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View Full Version : Explorers and Scouts on the same night.



NickR
19-06-2011, 10:14 PM
We run out Scout Troop Nights as a dual meeting with both Scouts and Explorers taking part. Our Explorers are currently 14 and 15, with one more Scout due to move on in the next 6 months.

The problem we've been having lately is that the number of Scouts we have is holding steady at seven. We have four Explorer Scouts that are also present on Troop Nights. This tends to mean that the Explorers are simply treated as older Scouts outside the Patrol system.

I was wondering how other groups deal with this situation - if you have it?

One idea I've had is to run the Explorers as a separate Patrol in their own right. Does anybody have any suggestions or advice about that?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions :)

shiftypete
19-06-2011, 10:27 PM
Do you only have one hall? We run Scouts & Explorers on the same night but we have two halls although one is smaller than the other so we have the first 30-45 mins together so we do flag break and the first game together then split for the rest of the evening.

Bushfella
20-06-2011, 07:05 AM
We used to run Scouts and Explorers on the same night, at the same time, but it didn't work as I could not commit to both sections. So we ran with an overlap and it still didn't work.

So, now we run them separately - more time for me at the hall, but better outcomes for both sections.

It may be different with your small numbers, but Explorers are NOT just big Scouts. They talk about things that Scouts really don't need to hear. They are much more boisterous - I'd say that they verge on the sado masochistic at times - games can be hard. Discussions and debates can be brutally frank.

Also, if you meet at the same time and place as Scouts, you will not attract new people off the street.

phillip
20-06-2011, 11:22 AM
We run scouts and explorers on the same night its fine during the summer when we are on the water each week as we are sea scout group so everyone is doing the same thing its also quite usefull becuase then the explorers can teach the younger ones. we have about 8 scouts and 8 explorers. unfortunaltly their are only three leaders therfore its not practical to seperate out the sections onto two evenings. but we do have a 3 storey building the bottom floor being the boat house the middle floor the main meeting area and the top floor is currently storage but the plan is to make the top floor an area for explorers during the winter. becuase currently becuase of the age range its very difficult to do some of the basic skills etc with such a large age range. although their wont be a great deal of room up their becuase some of the top floor will have to remain as storage it will mean they can sit and talk and do their own thing without interupting the scouts activity.

currently we effectivly treat the explorers like another large patrol.

Big George
20-06-2011, 11:31 AM
We used to have both on the same night but used two halls so everything ran separately. On the plus side the scouts could see there was anoth stage to scouting so we tended to get almost all of them coming through to explorers.

Since moving premises (and the scouts growing in numbers) we run on separate nights. The plus point is we have the hall to ourselves, "no little ones trying to be part of the big boys gang :) " The down side is for those moving up they have to change nights which means we lose more due to other activities they are involved with.

Dave Davies
20-06-2011, 11:58 AM
If you want your Explorers to succeed long-term and build up a Unit identity of their own they need to be run seperately. I'd agree 100% with Bushfella's comments and add the rider that running them together doesn't work with small numbers either.

I know of three Units who've tried doing everything together and the Explorers have effectively been Senior Scouts. In all three cases they stayed for 12-18 months until they were 15-16 and then drifted away exactly like Scouts used to do before the age changes in 2001 when it was a permanent problem trying to hang on to Scouts once they'd turned 14 and done it all, got the T-shirt, etc. One unit in particular had nearly 30 Explorers, had been running for 4 years, and had one Explorer over 16 - all the others had drifted away.

Bushfella
20-06-2011, 12:31 PM
I'm going to take this a step further.

I have a social ESU, that's what they want. But, membership runs from 14 through to 18 ( and even then i can't get rid of them :bigsmiley)

They can generally be relied upon to come along and help run things for Scouts, they will turn up and help at camp. I ensure that they get the same value and appropriate activities as the younger sections, but they often eschew their final activities to help strike camp - being part of the team is more important than building that raft, for example.

They will turn up and help build pioneering. This weekend the older Explorers ran the climbing tower and aerial runway and were proud to do so and enjoyed working with Beavers and Cubs and even Scouts.

They were the big brothers and sisters and it works well, but, put them together constantly, and there will be real differences that cause friction.

phillip
20-06-2011, 12:50 PM
If you want your Explorers to succeed long-term and build up a Unit identity of their own they need to be run seperately. I'd agree 100% with Bushfella's comments and add the rider that running them together doesn't work with small numbers either.

I know of three Units who've tried doing everything together and the Explorers have effectively been Senior Scouts. In all three cases they stayed for 12-18 months until they were 15-16 and then drifted away exactly like Scouts used to do before the age changes in 2001 when it was a permanent problem trying to hang on to Scouts once they'd turned 14 and done it all, got the T-shirt, etc. One unit in particular had nearly 30 Explorers, had been running for 4 years, and had one Explorer over 16 - all the others had drifted away.

We have had this work fairly succesfully for us we have maintained them we have serval 17 /17 year olds at the momement who have gone all the way through since they where 10. but it think the sea scout aspect makes a diffrence becuase quite often our explorers are intrested in sailing and boating activies outside of scouting as well (through parents etc) so they tend to stay all the way until they are 18 or move away for uni or work etc.

and ultimatly we either run them together or shut the scouts or explorer unit down unless we can get more leaders involved who have the relavant bits of paper and experince for the boating side of things. to support the acttvities that we do.

so i would rather offer them the experince as a joint scout/explorer sections than not at all.

Barney255
20-06-2011, 12:59 PM
Generally it is best to run Explorers separately - they are not older Scouts in the same way as Scouts are not older cubs! :)

Unless there was a big group issue, generally you wouldn't run Scouts at the same time as Cubs - you'd treat them as completely separate sections with some joint activities.

What is happening around the rest of the District - Explorer wise? Whilst you can run with 4-5 Explorers, a unit that has 15-20 will work so much better - I've ran both and both the Explorers and I are getting far more out of Scouting at the moment with a good size unit. If there are a couple of groups in the same situation why not bring the Explorers together to run bigger more appropriate stuff for that age range?

Barney

Sparkgap
20-06-2011, 01:04 PM
It can work, but you need to think about having separate sessions during the meeting. I know of one group way out in the sticks which had ALL sections meeting in the same place on the same night, however every so often during the evening they'd separate into different rooms with beavers in one room doing beavery things, cubs in a second place, scouts in another doing scout stuff. Worked very well for the limited numbers.

phillip
20-06-2011, 02:38 PM
Generally it is best to run Explorers separately - they are not older Scouts in the same way as Scouts are not older cubs! :)

Unless there was a big group issue, generally you wouldn't run Scouts at the same time as Cubs - you'd treat them as completely separate sections with some joint activities.

What is happening around the rest of the District - Explorer wise? Whilst you can run with 4-5 Explorers, a unit that has 15-20 will work so much better - I've ran both and both the Explorers and I are getting far more out of Scouting at the moment with a good size unit. If there are a couple of groups in the same situation why not bring the Explorers together to run bigger more appropriate stuff for that age range?

Barney

We are trying to run as many seperate activites as possible where possible but becuase we are a sea scout group and the only one in the distrcit the explorers which have come to us specificaly want to be sea explorers their fore do not want to join with another unit. we have just struck up a freind ship with another sea explorer unit in a neighboring district although they are a good 30 minutes drive away by car they are only 15 minutes away by boat so we are trying to organise activities between our explorers and theirs.

But it all sums upto its hard work for the leaders but we have had no complains from the young people and they are all having FUN!! so that all that matters realy if we every get big enough and recurit more leaders then yes we will seperate alsothe same applies if they stop having FUN then we will seperate but until that become practical we have to just continue the way we are. It does very much depend on your local circumstances. and in our circumstance this works so why try and fix something which isn't broken it will just cause more issues for us.

marcush
20-06-2011, 03:15 PM
One thing I'd like to ask is, that sounds small for an explorer scout unit, is there another locally they could go to? As your group sounds tiny and rather than having your own ESU why don't you focus on your group rather than explorers.

cbKernow
20-06-2011, 03:29 PM
One thing I'd like to ask is, that sounds small for an explorer scout unit, is there another locally they could go to? As your group sounds tiny and rather than having your own ESU why don't you focus on your group rather than explorers.

welcome to rural scouting!!

phillip
20-06-2011, 03:40 PM
Becuase the explorers we have dont want to go else were, when we have spoken to them they are quite happy with the size of the group and the mixing of the two becuase we give them the chance to go sailing and do other water activities.

if their was another sea scout group near by then it would be a diffrent senioro but their isn't. also we are slowly expanding but unfortunatly as anything its a slow process.

we have all the equipment its just the leaders which are the biggest issue at the moment but we have a few things in the pipe-line to solve that problem and we have set a target of seperating the explorers out when we get off the water in sepember as well becuase we have had a few new younger ones join recently and their are a few cubs on the way up.

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The Following Was Added to the post within 60 minutes of posting the above
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welcome to rural scouting!!

That the point we as leaders do our best to provide as much as we can for the yp so some time running both together is the better of two evils. its a choice between disbanding one of the sections and tell the yp to go away or just making do and providing the best possible experince for everyone with the resources that you have.

unfortunatly though we are in one of the biggest districts in the country its justs happens that the other three sea scouts units have dispanded or become land scouts. the main reason they are disbanding is mainly an issues with qualified leaders and the funding to pay for the upkeep of the boats etc is so high.

as sea scouts we have quite a large catchment area and people will bypass the local group to come to us as we provide such a diffrent programme. where as normally a yp will go to the nearest scout group. and this is normaly at the choice of the yp that they want to go to sea scouts rather than land scouts this is an especialy visiable trend with the explorer age group as well.

shiftypete
20-06-2011, 03:40 PM
@phillip I think that question was targeted at the OP not yourself as obviously being a Sea Scout Group there are good reasons why your Scouts would want to stick around and be Sea Explorers and not attend another larger Unit.

NickR
20-06-2011, 07:01 PM
Thanks for the input, everyone.

Our District has seven Groups in it with ours being the only real rural Group. I'm not entirely sure what's happening with the other District Explorer Units but I do know that there is no "formal" structure for them. I'm going to a meeting in District tomorrow night where I'll ask the question!

Though I'm sure my Explorers do enjoy helping out at Scout events, that's not why they should be coming along. I think that the Explorers should be out doing age-relevant activities. In the same way I wouldn't expect Cub Scouts to be happy just helping out the Beavers.

We only have one hall though our ground is fairly large. I'm sure we could accommodate separate activities for the Scouts and Explorers but the older Scouts would gravitate toward the Explorers. I'm not sure we'd be able to stop that!

Thanks, guys. I now have a few ideas to take to District tomorrow :)

Lister
06-07-2011, 12:16 AM
I remember back when i was a scout and explorers was being rolled out, our troop had the scouts/explorers in thier own patrol (nicknamed "The Kevins"....think Harry Enfield), We pretty much served as an extra pair of hands but at the same time got to join in all the activities....that is until our DC at the time put his foot down and demanded the kevins left the group and went to the local explorer unit......and that ended my scouting as a teenager.