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Chief Commissioner's blog| The strength of being volunteer-led

A response to a Facebook post caused Wayne to consider the importance of good volunteer leadership within Scouting.

A recent comment on Facebook, in response to an advert for the management role of County Commissioner, set me thinking about some of the strengths of our volunteer-led Movement. Adrian wrote: 'I’ve always wondered where the cut over between volunteer and employee is. This looks like a job advert…if you have to apply then it should be paid as the organisation is benefiting from specific skills.' I strongly disagree with him.

The only difference

The only real difference between volunteering and employment is that the latter is paid. Whether a person is in a volunteer or paid role, they have clear responsibilities, are accountable for their own and others’ actions, and bring their skills to the organisation.

For me, a key strength of the Movement is that it’s volunteer-led. This strength contributes to UK Scouting’s sheer scale, effectiveness and consistent growth over the last decade.

Not always easy, and certainly not perfect

We are fortunate that increasing numbers of volunteers are willing to take on management roles. However, we understand that a role like this is not always easy. Establishing that many of the challenges locally could be tackled with effective leadership and management, in 2011 we launched some useful tools and resources to support managers. These are available at scouts.org.uk/managers.

Inspiration is the key

It’s hard to avoid the fact that Scouting thrives where we have inspired and motivated section leaders delivering fun programmes.

For our leaders to feel that way, they need to have a sense of direction, to feel supported and motivated in their roles. We are fortunate in Scouting that we can achieve that through effective leadership from our 10,000 managers - themselves all volunteers!





By Peter Cathcart
on 25/04/2014 20:28

Scouting is all about volunteers. It would have disappeared as the most succesful voluntary youth organisation in the world if leaders were paid. I spend countless hours on scouting issues, including this afternoon at Gilwell for a Compass meeting. I know I would not be doing what I am doing if I was paid. I do it because I want to and it matters for young people. Volunteering is our strength, not our weakness.

By Adrian Coles
on 27/04/2014 08:53

I wholeheartedly agree with both Wayne and you Peter.
If Scouting roles were paid jobs, it would be filled with people who are motivated more by money than doing what is needed to encourage the young people in our care.
I also think that there would probably be a lot of scouter who felt scouting owed them more than a salary...
So glad we are volunteer led.

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