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Thread: Maybe I'm becoming cynical

  1. #1
    ADC (Support) & DMM mediamanager's Avatar
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    Maybe I'm becoming cynical

    Having returned to managing a group in the last 15 months I'm really finding the role challenging.

    I've had some instances where my resignation was a key tap away but in the main I've found my scouting spirit renewed.

    One thing that's changed is my attitude towards insular groups - maybe insular is the wrong term but more about refocusing priorities.

    Those who know me are aware of the multitude of roles I've held within districts and the county - all provided me with skills, contacts, experiences and challenges.

    Sadly the experiences and challenges have made me reconsider exactly where my focus lies.

    This is turning into a sermon of sorts but I've always welcomed the chance to be part of the greater scouting picture - but I'm finding frequently that this is, on occasion, uninspiring and fails to offer enough to generate enthusiasm.

    Surely I'm not just getting old and grumpy when I now decide to focus my energies inwardly?

    Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk
    Mark Pullen
    Bradford South District (ADC (Support) & DMM)
    Trustee - 7th SV Gomersal Scout Group

    Formerly:
    Cub SA - 3rd SV Scholes Scout Group
    Hove Edge Scout Group (GSL, Trustee)
    West Yorkshire Scout County (ACC Cubs, Agent 2:007, County Secretary, County MM, Gang Show Secretary, Gang Show Media)
    Keighley District (ADC Cubs, ADC Beavers, DMM, Trustee)
    8th Keighley Scout Group (ACSL, CSL, GSL, Group Chair)

    All posts made by myself are of a personal nature.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Marc. When someone like you who has a wider view of Scouting steps into a Group role one might imagine that would boost a wider view if Scouting at that Group.

    However, there are pressures to internalise, to be inwardly focussed, and this is amplified if here is an general inertia towards District and County from others. There is a tendency towards the path of least resistance.

    I was never as involved as you were, but I at one point was involved in the periphery of Training, I administered the West Yorkshire Pioneering Camps for a few years, I supported several larger events. I run District events. But the inertia locally was overpowering. In all my years being involved in Pioneering camps we never saw another Scout from our District. If we ran District events, they were largely unsupported by other Groups.

    Now I am inwardly focussed, as you put it. Not because I want to be, but because I have been driven here by repeated lack of support and the feeling of isolation. It isn't what I thought Scouting was about.

    My only advice is this. I have let it get to me. I feel quite embittered in some directions. Don't let things get that far.
    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



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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    have you realised that districts with a gazilion meetings, vision 2018 plans etc etc can make all the noise in the world but a good akela will keep being good, a scout leader will keep planning his camps and a group will keep beeing excellent... no matter if there is a 'district sub committee - social engagement' or not?

    we might be insular... i don't know... we used to run all the scout events for our old district (and were supported) but we pick and choose what we want to do in our new district to see what enhances our programme.

    District and county exist but they barely impinge on us at all.

    Example of why we appear insular: I imagine they would like to see us turn up at the district cyclo x in great numbers but we have a leader who takes us to the velodrome so we do that instead. Why not do both? District Cyclo x = a full day with a bit of cycling and lots of waiting around, Velodrome = half a day with loads of cycling on awesome posh bikes. It's a no brainer... we have a duty to get the best return on our leaders' investment of their time.

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    Senior Member CambridgeSkip's Avatar
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    I don't know how it is in the rest of the country but round our way there seems to have been a drift towards fewer but larger groups. In the time I have been in Cambridge, if you ignore the groups added due to another district being disbanded, we have seen 5 groups either close or cede from TSA and 2 new ones open. A net loss of 3 groups. Yet over all numbers are up, and up by a hell of a lot as well. Which means existing groups are becoming bigger.

    Big groups are able to do their own thing far more easily so I wonder if this is a cause?

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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    As a group we try to get involved in whatever district or county events are run. We are going to (and I am one of the event managers for) the district outing to Longleat in 2 weeks time. Impressively 9 out of the 10 groups in district will be there. We attend the district carol service, and hosted it 2 years ago - we will no doubt host again in a couple of years (its usually hosted by those groups that have close enough links with a large enough church, and someone willing to do the admin).

    Our Scouts take part in the county-organised JOTI/JOTA event.

    But we can only get involved if:

    1. The YP want to be involved
    2. There are leaders available
    3. There is sufficient notice of the event
    4. It doesnt clash with events that we have already arranged.

    For example, we plan most of our camps, book venues, etc up to year in advance. If an invite to district cub camp comes in after we have booked the venue there is not a lot we can do.

    As Chris says, we also don't tend to go to events if we do something better ourselves. If a district organise a scout hike which is 5 miles along the canal, and a group of Scouts are used to hiking 20 miles a day across the Brecons, they are hardly likely to sign up. For another troop, which never goes out walking, the 5 mile canal hike might be really exciting.

    District events, by their nature, will be aimed somewhere in the middle of what Groups might do. For some groups they are really exciting, and beyond what the group could do by themselves. For other groups, they are a bit boring, and the leaders could organise something much better.

    Groups operate differently. And before someone suggests it should all be standardised.... standardisation would lead us to the lowest common denominator. Greenfield camping and mountain expeditions would disappear. Sure district events would get a better turn out, but at what cost?

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post

    Example of why we appear insular: I imagine they would like to see us turn up at the district cyclo x in great numbers but we have a leader who takes us to the velodrome so we do that instead. Why not do both? District Cyclo x = a full day with a bit of cycling and lots of waiting around, Velodrome = half a day with loads of cycling on awesome posh bikes. It's a no brainer... we have a duty to get the best return on our leaders' investment of their time.

    I'll second that.. County Kayaking Day, turn up and get a little bit of kayaking and go home. Group event turn up and get proper tuition and actually develop skills. It is, as Chris says, a no Brainer. If you have evolved into a position where you can do it better, then you do it in house.
    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



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  8. #7
    ADC (Support) & DMM mediamanager's Avatar
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    I think my issues are because my expectations now are very high.

    I became slightly blinkered and "real" grass roots scouting is an ever changing creature.

    I wish to pacify the trolls out there (you know who you are because I was once one as well) that when I ask for local advice I do receive it.

    Maybe the nature of being volunteers mean that what is urgent to one person is less of a priority to others.

    Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk
    Mark Pullen
    Bradford South District (ADC (Support) & DMM)
    Trustee - 7th SV Gomersal Scout Group

    Formerly:
    Cub SA - 3rd SV Scholes Scout Group
    Hove Edge Scout Group (GSL, Trustee)
    West Yorkshire Scout County (ACC Cubs, Agent 2:007, County Secretary, County MM, Gang Show Secretary, Gang Show Media)
    Keighley District (ADC Cubs, ADC Beavers, DMM, Trustee)
    8th Keighley Scout Group (ACSL, CSL, GSL, Group Chair)

    All posts made by myself are of a personal nature.

  9. #8
    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    i don;t have any desire to move out of the group...

    i need my accounts done on time
    insurance paid
    leaders to turn up
    camps to happen
    subs collected
    new skills to be acquired by leaders
    kit repaired and replaced
    and more along those lines

    i don't give a rat's **** about vision 2018, youth council delegates, moots, st george's day (but i will still go to keep the peace), community week and a bucketload of other buzzterms at local and national levels that seem to matter because people make alot of noise about them but don't make a jot of difference to me or my group.

    We need an appts advisory committee and somebody to process CRBS. I am grateful to the teams who do that.
    we need a jamboree contingent

    other than that? it is all just noise at times. I look ath the district and county calendars and am bemused by what i see... how do all these meetings get called? What comes of it?!

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  11. #9
    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    I think one of the difficulties with county, and to a lesser extent, district, stuff, is that it just takes a long time to do anything, and it's a natural consequence of the time given to things.

    I mean, thinking about the county DESC meetings we have, they are termly, and about 2 hours long, so 6 hours a year, in which, if we wanted to organise something in that time, well, we'd struggle, and we'd need a hell of a lot of lead time.

    If you had a campsite committee that met quarterly, and at one meeting an issue was raised, that someone had to go and investigate, the report back at the next meeting, another question is raised, and it's all sorted at the next meeting, then that's six months gone, a whole camping season, essentially.

    In other words, I can see why these things can take time, and people get cheesed off with a lack of action.

    Essentially I'd expect, based on my own biased experience, that, say, a county canoe day was organised by two or three people who can do the bulk of the work that either live closely together, or have time to talk to each other, who can then pull in the larger team for the detailed logistics of the day.

    A national event is more likely to be a small local team that organise something that just happens to be open to people across the country.

    Whereas if you wanted to organise a weekend camp for your troop, well, a post troop meeting pub trip would probably account for most of it, and you see each other every week.

    Ian
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    I think one of the difficulties with county, and to a lesser extent, district, stuff, is that it just takes a long time to do anything, and it's a natural consequence of the time given to things.

    I mean, thinking about the county DESC meetings we have, they are termly, and about 2 hours long, so 6 hours a year, in which, if we wanted to organise something in that time, well, we'd struggle, and we'd need a hell of a lot of lead time.

    If you had a campsite committee that met quarterly, and at one meeting an issue was raised, that someone had to go and investigate, the report back at the next meeting, another question is raised, and it's all sorted at the next meeting, then that's six months gone, a whole camping season, essentially.

    In other words, I can see why these things can take time, and people get cheesed off with a lack of action.

    Essentially I'd expect, based on my own biased experience, that, say, a county canoe day was organised by two or three people who can do the bulk of the work that either live closely together, or have time to talk to each other, who can then pull in the larger team for the detailed logistics of the day.

    A national event is more likely to be a small local team that organise something that just happens to be open to people across the country.

    Whereas if you wanted to organise a weekend camp for your troop, well, a post troop meeting pub trip would probably account for most of it, and you see each other every week.

    Ian
    This is why organisation by committee is a bad idea.

    Our district outing in a couple of weeks is being co-ordinated by myself and the DC, with the promise renewal being arranged by 2 other leaders. We each know our tasks, and it has entirely been organised by phone/email - no official meetings. Tie in an online signup system (which most of the groups used) and all is simple.

    It will have taken us less than 2 months from concept to an outing for 430 people.

    Where possible within our group we do the same. People are tasked with a job, and allowed to get on with it. Any approvals etc needed from the exec are emailed around. The emails can be kept and added in as an agenda item at the next exec so that it appears in the minutes eventually for accountability.

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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    Senior Member Douglas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    I was never as involved as you were, but I at one point was involved in the periphery of Training, I administered the West Yorkshire Pioneering Camps for a few years, I supported several larger events. I run District events. But the inertia locally was overpowering. In all my years being involved in Pioneering camps we never saw another Scout from our District. If we ran District events, they were largely unsupported by other Groups.

    Now I am inwardly focussed, as you put it. Not because I want to be, but because I have been driven here by repeated lack of support and the feeling of isolation. It isn't what I thought Scouting was about.
    Maybe those nice people from the district next door would invite you to one of their events.

  14. #12
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Oh they do ( I think I've just worked out who you are) and one day we may actually get our act together and join you. Though this year is looking dire at the moment. My daughter is getting married in May. Now, I thought that getting married meant I went out with the lads for a few drinks and a curry, then on the day I turned up in Church a free man, and half an hour later I had a life sentence. Apparently, it is now a long series of shopping days, dress fittings, parties and more fittings before a weekend in a Castle clay pigeon shooting. I'm struggling to find a free weekend between now and May... and when they come back from their honeymoon they are doing it all over again for their friends they can't fit into the castle!

    I think by the end of July they MAY have cleared the decks for us. (It is creating chaos - my daughter is the actibng BSL, two of her bridesmaids are ABSLs, My CSL and another of the ABSLs are priority guests, the Groom is an ABSL - every time they have a "do" they wipe out the Scout Group Leader team!
    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



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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Oh they do ( I think I've just worked out who you are) and one day we may actually get our act together and join you. Though this year is looking dire at the moment. My daughter is getting married in May. Now, I thought that getting married meant I went out with the lads for a few drinks and a curry, then on the day I turned up in Church a free man, and half an hour later I had a life sentence. Apparently, it is now a long series of shopping days, dress fittings, parties and more fittings before a weekend in a Castle clay pigeon shooting. I'm struggling to find a free weekend between now and May... and when they come back from their honeymoon they are doing it all over again for their friends they can't fit into the castle!

    I think by the end of July they MAY have cleared the decks for us. (It is creating chaos - my daughter is the actibng BSL, two of her bridesmaids are ABSLs, My CSL and another of the ABSLs are priority guests, the Groom is an ABSL - every time they have a "do" they wipe out the Scout Group Leader team!
    Ah yes lots to organise... but surely as a man you won't be expected to be involved in most of the shopping, so should have some free time then while Fiona is out spending your money?!

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

  16. #14
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Ho no, gotta be available to say nice things...
    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.upperdearnevalleynavigators.org.uk

  17. #15
    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Ho no, gotta be available to say nice things...
    Heh... my fiancee won't let her dad anywhere near the shopping!

    That said, our themes for the stag and hen nights are perhaps a bit predictable... my other half is planning a "guide holiday" themed event at a church hall that they often use for pack holidays, while the stag night is going to be a weekend camping at my (and my best man's) favourite greenfield site in devon....beer + fire. Conveniently there are holiday cottages and a hotel in teh village for those with a phobia of camping.

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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