View Full Version : Changes in Irish scouting
As I have mentioned before Scouting in Ireland is going through a huge change at present from being made of multipile independant organisations to just one (well not entirely the BP Scouts of Ireland are still independant).
On of the big challenges facing scouting here is retaining it's youth members and as recent stats have shown the majority of our young members are under scout age (Cubs/Beavers). Then the numbers start to drop quite dramaticaly. We only have around 1000 Ventures scouts(16-21).
One of the recommandation out there to fix this issue is to change the age ranges by spliting the scouts section (traditionally 11-16) in two, so that the age gap is not as big. :rolleyes:
I understand something like this has happened in the UK have any of you any expereince of it good or bad? Also I would like to hear any Idea's you might have that have be successful in keeping members in the 13-18 age range?
Thanks in advance
PS. I happy to hear from those involved in other youth organisations as well.
Taz and maybe KIMBOKO will be able to answer from the Explorers (14-18) point of view, but from the scouts (10-13) POV it has caused some shifting of emphasis (IMO - obviously). Not having the older kids (PLs, older Scouts) there to help with the organising and training of the yonger ones has put a lot more demands on the adult leaders. In theory in the past Troops should (and I emphasise should) be self-governing and self reliant, with the adults there in an advisory capacity and to do the things that the scouts themselves couldn't - or shouldn't. Now I think that the adults have to do a lot more. Even some traditionally large Troops have had their numbers initially slashed by the start of explorers - and I have even heard some Scout Leaders (no Taz, I'm not going to say who...) say that they now just feel like glorified Cub Leaders.
Now, this lot might give the impression that I'm against Explorers:- I'm not. I think it's a good idea that just needs good communication (between age sections) and good publicity. I like the fact that the Explorer programme is so closly ties to the Duke of Edinburgh Award - this make real sense, and I suspect that Explorers are genuinly there because they want to be, rather than being pushed in by parents (which you do get sometimes still with Scouts).
Right - that's my Tuppence worth - over to someone else...
I used to be a scout but left because there was not enough disipline. I found the age range too large (can't remember what it was exactly) but I and some other older ones wanted to do activities like backwoods, walking or knots and they wanted to play 'it'. So I think narrowing the age gap wouldn't give people a reason to leave.
I think these two posts outline the problem.
I already have a section for 16-21's at present the programme is lacking alot and really needs a total revamp. The scout programme is currecntly to big. and the lower age ranges are basically child minding services.
Personally I fell a split is needed 11-15,16-18 and a rover section for does over 18 that don't want to become leaders college studets etc.
I have tried to raise the point that the problem lies more with the programme (outdated badge work schemes etc) and by spliting the 11-13 14-16 17-19 we will gain nothing and lose everything.
I totally agree with you Womble the troop should run it's self with a proper court of honor or PLs council leading the way and leaders there as direction and instructors. That can't be done if the scouts are on give 2 years to learn the ropes.
These changes are over a year away but are already cause concern not to mention the worries about how we are going to cover these divition with the existing leaders.
Any more thoughts.
PS do any of you have link to the current badge scheme run by the UK scouts?
If both sections come together on regualar points i think it works really well we have really pushed the explorer section in our area but kept some activity cross based and our numbers are growing were in other areas the split as stopped the majour decline to a slow drip if you go by the census for the country it has worked. The big thing is to communicate between both.
my little say
We have had more queen scout and explorer badges awarded in the last 2 years.
I think the winners in the age range change were the Explorer age group in the short term, BUT, the real losers were and are the kids hitting 18 and having to leave Explorers with nowhere to go. The old Ventures had the age range16-21 and the younger ones made up the regular numbers with older ventures coming and going a little due to University/exam commitments. Now although we have an excellent explorer unit the changeover to network,age range 18-25, seems to leave the kids high and dry as there are no adult leaders and the networkers who would make the best leaders of the groups tend to go to university so nothing gets done by anyone. There is a county network running but this has too big an area to cover so if the kids want to go they need to be able to drive, I have some old ventures who will come and help out with activities and they should really be network members, which I would agree with in an ideal world, but for them to be members they would have to pay capitation for the year which they seem to be getting nothing for!
The other problem you may have is one that has already been mentioned, the loss of your P/Ls in scouts. The Explorer age range doesn't seem(in our experience) to have any trouble getting leaders but the scouts do have some problems. It might be worthwhile getting leaders in place for scouts before the changeover as you might find a lot want to move up an age group rather than stay with the younger teens with the extra hassle they can cause!
Good luck with your changover BTW!
Which uniform are you going to end up with after the change? I think the Irish uniform is really smart with the beret and lanyards much better than our boring beige!
There is a push to set up a proper Rover section at the same time so as to catch the over 18s (college students etc.) and I have pushed to have them at county level which are smaller the provinces or have them attached to the colleges themselves (this means that they can have they can be independant but still obnligated in someway to help the local groups). But definitly with a proper programme and direction set up in advance.
The were do the leaders come from question has already raised it's head but as non of this is really official yet no one is giving any clear answers.
We have a new uniform which combines both the old organisations and is quite practicule. I have thread here with links to pics of it somerwhere. I am afraid they have abandend the baret and lanyard(which optional). Infact in there wisdom they have not included a hat of any kind which is odd being an outdoors association. The uniform is blue so the baret my still go. (I like it too as it suited me)
It's out in September so we'll find out then.