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  1. #1
    aka "Old Battle Axe" tomahawk's Avatar
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    waiting lists - stress city.

    Im finding our waiting list to be hard hard work. In fact, I must confess to being overwhelmed.

    We set out our stall - admissions criteria if you like.

    we have 50 kids of varying ages wanting to join. 21 of those are eligible in the next 12 months (and some are already 6).

    Now im getting pressure from various quarters to let little jonny in. Because his mum /dad has offered to help (yep, heard that one before. Amazingly they ALL stop helping within 1 term). Because his grandparent is on the exec. Because his dad helped the scouts out once. because dad is a scouter in a far away district. because because because...

    Im all for nepotism when it comes to leaders' kids, but this is rather taking the ****. I have kids who are 6 who have been on the list since they were 2, and Im being presured to bring other kids in (whose names are not even on the list yet because no one has bothered to give me any details) ahead of them.

    Im also very concerned at the number of kids with special needs crossing the threshold. Some we know about in advance. Others (inlcuding one of the aforementioned) give no details. because of my role in one of the local schools, I know these children are being assessed for stuff. I cant turn a child down on that basis though, because thats a breach of confidentiality.

    As it is, we currently have 6 high need kids (ADHD, ASD, ODD, EBD etc). Next year we will be taking in siblings, one with ODD and one with CF.

    I feel some of the quieter children are missing out on good scouting experiences because we spend a lot of time dealing with the "broken" ones (for want of a better term).

    I have 3 leaders, 4 regular parent helpers and 3 young leaders, so I am lucky, but I dont know that I can cope with any more high need children.

    As it is, I am considering asking the latest mummy to take an appointment and run a second colony so that we can split the more difficult children between two groups.

    Please tell me someone else gets this level of pressure?

    all this is not helped by the fact that my youngest swims up in December. I look at all this and think....sod it. I shouldnt feel like this really, should I.
    Tomahawk

    I don't do glitter.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomahawk View Post
    Im finding our waiting list to be hard hard work. In fact, I must confess to being overwhelmed.
    "Want to Join Lists" should ideally be managed by Districts not Groups. This enables Districts to direct young people to where they can join Scouting rather than where they can join a list. It also lets District know where they should be looking to support new sections or groups. It also removes this admin burded from Groups.

    See FS155058 for how it could work.

    . Philip

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  3. #3
    Escouts Team Bloory's Avatar
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    Philip,

    We had a lively discussion about this at our GSLs meeting. Many of the people on our list (and without trying we have one of the biggest in the county) join because they want our scouting - it's convenient to them, we do what they like, we fit around their other hobbies etc. Weaker groups with spaces need a different sort of attention than passing on kids who want to join my group.

    Tomahawk,

    We're restricted on opening a 2nd colony because of meeting places. I am working with the other GSL in our town and the district team to resolve this. Split the colony and with a bit of management you'll have double the number of spaces. To me this is preferable to opening new groups as you have the support networks in place already.

    There's another leader on here who has done that and has a 2nd beavers, cubs and recently scouts in their group. Nurture and grow strong groups, let smaller groups fold IF there aren't the adults to deliver OR a willingness to adapt and change. Harsh?
    Jonathan Bloor FMAAT MInstLM | Group Scout Leader
    4th Ashby de la Zouch Scout Group | The BP Shell Scout Centre, Wilfred Gardens, Ashby de la Zouch, Leics LE65 2GX


    Charity Number 1125053

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    "Want to Join Lists" should ideally be managed by Districts not Groups.
    In an ideal world, yes, but in a real world it is utter tosh.

    Real world example. The phone rings. "I'd like to put my son's name down for Beavers."
    "Well, we have a waiting list so it may be some time before we can take him in. Where do you live?
    " We live in X ( two villages away)."
    "You know that there are Beavers at X and Y which are closer?"
    "Yes, but we don't want him to go there. Your Group has a reputation for being active and doing more so we'd rather wait and get him into your Group."

    This happens at Cubs, and at Scouts too. ( And I'm aware that some have gone elsewhere rather than to us because they don't like our methods- which is fine).

    Let's take adults. In theory they join a District as a leader, but in reality they join to help out at "their" Group. Ask most to kove to another group and they won't go.

    We cannot manage waiting lists on District basis because people tend to go to the Group they want to go to, for a whole raft of reasons.

    Let's say we had a District managed list, would we put people into the first available place? Even if it meant a round trip of 20 miles for a child attending Beavers?

    It's a fine idea but not something that in most cases would work in practice.

    Actually, it is one of the most naive and ill considered fact sheets that I have ever read - and contradicts itself ultimately with an application form for a GROUP!

     That each section has the appropriate number of
    adults
     A plan is in place should it be needed, either to
    recruit new members (adults or young people) or
    to deal with expanding lists
    What is that all about? It is pir in the sky, and I think that our RDM might quietly agree having sampled parental support in our District!

     Is there another section in the District that has
    space that could accommodate the young
    people?

    Not much point if they want to join their mates in Group X

     Recruit additional adults to run an extra section
    that could meet during the weekend or on a
    different night.

    Easier said than done.

     Some Districts will run District sections for those
    young people who are on a joining list. Those
    young people will move to Group based sections
    as space appears.

    ROTFLMHO

     Some Groups and Districts are able to run
    temporary sections to reduce the numbers on the
    joining lists. Similar to the District sections, these
    young people will move into the main section as
    space appears.

    Yes, cos we have the manpower spare.

     Groups who have no Colony, but have names on
    a register of interest to join the Cub Scout Pack
    when they reach eight years old should consider
    opening a new Beaver Scout Colony.

    Do they really think that if we had the adult support we wouldn't be doing that?

    Wayne will say I'm looking at the glass half empty but for goodness sake, when we are struggling to find adult support across scouting some of these ideas are just plain daft. What we need are realistic solutions that can actually be put to work and frankly, if we had the manpower to run District sections we would have the manpower to run Group sections, because surely, by the logic of the factsheet that sends kids to whichever group it can find, if we have spare adults at District, they too can be directed to work at the groups that need adult support, therefore negating the need for District sections.

    Rule One, where adults volunteer, direct them first to Groups, build the Groups, then worry about District. The kids will go where their parents want them, to go, or latterly, where their mates are.
    Last edited by Bushfella; 01-05-2010 at 12:01 PM.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers

    www.claytonwestscouts.org.uk
    www.whitleybeaumont.co.uk

  5. #5
    Senior Member Kastor's Avatar
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    I had similar things when I was BSL. We even had YPs coming onto the waiting list at birth.

    The way I ran it was to work out how many were really going to get a place and I didn't accept anyone onto the list if they hadn't realistically got a chance.

    Yes I got all the usual "can x join because of y" but the answer was always "no we're full, if you would like to open a 2nd colony talk to the GSL"
    To get more kids we need more adults - are we getting the message yet?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Nurture and grow strong groups, let smaller groups fold IF there aren't the adults to deliver OR a willingness to adapt and change. Harsh?
    No, increasingly, I'm thinking, if a community won't support a Group, let if fold.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers

    www.claytonwestscouts.org.uk
    www.whitleybeaumont.co.uk

  7. #7
    Escouts Team Bloory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    No, increasingly, I'm thinking, if a community won't support a Group, let if fold.
    This frees up the district team to focus on supporting stronger groups (perhaps in different ways). There seems to be a (positive) shift to making Scouting more businesslike - where you concentrate on successes and move away from weakness. Surely, it's not the number of groups you have but the number of young people?
    Jonathan Bloor FMAAT MInstLM | Group Scout Leader
    4th Ashby de la Zouch Scout Group | The BP Shell Scout Centre, Wilfred Gardens, Ashby de la Zouch, Leics LE65 2GX


    Charity Number 1125053

  8. #8
    Senior Member DuncanHill's Avatar
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    Hmmm, we don't have a waiting list (yet - we're likely to need one for Cubs inside a year).

    We recently went to some family information events at the local primary schools - local community groups could have stalls, give out stickers and information etc to children and parents. Very enjoyable and successful, several new Beavers and Cubs recruited, and possible a couple of new Scouts.

    One of the new Beavers has been on a waiting list for another group nearby for a couple of years. Mum has never been told that our Beavers had no waiting list - and she actually lives closer to us than to the other group.

    I know that some parents are insistent on a particular group for various reasons (some of them good, some of them bad), but for groups not to make parents aware of nearby opportunities is pretty poor in my opinion, and this is why I think that Districts should be a bit more proactive in helping to manage such lists. Our DC is pretty good at referring enquiries to groups without waiting lists first.

  9. #9
    Must be slightly nuts! Red Squirrel's Avatar
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    Really dont know the answer to it as not experienced enough.
    Only thing I can say is what I do.

    If someone is pushing you to take someone in who isnt on the waiting list then the answer is no. All 3 of my leaders including me has a sibling on the waiting list ready to come in as soon as there is a space. No one jumps without being on a list and waits their turn.

    In answer to the special needs section, I think your GSL needs to sit down with the district commisioner and decide what is best to do as otherwise your group will become a mainly special needs section. Alot of able bodied/minded children may not ant to stay as you will be offering a adapted programme to fit the majority of children.

    Are you allowed to say that each child that comes into beavers with special needs will have to have a parent with them for each session so they can concentrate on their particular child and you can still lead the others? I have no idea really nor know about the legal requirements.

    I think tho you would need to cap the waiting list to those for the next 2 years who are about to leave. So by the end of 2010 you will have 6 spaces freed up so only allow 6 on the list and the rest will have to go to district and be sent a waiting list form for a differnt colony. ??? sorry would love to help but just say to sit down and have a serious chat with your GSl about where you go from here and how you adapt.

    As for the special needs aspect

  10. #10
    aka "Old Battle Axe" tomahawk's Avatar
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    i think the district waiting list is a non starter. My hubby applied to the scout association as a person interested in joining as a leader. He also emailed the district. still hasnt heard back from either of them ...5 years on. He just went down to the local HQ and introduced himself one evening and has been SL ever since. Cut out the middle man I think.

    What I WOULD like is to be able to type in a post code and get a list of local colonies, the distance from postcode to them, how many spaces they have and how many kids on the waiting list. Leaders could be email prompted 3-6 times a year to update their details. then we could all see who has spaces in a 5-10 mile radius at the click of a button. You could even have a contact number to give the parents! That would allow me to work SMARTer.

    If it was accesible on the scout site, it would allow parents to see what was going on and apply for groups with spaces instead of hounding me and demanding explanations as to why I can't give their child a space - when I have have 20 kids ahead of them on the list. I may also give adults the push they need to get involved.
    Tomahawk

    I don't do glitter.

  11. #11
    Assistant ESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Set out a clear waiting list policy and stick to it.

    This is ours
    1) Existing Members (i.e. those coming up from the previous section)
    2) Leaders children
    3) Siblings of existing members
    4) Children who attend our sponsoring Church
    5) Siblings/Children of former members
    6) Age
    7) Length of time on waiting list

    Obviously we aren't totally strict on the last two as having a birthday 2 days earlier shouldn't mean you get in before someone who has been on the list for a year longer but it is there to ensure that we try to maximise the length of time people can be in a Section (i.e. for Beavers not saving a space for a 5 year old when we have a 6 year old on the waiting list)


    Oh and District Waiting Lists are a total non starter. Yes Districts should be aware of which Sections have spaces and which are full and this information should be passed to Groups so people can be encouraged to try Groups with spaces but District should not have some great big centrally controlled list.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Friday ESU & ABSL and Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.co.uk

    Bookings Secretary - Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

  12. #12
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    I want your problem!
    I want a waiting list!
    In my dreams!

  13. #13
    Senior Member CilDroichid's Avatar
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    I'm with ShiftyPete on this one - our criteria is similar (but doesn't include 4,5 & 6).

    Here's the thing though; in order to keep our waiting list down (and manageable), we don't allow names to be put on the waiting list until they have reached the age for that section.

    Trying to manage mad long lists of children who have been down since they were 2 (how did they know they wanted to be in scouts at that age for heaven's sake!) is just a recipe for heartache.

    We also give priority to children of Leaders though I haven't (yet!) had anyone mean-spirited enough to agree to become a leader to get their child in and then leave.

    Decide on your policy, publish it and stick to it.

    As far as special needs goes.... I really don't know, I'm struggling with that one as well.

    One of the issues I have is that all these clinicians are recommending to parents that they 'get their child into Scouts, will do them the world of good' (parents have repeated this to me, and I'm sure it does to the child the world of good)...but I don't see any of them turning up to volunteer... :-(

  14. #14
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    I am pretty certain that if your child has a diagnosed special need then you have a right to respite care and this care can include a one to one acompanying them to afterschool activities including scout groups. I cant find where I read it at the moment but I will hunt it out tomorrow.
    It wont help the waiting list but it may help with the adult ratios.

    Binky

  15. #15
    Assistant ESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    In general we don't put children on the Beaver waiting list until they are at least 4 the exception being siblings of current members as we need to track these a bit more closely in order to guarantee them a place if at all possible.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Friday ESU & ABSL and Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.co.uk

    Bookings Secretary - Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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