Deben District Scouts

For work on the new Plan, see https://deben.suffolkscouts.org.uk/district-plan-2/

Where the current plan started, by the DC

In 2016 the Regional Development team led a development planning meeting involving representation of GSLs, ESLs District members. I gathered feedback from various individual opinions through ADC’s Leader meetings, line management review meetings and RAG reviews from Sections, Units and Groups.

Vision 18:

The Scout Association has a vision of what it wants to achieve by 2018 as follows:

  1. We will make a positive impact in our communities
  2. We will prepare young people to be active citizens
  3. We will embrace and contribute to social change.
  4. We will be shaped by young people in partnership with adults
  5. We will be enjoyed by more young people and more adult volunteers
  6. We will be as diverse as the communities in which we live
  7. Members will feel empowered.
  8. Members will feel valued
  9. Members will feel proud.

Method

Therefore, I have taken each aspect of Vision 18 and outlined how I believe this will best be achieved within our District and what I consider success will look like for us. I have identified which concerns relate to each area and drawn up a plan of action that I hope will improve matters. By doing it this way, my hope is that we end up with a plan that suits us and stays in line with the Scouting movement.

  1. We will make a positive impact in our communities.

This can be achieved in partnership with community councils, business associations, police, disadvantaged support organisations, other youth organisations, local environment clubs, and religious organisations.

We know we are getting it right when it’s easy to recruit adults into leading roles and it’s easy to raise funds for projects.

Feedback was a strong request for District to provide far more support in this area, rather than leaving it all to Groups working in isolation.

  1. We will prepare young people to be active citizens.

This can be achieved by supporting the Scout Programme with:

  • Access to adequate equipment for providing appropriate activities to achieve a balanced and progressive programme
  • Access to adequate venues in a good state of repair
  • Access to adequate Nights Away to fulfil minimum requirements
  • Access to various permits as required
  • Adult training being achieved in a timely manner

We know we are getting it right when the vast majority young members achieve the highest possible Award for their age group.

Feedback There was a strong request for a central campsite and/or storage for shared equipment. It was noted that the present dearth of 1st Aid qualifications was leading to difficulties in planning activities and camps. There were diverse specific complaints about programme support, but at the same time there was praise for individual District members. I take this to mean that District roles are commonly seen as working in isolation, rather than as part of a wider District Team

  1. We will embrace and contribute to social change

This can be achieved by engaging with parents and becoming involved in diverse community projects.

We know we are getting it right when it is easy to find people to help at district events and find ideas for new projects.

Feedback: There seems to be a good understanding of this area, but patchy success.

  1. We will be shaped by young people in partnership with adults.

This can be achieved through:

  • Appointing a Local Youth Commissioner to lead “youth shaped Scouting”
  • Further development of the Young Leader Unit
  • Further development of Network
  • Running events that support the Lodge, Sixer and Patrol systems

We know we are getting it right when people would be surprised to attend a planning or committee meeting where young people weren’t properly represented.

Feedback although we don’t have a Youth Commissioner (a recently invented role) it appears we are confident in this area.

  1. We will be enjoyed by more young people and more adult volunteers.

This can be achieved through a large number of small local sections, to maximise accessibility and quality of programme.

We know we are getting it right when all sections are full and properly supported, but there are no waiting lists.

Feedback There was widespread concern in the Explorer section about numbers dropping away causing Units to close. There were also concerns that badge work proving difficult in Explorers due to the level of achievement required to earn them. There was widespread concern that the adult appointment process has not been working properly, creating a shortage of trained Leaders. And there was recognition that, with over 100 children on waiting lists and unable to join due to lack of provision, we have around a fifth of Suffolk’s total waiting list in our District.

  1. We will be as diverse as the communities in which we live.

This can be achieved by improving accessibility.

We know we are getting this right when our census shows membership in line with the Suffolk average i.e. around 4% and 11% of members other than “White A” and/or not speaking English at home; around 7% disabled members; and around 50% female members. (However, the latter must not be at the expense of local Guiding provision.)

Feedback Unfortunately, our membership comes nowhere near reflecting the averages shown above.

  1. Members will feel empowered.

This can be achieved by having a well organised and effective District Team, timely completion of adult training and good practical arrangements and communication

We know we are getting it right when the programme and rural activities appear successfully amalgamated and leaders work in partnership with the district team to improve scouting locally.

Feedback There was felt to be some apathy around attendance by Section Leaders at ADC led meetings and the one meeting that replaced GSL, Explorer Leader and District Team meetings, and it appeared that Exec meetings had attempted to help by covering off non-Exec business.

  1. Members will feel valued.

This can be achieved by having a good supportive district team and timely use of the award system.

We know we are getting it right when we see a good turn-out to events and requests for support are well received.

Feedback it was widely believed that awards are not presented in a timely manner. The adult review system has not been supported by District and therefore very few line managers were trying to use it.

  1. Members will feel proud.

This can be achieved by recognising members’ efforts appropriately and using the award system.

We know we are getting it right when members wear their uniform to all scouting activities and frequently introduce new helpers.

Feedback Many District roles were held by people with more than one demanding role. There was sometimes a reluctance to wear uniforms to adult meetings.