So thinking about joining the Scout Movement?
First of all let's get the misconceptions out of the way. Scouting is not about wearing daft uniforms, tying knots and saying DYB, DYB, DYB. Although there is probably nothing wrong with any of those elements. Plenty of young people – and adults feel quite happy to wear a football strip, being able to tie a proper knot could be a life saver, and even today could be a job skill in later life, whilst DYB, DYB, DYB was a call to Do Your Best. There can't be much wrong with that - can there? By the way DYB, DYB, DYB stopped being used by the Cub Scouts in 1967.
What is it all about?
Frankly, anything we want it to be about. Here at Crown East the emphasis is on having fun and being active, developing friendships, gradually meeting personal challenges and fostering personal and team skills. In Beavers that may simply be the ability to play a team game, or work at an individual craft. In Cubs there will more emphasis on developing personal abilities through our training programme and activity badges. By the time members join Scouts they should be starting to work in teams, and should be developing individual skills. No two young people are the same and our programme allows for that variety. As they progress we start to offer them greater challenges and offer them the opportunity to move into specialist training such as kayaking, pioneering, climbing etc. The Awards offered in the older sections are comparable to Duke of Edinburgh Awards, and in fact the DoE Awards can be piggybacked into the Scout training. The highlight of many of our members' time in Scouting is taking part in an International adventure, sometimes with visiting foreign Scouts, sometimes going abroad with Scouts.
So what do you need to do now?
You need to give us your child's details by returning a Waiting List form. If your child is offered a place you undertake to pay subscriptions which consist of a termly membership payment which contains an element which we set aside towards compulsory administration fees. Currently this subscription is £40 a term (3 terms a year) payable on the first meeting of the term. If you are on low income and your child is eligible for free school meals your child’s Scouting may be funded by Pupil Premium. If you wish to use this method then please ask your child’s school about Pupil Premium. They will be able to provide you with information and forms to apply. You will need to provide a uniform. This consists of the sweatshirt or shirt appropriate for the section your child will join. You will not need to buy the Group necker or woggle as we will provide these when they join; however, if the first of either is lost, a replacement must be paid for. We can benefit from Gift Aid. This involves us getting a tax rebate on tax you pay so long as you pay at least the minimum 10% tax rate. All it involves is for you to sign a Gift Aid Declaration and the rest is down to us to manage. We also expect parents to support fundraising events, ensure that their child attends meetings, and that you will support us in developing your child though Scouting. That includes attending the Annual General Meeting, which as members of the Scout Council; you really should make an effort to attend.
Waiting List Policy
Like most Groups we have a Waiting List to join our Group. This is due to the simple fact of having more young people who want to join than we have available places for. Obviously if we get more Leaders we can open more Sections and increase our available places. If you are able to become a Leader with us then please let us know – we don’t bite. In general terms spaces will be allocated in to youth members in the following order. It does not strictly follow this as the age of a prospective member could make a large difference, e.g. a six year old starting Beavers will not affect the Cub numbers for 2 years whereas a 7½ year old joining Beavers would affect Cubs numbers within 6 months.
All things being equal places will be allocated dependant on time on the Waiting List.
- Children of Group Leaders (new or existing)
- Children moving up within the group (obviously not relevant to Beavers)
- Brothers or sisters of existing members
- New members.
We always make every effort to get as many young people in as possible but we cannot guarantee that the above order will apply in every case and reserve the right to select members as we see fit. If a child leaves the Group for whatever reason and wishes to return, then they will be returned to the Waiting List and need to wait for a place to become available again.
It is impossible for us to run the Scout Group without retaining some data about our members and contact with their parents/ guardians. That information may be stored on paper or more likely on computer. We will take our best steps to ensure that this information is not divulged to a third party. This data is kept by the Group in order to manage the day to day running and to provide the emergency contact details to the Leaders.
10th Worcester (Crown East) Scout Group is a non-denominational, open, mixed sex group with no affiliations to any religious body whatsoever. The policy of the Scout Association is that we should encourage the spiritual development of our young people and encourage them to regularly attend their own religious body. This presupposes that the young people concerned already attend a religious meeting place. Our policy is that we will not discourage anyone from following their chosen religion, or not, as the case may be. However, we will, through our activities and our contact with each other and the environment encourage them to develop their own spiritual awareness. We do cater for atheists and humanists amongst out youth membership and, for some; the taking of the promise creates a problem. Here is one way of looking at it… On my Honour, I promise that I will do my Duty to God and the Queen and to help other people and to keep the Scout Law. So, what we are saying is that we will do what we say we will do, honourably. That we will do our duty to God, which could be whichever form of God the young person wishes to believe in, or in themselves if they are atheists, or in humanity if they are humanists. We also say to the Queen – republicans may object to that. Our thinking is that the Queen represents the country and by doing one's Duty to the Queen one is doing one's Duty to the country. Surely there can be no problem with helping others, and the Scout Laws are simple civil decency.
Child Protection Policy
The Scout Association has a clear and precise child protection policy which we endeavour to adhere to for the protection of both adult and child. It requires that we are never alone with a child and that there is no physical contact. Adults should not share changing rooms, and certainly should not share tents. (There is no requirement that male and female members cannot share tents, though we try and avoid this scenario. It is essential though that they have their own sleeping kit). The protection rules apply to the children as much as they do the adults and any child breaking the rules is as likely to be removed as any adult is. There are grey areas though. Sometimes an upset child just needs a hand on a shoulder for re-assurance. Sometimes ensuring equipment is being worn properly, i.e. a climbing harness. These can require contact. It is our belief that so long as the contact is innocent and open there should be no problem. Of course physical contact is often a must when undertaking first aid – however, even in embarrassing situations there must always be more than one witness available. Another area of concern is in discipline. We would never physically discipline a child, which remains the remit of the parents alone.
However, we have witnessed varying approaches to discipline from parents; from none at all through to punishment which some might consider verging on abuse. We have seen many styles of discipline/ group control having varying levels of success. What works for one will not always work for another. Indeed, what form of discipline works for one adult may not suit another. Within the Group we try to deal with issues appropriately and what works for Beavers may not work for older members. If you have any issues, then please ask a Leader. We try to set a standard of acceptable behaviour, we don't write it down because written rules get ignored. But certain actions are not permitted, fighting, bullying, and any activity which is inherently dangerous – waving burning sticks at people, messing about with campfires, misbehaving during an activity.
For instance we cannot tolerate bad behaviour when out climbing or kayaking. In general, the rule is that the offender will be asked to stop doing whatever they are doing, then told to stop, then asked to leave the activity. If that activity is "away" then it might result in everyone having to come home. In the event of continued poor behaviour, or in the event of behaviour likely to endanger life and limb, parents will be called and asked to remove the young person from the activity. If an activity has to be cancelled due to the behaviour of one or more young people, those young people will be asked to resign from the Group forthwith. Sometimes scenarios arise which create unpleasant situations for both adults and young people. This is particularly the case with teenage boys and girls setting out on the path of discovery leading to adulthood. Whilst it is accepted that relationships will develop between teenage boys and girls we must take care to ensure that neither party puts themselves or their peers at risk. In the event of such a situation arising the Leaders may find it necessary to intervene (often after complaints about such behaviour from other Scouts, or the parents of other Scouts).
This may sometimes seem unfair to the young people involved. However, the reputation of the Leaders and the rest of the Group is at risk – not to mention that of the young person him/ herself. Our policy here is that an embarrassed young person is much preferred to a damaged one. That a departure from the Group is preferred to a damaged reputation. All adults working in close contact with the young people (unsupervised) must undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. In addition to the DBS check and subsequent clearing, the District Appointments Advisory Committee must also approve all Leaders, Assistant Leaders, Section Assistants, Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary. The process for the DBS search is thorough, and irrespective of how long we may have known adults, they must bring us proof of identification, passport, birth certificate, proof of residency etc.
The Group Management
Rules for the management of a Scout Group are set out in Policy Organisation and Rules and these are freely available on the Internet at www.scouts.org.uk . There is little point in repeating those rules in detail here. Every Scout Group must have a Chairman and a Treasurer, neither of whom can be a Leader in that Group. They need meet only once a year but we take a pragmatic approach and our meetings are bi-monthly during term time. The Group Executive consists of non-uniformed adults and the Group Scout Leader and any Section Leaders who opt to take part. Our meetings run on the informal side and serve to ensure the steady running of the Group. They ensure that we have the support to operate fundraising events and that we have the support we need to keep the Group running. There are some tasks which our uniformed Leaders simply don't have the time to do, or they make the extra effort to do but would welcome assistance in completing. Tasks which need support run from helping staff the kitchen at public events, to putting up posters and helping maintain the hall and grounds. Fundraising is a shared task and anyone with an interest in applying for funding on our behalf would be welcome to take some of the load. Adult help on the Executive really can be as little as a couple of hours a month. It does not involve you taking charge of a section night. Go on, give it a try.
We need to raise funds to subsidise the activities we offer. This often raises questions as Scouts do more than Cubs, who do more than Beavers. Yet all pay more or less the same fees throughout the year. That gives rise to some people asking why that should be. It's a fair question, and the answer is, simply, the fees we are charged by the Scout Association are the same for everyone, Beaver, Cub, or Scout. The rest goes to paying the bills and a few odd extras. The activities offered in addition to ordinary section nights, or away from the hall which are subsidised, can only happen if the funds are available, or if we charge full price for everything. By fundraising we can ensure we have the funds in the coffers that we don't need to worry about emergencies. We fundraise through one large event, the Bonfire Night, and by bag-packing. We hope that you will support both by helping and attending on the day. We sometimes also run other smaller events. By supporting these smaller events you are supporting your child and making it possible for us to offer them a better standard of Scouting. You should note that we rarely use much funding raised within the group to buy equipment. We seek funding from outside to acquire capital equipment. In recent years that has included some £10,000 to buy tents, cooking equipment, and a trailer.