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Thread: Generating support for a Network section attached to a group

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    Member Hannah_ESU's Avatar
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    Generating support for a Network section attached to a group

    I am an Explorer Leader for my local group and have recently been asked by the older explorers to set up a Network. We have had a district Network group based in our nearest town for some time, but the Explorers have never shown an interest in joining (despite encouragement!) Our Explorer unit is the largest in the district by far- numbering 32 scouts at present- and we have 9 that are currently 17yrs & 6 months, and are hence eligible to join Network.

    Our scout group is based in a rural location which spans a few villages, hamlets and farms... The feeling of community is extraordinarily strong and we have a certain way of doing things that is very specific to the way of life here. Our scout group is so large because the kids have grown up together since joining as Beavers, they have a large say in how things are done, a great sense of team-spirit and no desire to leave the group. As a group we undertake a lot of activities together, many of the explorers being involved with their younger siblings in beavers, cubs and scouts, and their families at the groups 'family camp'.

    It has been expressed to me that a GROUP Network unit would not be tolerated, and that these interested explorers should join the district Network group in the local town. I have explained this to the explorers but they are unhappy with the decision. One explorer has made a facebook group for a 'group Network' and has already enlisted 15 serious members from past and current eligibly aged explorers.

    I feel unwilling to let these explorers wishes go unheard, especially as many of them have been involved with scouting since they were 6 and as such are valuable members of the movement. I understand that Networks conventionally operate at a District/County level, but how can I implore to the relevant people that these matters should be considered on a case by case basis? This network group seems to have great potential for success with a steady flow of enthusiastic explorers, and as none of these have EVER joined the district Network group, we cannot be accused of trying to undermine their success???

    Any advice from those with experience in this area would be gratefully received. I have always been of the opinion that as long as scouting values and practices remain at its heart, groups should be allowed to operate with the freedom they need to maintain numbers and standards.
    Hannah

    ESL



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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Hannah,

    Oh Dear.... This sounds familiar.

    There is no reason why you cannot set up a Group based Network. It does go against the concept of a Network being froma wider pool of members across a wider area. However, that in itself ignores local strengths and situations such as you describe ( and you will get criticism for thinking this way).

    I have a similar issue, I'll not go into it in detail but I have a growing pool of older explorers and young adults who wish to remain involved with Scouting, and with the group but who have no need nor desire to join network, which in our District is a dead loss anyway.

    I've looked at setting up a SAS Unit to cope with them, but frankly, it is an overkill. It looks very much like the route that we will take is enlisting them all as Sectional Assistants and they can take part in various roles in the Group and meet up and do their own thing as well.

    If you look at your "networkers" you will almost certainly find a way of keeping them "local", if you and your group's GSL put your minds to it. This is the age range that so many struggle to retain, these are our future Leaders, you must do what you can to retain them and you should receive support to do that. District and County need to remember that whilst network is a section that needs support, it cannot, must not be at the cost of people who want some other involvement on a local basis.
    Ewan Scott

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  3. #3
    Map Geek marcush's Avatar
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    there can be more than one network in a district, there is one district near me that has 2, and the newer one is linked to a group, well from what I know most if not all their members of the group.

    You can have networks linked to group, but it will be seen as a district network, so your district will have 2.

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    IF they've all got strong links to the group - why not look at setting up a group Active support unit. It would also have the benefit of being a bit more flexible on the upper age limit while you're getting things going. I can't quite see how it would be overkill in anyway - but that would be a decision for you to make based on your group.

    It would get you a bit of independance from the district Network provision, and then once you've got the group established, getting some of them registered as Network for awards etc would be easier.

    Another angle to take would be to have a local meeting of the district network. To a greater or lesser extent, Network run their own programme and activities, so your Explorers could all join the district Network, with your support, meet regularly at your hut which is local to all of them (which they'd organise themselves), nominally invite the rest of the Network along, and rock up en masse occasionally (with prior warning) to the Network based in the town.

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    Map Geek marcush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scary Monster View Post
    IF they've all got strong links to the group - why not look at setting up a group Active support unit. It would also have the benefit of being a bit more flexible on the upper age limit while you're getting things going. I can't quite see how it would be overkill in anyway - but that would be a decision for you to make based on your group.

    It would get you a bit of independance from the district Network provision, and then once you've got the group established, getting some of them registered as Network for awards etc would be easier.

    Another angle to take would be to have a local meeting of the district network. To a greater or lesser extent, Network run their own programme and activities, so your Explorers could all join the district Network, with your support, meet regularly at your hut which is local to all of them (which they'd organise themselves), nominally invite the rest of the Network along, and rock up en masse occasionally (with prior warning) to the Network based in the town.
    Network IS NOT active support and are totally different. Active Support isn't a youth section and they'd have to go through the other Network for awards etc, where if they where a Network they wouldn't.

    Rule 66. A map and compass offers no protection against getting horribly lost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcush View Post
    Network IS NOT active support and are totally different. Active Support isn't a youth section and they'd have to go through the other Network for awards etc, where if they where a Network they wouldn't.
    I'm well aware Network is different to Active Support, and you'd have to go through Network for awards. That could even, just may, be why I mentioned getting registered as Network for awards.

    They may be different, but they're not actuallu totally different. They are both an active involvement in Scouting for over 18s. The details of that involvement might be different, but both are Scouting for over 18s. In the short term, one is also much easier to establish than the other, and once you've got a mass of people, then sorting out 'Network'ifying then is likely to be much easier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcush View Post
    Network IS NOT active support and are totally different. Active Support isn't a youth section and they'd have to go through the other Network for awards etc, where if they where a Network they wouldn't.
    But if county will not sanction a Network then the only way you can keep them involved is either taking on an adult role or becoming a SAS Unit Member.

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    Member Hannah_ESU's Avatar
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    Could somebody please explain (in simple terms) what the concept of Active Support SAS is? I've not heard of it before, and I'm not aware of any groups locally?
    Hannah

    ESL



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    No mountain too high PeterSheppard's Avatar
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    Hi there,

    Don't despair, what you're trying to do is perfectly reasonable, and allowable within the rules. In fact, it was one of the scenarios outlined in the documentation released by HQ when Explorers and Network were first set up in 2002.

    Within the County provision, there should be a mix of Local Networks and optionally Specialist Networks (based around a particular activity, short-term goal [explorer belt, IST support etc], or campsite). They do their accounts through the County, and are managed by the CSNC, but are run locally. They can be "hosted" by a district, multiple districts, a group, multiple groups etc. In the 2006 review, that was supplemented with the option of having a (single, POR consistently uses "the", not "a") District Network, which is managed by the District, does there accounts through the District etc.

    So you should be approaching the CSNC with a proposal. In Network Essentials there are a set of suggested criteria for opening a Local Network. It's reproduced here: http://scouts.org.uk/supportresource...-scout-network
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    Map Geek marcush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hannah_ESU View Post
    Could somebody please explain (in simple terms) what the concept of Active Support SAS is? I've not heard of it before, and I'm not aware of any groups locally?
    depends it can be for a specific purpose, e.g. campsite, or can be a general district/group one. It is what was fellowship.

    Rule 66. A map and compass offers no protection against getting horribly lost.

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    SAS is Scout Active Support. In one way it's the new name for Scout Fellowship, but it aims to be a bit more than that, and with a bit of a refresh on the image that fellowship had in a lot of places of all being at least 90.

    SAS units are all over the place, anywhere that used to have a fellowship, as well as places like campsite service crews, instructor groups and the like. You can set one up at a group level to support Scouting in the group - kind of like a support team to the section leaders and the exec. An SAS at a group might do things like help maintain equipment, support running activities, provide extra manpower/activities on camps, cook the BBQ at the AGM. Obviously they also need to have something to keep their interest going, so some practise events for any of those support activities (camping, BBQing, Scouting type activities) and potentially a social side to keep it all friendly.

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    Very Old Member BigBadBaloo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcush View Post
    Network IS NOT active support and are totally different. Active Support isn't a youth section and they'd have to go through the other Network for awards etc, where if they where a Network they wouldn't.
    I don't think anybody said it was and they would indeed have to register with a Network to complete the awards. However that should not be a problem, if those involved do not put stumbling blocks in the way.

    Our group was in this position about 18 months ago and we established a group SAS unit. It now has approximately 25 members ranging in age from 18 - 55. The SAS unit manager completed his QSA while in the SAS (although obviously registered with the County Network) and the various members support the sections in the group in any way that is asked of them, from assisting at camps and group events to assisting with fund-raising, to supporting the leaders at the regular section meetings utilising their various skills.

    It works for us and very successfully, too!
    Peter

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    A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Lao Tzu (600 BC - 531 BC)

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    Member Hannah_ESU's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your helpful responses. I am still absorbing the information at the moment, but I will be sure to let you know how we get on. I have to say, as our interested members now outnumber the District network by nearly 50% I think we have a strong case to approach the powers that be.

    Fingers crossed!
    Hannah

    ESL



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    Some of you obviously do not understand what a Network is, and how it differs to a Scout Active Support Unit.

    A Network is a youth section! (The fifth section in fact! We have five youth sections: Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Explorer & Scout Network Network has a balanced programme and self-development areas. Network members are there to take part in the programme. Awards form a part of this programme - but are not just what Network is for.

    A Scout Active Support has a service agreement, it exists to provide a service or function that supports Scouting. It does not have a programme or self-development areas.

    Hannah - stick with setting up a Network. As pointed out you can have more than one in a District. If it's managed by District - fine. If it's managed by County it's just classed as a local area Network.
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    I think you could be being a little presumptuous in assuming that we don't understand what Network is.

    There's a big difference between not understanding something, and going in for creative thinking to work around a problem.

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