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Developing Existing Scouting

Sections and Groups often provide good quality Scouting within the local community but in order to keep running effectively or even to further enhance what is being delivered, it is good to evaluate the current situation, what else is needed or what could be done differently.

Planning for development does not need to be complicated. Some of the best and most effective plans are short and simple ones.

Start by choosing one or two things that could be changed and then think about how it could be done. Be realistic; what can you achieve this year?

Here are some examples of actions carried out by Groups to meet the needs that they identified.

Case study 1

A Scout Group in a small rural town had 8 Beavers with one leader and one sectional assistant, 10 Cubs with two leaders and no Scout Troop. There was a GSL and a small executive committee with Chair, Treasurer and Secretary. The low membership meant that the Group was becoming financially unsustainable due to the costs of the Scout HQ.

The GSL identified that the Beaver leader was unwilling to work with other adults but couldn’t cope with more children and so had kept the Colony size down. The low numbers had then impacted on the size of the Pack and the message received by parents from the day their child joined Scouting was that ‘their help wasn’t required’. This made parent involvement more difficult for the Cubs and in growing the committee.

The GSL carried out a review with the Beaver leader to discuss the leaders needs, the Colonies needs and the Groups needs and together three options were explored:
  1. The Beaver leader would be supported to develop relationships with parents, recruit adults and increase the colony size.
  2. The Beaver leader would move to another colony to assist an experienced leader and the GSL recruit a new team to lead the Beavers.
  3. The Beaver leader does not want to do either, the appointment would not be renewed and the GSL will recruit a new team to lead the Beavers.
On understanding the wider implications to the Group, the Beaver leader agreed to option 1. Now, when new members join, the GSL is informed so that they can go along to meet and greet the parents. New families are given a welcome pack. A parent rota is used, along with a Group vacancy board of where help is needed.

There are now 18 Beavers and 30 Cubs and the Group is continuing to grow.

Further advice on can be found on the website under Reviews.

Case study 2

A Scout Group in a deprived area of a city had 5 Cubs and one Group Scout Leader, who was supported by a parent on meeting nights and by the District treasurer with financial administration. The GSL had a wealth of Scouting knowledge and experience but due to poor health had not promoted the Group because they couldn’t cope with more young people on their own; this had also limited the type of activities that the GSL had been able to offer the Cubs.

Three approaches were used to develop the Group;
  1. Adverts were placed for volunteers on national volunteering websites and at local volunteer centres.
  2. They raised the profile of the Group on community web pages, in schools and community venues and with other local organisations.
  3. They held an open event for families to find out more about Scouting, what it could offer their children and how parents could help.
The Group now have an Assistant GSL who wants to develop management experience for their CV and a small committee. They have opened a Beaver colony with 18 young people and a team of 4 adults who are supported by a GSL from a neighbouring Group.

There are now 15 Cubs and again, a team of 3 adults who are learning the ropes from the GSL. The skills that these new adults have brought has enhanced the programme and everyone is excited about the future of the Group.

Further advice can be found on the website under Recruiting adults.

Case study 3

Four Groups in close proximity of each other were unable to accommodate more youth members. They explored why this was the situation, meeting with Section Leaders, looking at the waiting lists to be certain that only those aged 5 years and over were registered and that those under 5 years were considered as an expression of interest.

It was identified that:
The opportunities to address this were:
The Groups are now using the above options, particularly holding District waiting list events, adapting these where needed.


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