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Thread: Should this group be allowed to carry on?

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    Should this group be allowed to carry on?

    My son phoned me to ask my opinion. My grandson, Thomas, has just joined Beavers in an inner city Group. My son's ex-partner, who knows nothing about Scouting, asked if their were spaces in her nearest Beaver colony and was told there was. So she turned up with Thomas and a couple of his school friends, who had also been told there were spaces for them as well.

    Anyway, It turned out that Beavers, Cubs and Scouts all met on the same night. The Beaver leader had suddenly left a couple of months ago, and the Cub Leader hadn't run a Pack night for some time due to ill health, so the Scout leader was running all three sections. Beavers had half an hour or so by themselves before the Cubs arrived, then it was a joint meeting, then the Beavers left and the Scouts arrived. The Cub section never managed to have time just by themselves, it is always with Beavers and then Scouts. The leader who runs it has been a leader with the same Group for 22 years, apparently. When my son's ex partner asked her where the local Scout shop was so she could get a Beaver uniform, the leader didn't know where it was, which I find amazing. She then told my sons ex-partner that she only let Thomas and his friends become Beavers as they come from a poor area of the city, and being poor, Beavers would be something for the children to look forward to each week.

    Now I know that all leaders are volunteers, and I do try very hard to see different points of view from my own, but I think this leader's views are disgraceful. We are now trying to find another Beaver Colony for Thomas to go to. Am I being too critical?
    BalooMick

    2nd. Stubbington Oaks Cub Pack


  2. #2
    Ex Group Webmaster thescoutwebguy's Avatar
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    Maybe it's not right for it to be running like that, it look likes the group in question is in serious need of some Leaders.

    Maybe you could volunteer to help out with the Cubs?
    Yours in Scouting
    Ashley Lewis
    Ex Webmaster for 31st Bath (St Barnabas) Scout Group

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    My head says that the Group has no support from the local community and therefore should be closed. However, once closed it becomes a very long haul to re-open a Group.

    My heart says, hang on, this Leader is juggling all the balls to try and keep Scouting running and if he is managing some sort of cover with no support, then good on him ( though My Peck might call him a "blocker").

    As to the location of the local Scout Shop, or where to buy auniform, I have apparently been sending people to a shop that no longer does Scout kit for some time. So shoot me. Yes, I should know, and I do offer an alternative but providers change from time to time.

    The final comment is a tad undiplomatic, but heck, I can't cast the first stone there. But, BalooMick, I'm surprised. You are trying to find another Beaver Colony for your Grandson to go to. Surely the better solution would be to offer services to help alleviate the problems at the Group?
    Ewan Scott

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    Assistant Beaver Leader Keith's Avatar
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    The whole situations bad - the SL is left running the entire group so wheres the support from District?

    Isnt there something about background in the equal opportunities policy.
    Keith "Hawkeye"
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    Senior Member Kastor's Avatar
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    It sounds like the Group is in serious trouble and the SL is fighting a desperate rearguard action to stop it closing.

    They sound like their heart is in the right place but they should be suspending some of the Sections pending new/extra Leaders.

    As for where the local Scout shop is - look in the phone book. It would be nice if the SL could give you all the info but it sounds like they have their hands full just surviving. How about your son's ex-partner volunteering to help?

    GSL? District? - oh dear.
    To get more kids we need more adults - are we getting the message yet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post

    But, BalooMick, I'm surprised. You are trying to find another Beaver Colony for your Grandson to go to. Surely the better solution would be to offer services to help alleviate the problems at the Group?

    My son's ex-partner lives about 35 miles away from me, so to carry on running my own Cub pack one night, and do a 70 mile round trip another night to run their Cub Pack or Beaver Colony is out of the question. Apart from that, I work nights, and am already giving up over two hours work a week to Cubs, for which I don't get paid, and I'm not prepared to give up another few hours a week to help that Group as well. My boss, or wife, wouldn't be too happy either.
    BalooMick

    2nd. Stubbington Oaks Cub Pack


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    Senior Member Matt Donnelly's Avatar
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    As someone who took over a 'Scout Group' 4 years ago which had no leaders (or rather the one that was there bailed as soon as I said I'd step in to help him), I think one kid in each 'section' and little all in the way of resources or support from anywhere, all I can say is this person either needs help - both from their local community and from local Scouting - or it needs to close. Things should never be allowed to deteroriate to this point by districts, but of course I don't know what state the district is in. We managed to turn our group around in 2 years, so could they potentially... but only with other people getting involved. If not, then at some point this one-man band will stop playing altogether.

    From the description it is just this one SL... and if it is just the SL, then the child protection policy of 2 adults at all activities may have gone out the window. This needs the attention of the DC, particularly if there is no GSL (one wonders what such a GSL has been doing for things to get to that state...). Depending on numbers in the sections, there may be other concerns such as around safety and supervision.

    As for the comment about being from a poor area... it's a somewhat misguided statement but they are obviously trying to do their best as they see it. I've heard worse. If they are unsupported and perhaps isolated from the rest of Scouting (and perhaps the rest of the community), I can easily see how such thinking might set in unintentionally whilst trying to be inclusive.

    Ultimately, either new leaders and supporters need to materialise or the group will close at some point. If it's not meeting the basic standards for operation as laid down in POR, technically it HAS to be closed.
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  8. #8
    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kastor View Post
    As for where the local Scout shop is - look in the phone book.
    If only it was that simple in large parts of the country there will be no local Scout Shop at all, there may be uniform supply shops that also stock Scout Uniforms but you need to know this as it generally won;t be easy to find out which ones if any do stock them.

    For example as far as I am aware there is no Scout Shop in the whole of Leeds proper as we used to have an Outdoors in town which became a Millets and stopped stocking uniform when TSA sold the chain to Millets (since then the shop has closed anyway). There is a Scout Shop in Pudsey run by West Leeds District (Pudsey is technically in Leeds but is actually more like half way between Leeds and Bradford) and it is only open 2 or 3 days a week. So we let our members parents know of the Scout Shop, 2 uniform shops we know of that stock Scout Uniforms and about the scout shops website without us telling them about these options I doubt many parents would find them easily by themselves.

    As to the question of whether the Group should still be operating it kind of depends on how long the Cub Leader has been unable to help and if they are likely to be able to help again in the near future and if so that would then enable a more separated programme for the Cubs. Also other things like if they have a functioning Exec, own meeting place, decent kit etc will have a bearing (for example owning their own hall means its likely they can easily move to a situation whereby all sections meet separately if they get additional Leaders but meeting in someone else's halls might mean they have given up their old meeting times and getting them back may not be so easy)

    Peter Andrews ESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    My son's ex-partner lives about 35 miles away from me, so to carry on running my own Cub pack one night, and do a 70 mile round trip another night to run their Cub Pack or Beaver Colony is out of the question. Apart from that, I work nights, and am already giving up over two hours work a week to Cubs, for which I don't get paid, and I'm not prepared to give up another few hours a week to help that Group as well. My boss, or wife, wouldn't be too happy either.
    I meant perhaps your son or his ex-partner could be offering to help.

    Ultimately, either new leaders and supporters need to materialise or the group will close at some point. If it's not meeting the basic standards for operation as laid down in POR, technically it HAS to be closed.
    Well that is not always the best route. Think about this. If the alternative is one section and no Exec, no GSL or no Scouting at all, which is the better option?

    I can think of a number of Groups that do not meet basic standards, should we shut about 60 per cent of the District?
    Ewan Scott

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





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  10. #10
    Senior Member roger-uk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baloomick View Post
    My son phoned me to ask my opinion. My grandson, Thomas, has just joined Beavers in an inner city Group. My son's ex-partner, who knows nothing about Scouting, asked if their were spaces in her nearest Beaver colony and was told there was. So she turned up with Thomas and a couple of his school friends, who had also been told there were spaces for them as well.

    Anyway, It turned out that Beavers, Cubs and Scouts all met on the same night. The Beaver leader had suddenly left a couple of months ago, and the Cub Leader hadn't run a Pack night for some time due to ill health, so the Scout leader was running all three sections. Beavers had half an hour or so by themselves before the Cubs arrived, then it was a joint meeting, then the Beavers left and the Scouts arrived. The Cub section never managed to have time just by themselves, it is always with Beavers and then Scouts. The leader who runs it has been a leader with the same Group for 22 years, apparently. When my son's ex partner asked her where the local Scout shop was so she could get a Beaver uniform, the leader didn't know where it was, which I find amazing. She then told my sons ex-partner that she only let Thomas and his friends become Beavers as they come from a poor area of the city, and being poor, Beavers would be something for the children to look forward to each week.

    Now I know that all leaders are volunteers, and I do try very hard to see different points of view from my own, but I think this leader's views are disgraceful. We are now trying to find another Beaver Colony for Thomas to go to. Am I being too critical?
    First comment this is 4th hand information.

    Yes you are being too critical and why does you Son and/or ex-parttner offer to help.

    The ledaer views are, imho, misguided but would it be better just to have turned them away.

    This guy needs help not criticism
    Roger Woods
    Assistant Group Scout Leader,
    1st Sawley (All Saints) , Long Eaton

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  11. #11
    Diversity Ambassador Lynn-Cubs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kastor View Post
    GSL? District? - oh dear.
    Yes, this would be my first question, or an Exec, who currently holds the Bank account etc?

    It's not our job to condem, but I would be asking questions higher up and I'm not sure I would put my child in such a group

  12. #12
    Assistant Beaver Leader Keith's Avatar
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    In our district in the last few years we have had 4 groups get into difficulty - two closed, one was saved (on its final chance) and another is in danger.

    I think we need to be more proactive, rather than reactive, acting before a group gets into difficulties and providing support to help turn them around.

    The group that was saved is now stronger than ever thanks to 2 Escouters.
    Keith "Hawkeye"
    (Acting) Beaver Scout Section Leader (Woodbadge)
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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    [quote]It's not our job to condem, but I would be asking questions higher up and I'm not sure I would put my child in such a group [/unquote]

    So, and forgive me if I have got this wrong. You would be reluctant to send your child to a Group in difficulty? One presumes that you would also be reluctant to help at such a Group?

    In which case any Group showing a difficulty is doomed to a spiral of decline. Rather than walk away. those in the local area ought to be supporting by stepping in. I'm afraid that I am aware of several good people operating in exactly the ciscumstances described, it is wrong, it is poor quality Scouting, but it is Scouting and those who walk away to find a "better" option are only making matters worse.

    Yes, District should help, but Distyrict can only help so much if the local community will not support, or wpould rather go elsewhere rather than help.

    Uncomfortable? Perhaps.
    Ewan Scott

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





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  14. #14
    Senior Member Mallah's Avatar
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    I think the realistic answer for the sanity and health of the poor SL is to close everything except the Troop, asking parents to either step up to the plate as leaders of the other sections or to find leaders.

    He who receives a good turn should never forget it; he who does one should never remember it.

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    Are you been to critical ?

    Possibly, certainly the situation described is far from ideal more adult help is clearly needed no adult should be working single handed. I suspect that the District may well be in the same state as I do not see any ADC letting that state of affairs carry on if any resources were spare.

    Given that they have been passed on at least twice the comments about wanting to give young people from a poor area opportunities to join beavers might not be as clumsy as they sound. Talk about Expect More I think this poor lady? is having far to much expected from her

    Is there a reason why one of Thomas's parents could not help out?

    Y.I.S. Tony
    Last edited by Tony Ransley; 18-06-2012 at 03:01 PM.

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