View Full Version : Has scouting lost its way
Although an active asst cub leader i sometimes feel that the movement has lost its way . Certainly although I been active for nearly five years the training has been poor to non existant (There is no current district training team ) no one has checked that what is being taught is correct nor does there appear to be any form of curriculum / Not being a teatcher its difficult to know at what level to pitch an evening There seems to be a void opening up in which a bushcraft/ environmental based structure /organisation with perhaps suitably qualified trained leaders could fill / any thoughts ilan
I think that anything that is intended to improve kids outlook on life is a good thing. I don’t think that it matters if scouting is attached to “the church”( I am heathen but have no problem there). Anything that even try’s to get kids interested in something other than football or hanging about doing nothing must be good. So I would say no but maybe it should try and make its self look a bit cooler in the eyes of the kids?
Too Much Kit To Carry
Has scouting lost its way
Perhaps "scouting" never had a way to lose - it's just the politics/system/people behind it?
I think I must be very lucky in my group - all of the things you state as lacking are in obvious effect.
As far as curriculum is concerned each term is planned in advance, so I can tell you right now what we're doing on a given evening in, say, a months time (Care of camping equipment, Axe Safety and Lashings).
Training... Well, so far I've had none to speak of - but I've only been active since May - besides working through the published literature under my own steam, but at the beginning of November I'm going on a PTC (Preliminary Training Course). It takes place over a weekend and involves programme planning, rules,
and policies, the structure of the Scout Group etc. Next year I'm scheduled to go on the "Woodbeads" course where you basically live as one of your chosen section - apparently I'm going on the Senior Scouts course which suits me fine.
If I have a complaint, it's that - as a new-ish leader - I wasn't quite sure what we should be covering for a given activity. There have been evenings I've learnt knots as I've shown them to the scouts! I say wasn't because after reading all the available literature, I'm more confident now.
I really guess it's down to your district and particularly your GSM - ours is very good, but I'm also willing to guess the main difference is due to the fact that ilan is Scouting Association and we're not.
I can sympathize with Scout Leaders who think the movement has lost its way.
I held a warrant for many years, as ASL and AVSL but when Ventures were done away with as an Instructor and found that when parents and ex-Scouts were enthused (and saw Scouting as something more than a glorified creche), and provided a core of leaders/Assistants and Instructors things went well. When parents could not find the time to participate and the number of leaders went down then things fell apart. Personality clashes seemed to be the main reason for Leaders leaving and it was normally the gobby ones who stayed (to stay on their ego trip?) and good leaders and Scouts left as they got too much hassle/not enough good instruction. And the vicious circle of decline started.
Only by having a good set of parents to support a group do you get good Leaders: only by having good Leaders do you get an enthused Group and good numbers from which you get parents to sign up to become Leaders.........
I have read a few posts about the decline of Scouting and similar topics but, due to the range of responses on this post and others, I have come to the conclusion that the 'decline' is only in certain places, not as a nationwide all encompassing problem. This is mainly down to, as it is mentioned above, the quality of the leaders and the enthusiasm of the Scouts. Our particular troop is currently over-subscribed and we can't take on any more people as the size of the village hall where we have our meetings has reached full capacity. We are extremely fortunate in that all the Scouts enjoy doing sessions, mostly geared towards outdoor activites, and work well as a team.
This is like you say, backed up by the Scouts' parents and we tend to get a lot of interest and cooperation.
Unfortunately though, the same image is not painted just in our neighbouring neighbourhood where they are experiencing the 'decline' such as you have mentioned.
So really, this problem could be perhaps more localised than I for one realised?
Just my 2p
From a Pony Club perspective, it is the quality of the leadership which dictates how the local club works. Good or bad. If there is support wholeheartedly from the parents the group works well. Dissenters are persuaded to help, and find that this 'positive' attitude works. Consequently there is a momentum forward rather than stagnation. On the back of this our local branch is blooming and the children have a full and interesting programme of events and achievements.
There is camping, navigation, lashing and knots, plant id, and of course all the pony bits too!
My 2p worth.
Never having posted on any forum before I thought I'd pick a totally non contentious issue to start with.
I've been lucky enough to be a leader in the association for about 23 years, mainly as a Venture Scout leader with a few other roles on top for luck.
More recently after a 5 year break to bring up my own offspring instead of other peoples I've rejoined as an assistant scout leader and all I can say is that I've returned to a far more professional movement as regards safety etc and I'm having a very good time.
I see young people (cos thats what I have to call them now) who love what they are involved in, and a lot of them don't care whether it looks cool or not which really makes them the coolest of kids anyway ! They come to us for the things they can't get elsewhere like firelighting, playing with axes (safely), climbing trees, pitching tents, singing songs etc etc but also for the varied choice of other activities we can give them to broaden their horizons.
As always, Scouting doesn't appeal to everyone, young or old, and it never will. Especially these days as there is so much to choose from but as long as we give the ones who chose us an exiting and varied programme, we are doing OK.
However, as a few other people have said in this thread, it's all about leaders. In our troop we are lucky enough to have a lot of leaders - 3 grumpy old scouters who lapsed and then rejoined, 1 not so grumpy one, one young female leader who is a natural at it, 4 young leaders learning their trade and the grumpiest scout leader in the world to keep us all in line - it's brilliant.
This means we have the people to run a variety of activities, we can have a night of if we need it and each of us has a different personality that all goes into the great big leadership mix. Without all these bodies, it would be a struggle and the quality of the Scouting would not be that good.
What I'm saying in a long winded way is that Scouting hasn't lost it's way it's thriving. However, in some area we need more leaders OR we take a grown up point of view and merge struggling groups with few leaders into larger successful groups with loads of leaders. Tons of issues there, especially territory and leadership styles, but it can be done.
Anyway rant, and first virgin post, over. Thanks for listening, feel free to shoot me down in flames if you want to.
Last year membership increased for the first time in 13 years, which is nice. :)
Sorry to hear that you are having a hard time, leaving a leader unsuported is really not on, I was there for several years and actuly picked up more information from uk.rec.scouting that my own district.
The people are very similar to here, one or two of the regulars are a bit single minded but they all post under real names and most will quite happily have PM conversations via e-mail and discuss anything thats bothering you. Its unmoderated so somtimes language can get a bit emotional and flame wars occasionaly break out, however these always seem to be between people passionate about scouting who are going to stand their ground.
Have a look at http://groups.google.co.uk/group/uk.rec.scouting?gvc=2&hl=en and see what you think.
Hi thanks for the link I think what i was trying to say it seems a very hit and miss as to the level of skill available to teach. with most leaders being are recruited from parents and whilst when i was a scout in the early 60s virtualy all leaders had been in one of the services and new how to light/cook on a fire new how to tie a few basic knots Now i dont think a lot of the new ones can. For how many parents chop wood or light fires at home ?use knots or rope or many of the skills shown on this forum and its those skills which need to be passed onto the next generation . ilan
I haven't had any direct experiance of scouting (except helping at a chaotic pack when I was a young leader)
I have however been running a guide unit for just over three years and I think big organisations like this that are generally run by volunteers have problems with communication at all levels.
I started by taking over an exisiting unit in a small village that only had 6 guides. I was given very little guidance on what I was supposed to be doing. The local commisoner just said 'you were a guide, you'll remember what to do' That was twenty years ago!
Next I had to buy uniform for myself and was told I had to pay a membership fee for the privilage of running the unit. Both myself and the other leader who joined just after me could not afford this and seriously question how worthwhille it was continuing as it seemed to be a money making scheme.
Fortunatly I managed to attend a couple of national trainning sessions and got to discuss some issues with leaders from other areas. I went back to my unit with lots of new ideas and enthusiasum.
We now have almost 30 guides in the unit, regularly take them camping, do firelighting nights, go climbing, whitewater rafting, night walks etc. Apart from camping I don't think many other units in the area do these things. It would be good if communication and training programmes etc were more organised and didn't cost so much. We are volunteers after all.
I'm an Explorer Scout leader, and my wife is a Guide leader, so I've seen how both organisations work. I'm very surprised that you have been asked to pay the membership fee - I thought this was always paid from group/unit funds, and generally uniform is half paid for out of funds or a set grant is given. Training is generally paid for out of funds as well, so have a word with your district commissioner and ask her what is acceptable in your area.
I've not looked round the Guides website, but the Scout one (scoutbase.org.uk) has loads of free donwloadable resources on it, fact sheets Etc. and there is the programmes online database which is also crammed with info.
Guides is slightly different to Scouts in that there is much less of a group structure, the Guide leader tends to be in charge rather than having a Group Scout Leader and an Exec committee, which can lead to less politics!
Getting back to the original point, is Scouting losing it's way, no, I don't think it is. We will always be dependant on good leaders and they go in cycles. In the group I grew up in there were great leaders, but they've all since moved on and the group has gone downhill. This was due mainly to personality clashes in District. I'm now in a different district and it's doing very well, a completely different story.
Training should be available to everyone and obviously new leaders will need more of the basic scouting skills training than more experienced ones, but all leaders should get 'teacher' training as well as 'scouting' training. If your district isn't pushing or advertising training then get in contact with your County, they will certainly be laying on training - you just need to know how to find out about it.
ilan said that there doesn't appear to be a curriculum, there is, it's called the 'balanced programme', for cubs you can find it here : http://www.scoutbase.org.uk/6to25/cub/programme/zones/index.htm in addition to that there are loads of badges and awards to work towards and in doing so you are following the curriculum. What you actually decide to do from one night to the next is up to you, you choose what you think the kids are interested in and what you can manage to arrange.
Scouting is evolving, it has to. Some of us would like to see more of the traditional stuff and don't like the clamp down on rules for adventurous activities for example or the dilution of uniform (we used to be very proud of our berets!) and ceremony, but it's taken me a while to see that if it didn't evolve along with the rest of the country then it would slowy die out as it became more specialised. I've come to the conclusion that it's better it changes and keeps going, than keep it traditional and have it die out.
Sorry, that went on a bit! Hope it's helpfull to someone!
I am in district that is 2 districts merged becuase due to lack of management we were loosing our way but scouting is not loosing its way.
Our district is now expanding due to good recruitment.
Members are supposed to pay thier own Capitation but our group pays ours.
I always avoid charging leaders for camps if possible many do not.
Good training always helps and we all have a duty to support new leaders and helpers not just the training team.
Remember being in the Scouts meens :You_Rock_
Ionly by having good Leaders do you get an enthused Group and good numbers from which you get parents to sign up to become Leaders.........
Its a good point and is true for the three junior sections, however doesn't really apply to Explorer Scouts and Network (or Venture Scouts before) as at that age they don't want their parents there. :(
Lets face it they all want half hour to be really silly and act like 10 year olds every now an again, and you can't do that in front of mum, similarly many of them want an escape from family life for a few days each month.
In the mean time please help I have 23 of the little ****** in my unit and I am the only leader! :eek:
I do my best for the kids...the kids keep coming back...
...stuff the politics :D
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