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Thread: A Scout is a Brother to all Scouts / A Scout is a member of the worldwife family...

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    DSNC Craftshill gregharewood's Avatar
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    A Scout is a Brother to all Scouts / A Scout is a member of the worldwife family...

    I posted a separate tribute to my old Scout Leader, Tom Buckett, who died last week. His death hit me ten times harder than I expected, and I really had to think to work out why, because I hadn't talked to him in fifteen years.

    The answer, as it turned out, is that he was like another parent or grandparent to me - and probably no less so to many of the other hundreds of boys that must have gone through the 2nd Selsdon. The Troop was his section, though I suspect he ran the Cubs in the early years too. But for over forty years, he did his best to perform the investitures in every section and took great pride in presenting and applying our group scarf. He his wife ran every Cub and Scout summer camp for over thirty years, jumble sales, christmas and summer fetes and raffles. And, for good or bad, he actually created a little distance from the district. We all 'knew' that we were special and a little better.

    Can you legislate for this? Is it even possible to have this family feel to a Scout group and more? Does any one man have the ability to do this any more? Can you imagine all the other leaders in a group deferring in this way any more to one supreme character like this? Should we try to run our troops like families? Or more like competitive football teams? Or just activity clubs? Can this family-like approach work in today's society? Or was it the harder financial circumstances and lack of other entertainment that allowed our local Scouting family to seed in the 1950s?

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    Peter SL 18th Bolton Horw notgonehome's Avatar
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    family feel to a Scout group

    Family feel to a Scout group
    I should say so we have a big problem getting our 14 year olds to move away from the group to Join the Explorer Scouts.

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    DSNC Craftshill gregharewood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by notgonehome View Post
    Family feel to a Scout group
    I should say so we have a big problem getting our 14 year olds to move away from the group to Join the Explorer Scouts.
    I think that's a sign of your success. I must say, the way the wind is blowing, it seems to me that really good Scout Groups have a reasonably hope of running their own Explorer Units these days through partnership agreements with the district.

    Ventures were always an absolutely critical part of our Scouting family. It was hard work running my first summer camp this year without them. (I had a 15 year gap!)

    Also, with that break in continuity, I worry that it will ruin my ability to build up a a family of willing ex-Scouts willing to pop back when support is needed. I don't know if you can build a family when your Dad chucks you out on the street to fend for yourself at 14 ;-)

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    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    A good Scout group is like a family - my GSL and the Akela used to be my Scout leader and Beaver leader... apart from parents and grandparents, they're the only people who can get away with calling me by the full first name!
    Chris Hawes, District Media Manager, Watford North Scout District and Watford Scouts; Group Treasurer and Webmaster, 9th North Watford Scout Group.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregharewood View Post
    Can you legislate for this? Is it even possible to have this family feel to a Scout group and more? Does any one man have the ability to do this any more? Can you imagine all the other leaders in a group deferring in this way any more to one supreme character like this? Should we try to run our troops like families? Or more like competitive football teams? Or just activity clubs? Can this family-like approach work in today's society? Or was it the harder financial circumstances and lack of other entertainment that allowed our local Scouting family to seed in the 1950s?
    From what you've said, Tom was exceptional.

    However, that doesn't mean he was unique or infallible.

    I think that there probably are a lot of Groups where there is a definite family feel, where everyone works together and where the same people attend Beaver, Cub and Scout meetings, camps and events - just look at the huge number of people on escouts with so many roles within Scouting. Many of those people are only really recognised too late - you've reminded me that I need to go and thank several people I know within our District.

    I'm not convinced that it is always a good thing when the Group revolves around one person or one couple - I know that when I was a Cub, Akela ran the Group and she was brilliant. However, she then moved away, the GSL chose to retire rather than take on the extra responsibility and the Group struggled. I went through that Group as a Cub, Scout, Venture, Young Leader and Adult leader before moving away permanently after university - though we still run joint Cub camps every three years or so, so I know that the Group has continued on the basis that she left, but it was a shock when she moved and the Group went backwards for several years and has never really regained the level she achieved at her prime.

    Ideally, I'd like a Group to be preparing its adults for succession into new roles - whether as section leaders, GSLs or moving into District roles. In my opinion, that's how we know that a Group is truly special, that it is able to maintain a superb programme, support its young people and support others within the District, County or wider.

    I like to think I run a superb Cub Pack, the best in the District for my Cubs, Young Leaders and Leaders. I prove this not only by my programme, but also by organising events to which I invite the other Packs in District, by helping other Packs (I trained a new Akela by attending his Pack for 6 months last year, I invited another Pack on camp with us and I've just passed a prospective new leader onto a third Pack) and by participating in all District events (which amount to St George's day, a carol service and the events I organise, but I try!).

    I challenge you to honour Tom's memory by running a superb Troop. Once you've reached a point just short of exceptional, how can you share that legacy with other Troops in your local Scouting family?

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    DSNC Craftshill gregharewood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoutgamer View Post
    From what you've said, Tom was exceptional.

    However, that doesn't mean he was unique or infallible.
    No, definitely not. I can list some failings if you like. One was that he was very reluctant to allow girls in. We were the only Venture unit in the early nineties still not to allow girls in. I was at university before I ever had a conversation with a girl. But that's not the point :-)


    Quote Originally Posted by scoutgamer View Post
    ...
    I'm not convinced that it is always a good thing when the Group revolves around one person or one couple - I know that when I was a Cub, Akela ran the Group and she was brilliant. However, she then moved away, the GSL chose to retire rather than take on the extra responsibility and the Group struggled.
    Indeed. Scouting in that area seems to have been going through an apocalyptic problem. The troop now meets with the 1st Selsdon, due to low numbers and no leaders. Cubs and Beavers are okay, but not comfortable. The Selsdon and Addington district once had 16 groups. Now they have the 1st and the 2nd, the district was abolished a few years ago, and all the district staff left without jobs. Perhaps they might have gone back to grass roots and helped, but they tended not to, they all got disaffected and left Scouting.

    Partly the continuity problem was the same as yours - many of the best people moving away. Partly, the social life surrounding the group ended up based on old man hobbies - bowling and the like. (The hut is magnificent and carpeted with office carpet tiles. Good for bowls, good grip for running games, but I got a lot of carpet burns as a kid!) How does your 18-30 crowd that you want to retain socialize? Well, they spend too much time working, for a start. But maybe a good Scout group should aspire to having a bar, renting out lots of adventure kit to its members, and being a centre for the community in other ways too.

    Quote Originally Posted by scoutgamer View Post
    ...
    Ideally, I'd like a Group to be preparing its adults for succession into new roles - whether as section leaders, GSLs or moving into District roles. In my opinion, that's how we know that a Group is truly special, that it is able to maintain a superb programme, support its young people and support others within the District, County or wider.
    That IS something that we never did well... mobility between the group and the district. There were one or two individuals who were happy on either side of the fence, but we were always a little...different. Mostly in ways that were special and I would love to recapture. But also in a few ways that were just unnecessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by scoutgamer View Post
    ...I like to think I run a superb Cub Pack, the best in the District for my Cubs, Young Leaders and Leaders. I prove this not only by my programme, but also by organising events to which I invite the other Packs in District, by helping other Packs (I trained a new Akela by attending his Pack for 6 months last year, I invited another Pack on camp with us and I've just passed a prospective new leader onto a third Pack) and by participating in all District events (which amount to St George's day, a carol service and the events I organise, but I try!).

    I challenge you to honour Tom's memory by running a superb Troop. Once you've reached a point just short of exceptional, how can you share that legacy with other Troops in your local Scouting family?
    AH yes, now comes the blackmail ;-)

    I DO hope to compete on quality, and inspire others to stick around. And maybe try to provide an environment where it's not all charity to do so. You have to be rather clever to keep it all together!

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    Senior Member DonTregartha's Avatar
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    Hi Greg,

    when someone special is there for you as a scout, they become someone special for the rest of your life. So profound is the effect on you as a scout.

    That is why we all should be aware of this when we deal with YP.

    Sounds like Tom was a great guy, though a bit of a curmudgeon on the girls front, but hey who's perfect?

    Grieve for him as he was almost as much as a father to you, or as BP said, like an older, wiser brother.

    I think your feelings are perfectly natural.


    Don Tregartha
    Old Scouter
    1st Wing Scouts

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    DSNC Craftshill gregharewood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTregartha View Post
    Hi Greg,

    when someone special is there for you as a scout, they become someone special for the rest of your life. So profound is the effect on you as a scout.

    That is why we all should be aware of this when we deal with YP.

    Sounds like Tom was a great guy, though a bit of a curmudgeon on the girls front, but hey who's perfect?

    Grieve for him as he was almost as much as a father to you, or as BP said, like an older, wiser brother.

    I think your feelings are perfectly natural.
    Indeed. And I thank you! Tried to keep that grief and personal part out of this thread. Failed ;-)

    The silly thing is that I honestly didn't know. I knew the Scouting experience and people were special to me. I had no idea until he died, what a big part of that experience my subconscious had apportioned - probably correctly - to that one man. I thought I knew myself better. Fail again!!

    It's certainly taught me some lessons. I've been back in a year, but most of my Scouting experience was contiguous, directly from being a boy. So it's only recently that I've had a better appreciation of the in-loco-parentis aspect of the role. Three of my Scouts keep trying to hug me - aged 10-13. I have to beat them off with sticks for all the obvious reasons. They never did that when I was 21. But then I did most of my time then as ASL, not as SL.

    In retrospect, I'm sure the girls thing was that he wanted to replicate the sort of brotherhood thing that he had felt himself in Scouts and in National Service. I don't know if we've lost anything in the end by going mixed.

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    Member cliffdsl's Avatar
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    My old skip is still alive but he was to me & is still to the young people he comes in contact with a person who leaves an ever lasting mark on all the lives he touches,
    we were a family in my group & that was skips doing every one loves him & i try to carry on in his ways with my troop kids are still the same under it all & maybe more now need a father figure to look up to
    your fellings are real because he was real

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    DSNC Craftshill gregharewood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliffdsl View Post
    ...an ever lasting mark on all the lives he touches...
    It's all true! Thanks for the note :-)

    I think it would feel funny getting called Skip. I haven't let anyone try it yet!

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    Senior Member Jay Biggs's Avatar
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    I found this on the tinterweb a few months back... and well... i suppose it applies:

    One hundred years from now it will not matter what your bank account was, the sort of house you lived in, or the kind of car you drove; but the world may be different because you were important in the life of a child.(unknown)


    I remember when i was a kid, my Guide leader died... and i was DEVISTATED as in many ways Captain had become my best friend, i had so much respect for her and the way she helped us... i remember when she died the second in command refused to be called captain out of respect for her collegue... not sure if its still the case as we have all grown up now.... but still *shrugs*

    It is devistating... and nothing prepares you for it... i suppose the best thing to do is just keep going as they would have wanted and inpart some of their knowledge onto the youths you lead
    Being a Scout leader is a constant reminder why some animals eat their young.


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