elsewhere, one uses the 'grandmother test', that is to say, would you make the comments you are committing to social media in front of your grandmother? Something to ponder perhaps whilst we seek that ever elusive definition of 'common sense'.




By Alan Gordon
on 01/03/2013 11:06

Nice to see you visit the capital of the Channel Islands (that will drive my daughter mad as she also lives in Guernsey) and I agree re social media. our Group struggles to make use of Twitter but we have an active closed Facebook Group where older Scouts are members. We simply ask all members to bear that in mind - and, of course, there is always the delete button. Facebook has been immensely powerful for us helping group growth by 60% in past 12 months. Great for communications, posting pics that we wouldn't post on a public site and it has helped make Scouting "trendy". also used to invite parents to a meeting to help with running the Group - and 16 are coming. Let's keep it simple

By Ewan Scott
on 01/03/2013 12:10

The Grandmother test. That is a good measure. But, from a Leader point of view, we are all adults, we know the difference between right and wrong. We KNOW when something we say or do is wrong. That is really the bottom line, surely. If you know it is wrong, then don't do it.

If we communicate with youth members, then for older Scouts and Explorers, there are two key methods, texting and Facebook. The latter is by far the safer option so long as we don't enter "chat" mode, surely?

By Eddie Langdown
on 03/03/2013 08:00

Yes, I am with Ewan on this, and your common sense principle....

By Karen Shortland
on 04/03/2013 13:29

I agree with the above comments regarding social media. We have found it a useful tool to advertise events coming up with our Band, but will always take extreme care when using Facebook/Twitter etc. Having covered the use of these within our Safeguarding module, we have 'closed' pages on Facebook, only accessible by invitation. The main rule for us is use common sense as others have suggested in their comments.

By Mark P
on 06/03/2013 10:00

You obviously never met my Grandmother! ;-)

By Richard Fenton
on 06/03/2013 13:08

The Grandmother test? What is this? I was fortunate enough to know both of my grandmothers one very prim proper and straight laced, the other a gin drinking straight talking woman who could put a navvie to shame when she chose?
I understand though what you mean Wayne, but perhaps it is time that some people need to be told not to be so precious. But on the other side of that it is also time that some are told that what they do can be causing offence. Guidelines can only be of a help to this...
Once I held a door open for a lady to be told she didn't need me to hold a door for her. Now I didn't do it because she was a woman I did it because it is good manners, her response was not. So it seems that some people do not know when it is the wrong thing, time or place to say something.
And finally if it was common sense would we not come to the same conclusion?

PS could a link or a reminder to your blog be put back on the scouts.org front page, please?

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