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Thread: Beavers Galore

  1. #1
    Man in a daft hat Hatman's Avatar
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    Beavers Galore

    Our HQ is not very big and the size limits the number of Beavers to 24. Otherwise they are constantly crashing into each other and bouncing off the walls.
    Over the last year we have been at or near the limit with Beavers coming off the waiting list balancing those going to Cubs. However, in the middle of last year I could see from the waiting list that we were going to go over the limit in January and so we took the decision that we would recruit some more leaders and start a second Colony. Some Beavers volunteered to move over to the new Colony and so on 12th January we had two colonies of 15. So that's 30 Beavers and the waiting list cleared and taken in. So far so good.
    Then I started to get lots of enquires from parents of children not on the waiting list who had not put their children down because they knew we were full. The word that we had got places spread like wildfire and as of this week we have got 38 Beavers and some more 5 year olds on the waiting list. Next week, I am investing 17 new Beavers. The new Colony is at 22 and near the limit again.

    What's interesting about all this is just how much demand there is out there for places in Scouting. We have not done any sort of recruitment drive. They are just coming out of the woodwork.

    Nigel
    Norfolk Broads
    ABSL 1st Hoveton and Wroxham Sea Scouts
    www.hovetonandwroxhamscouts.org.uk

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    Senior Member David Kendall's Avatar
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    Well done

    If only Leaders could come from woodwork too ! I'm running a Troop of 27 with myself and one ASL (plus we ask for parent help on a rota). I've got 3 Scouts moving on to Explorers between now and summer hols but have 9 Cubs coming between Easter and October half term - arrgh! Have had to close the doors to external joins to protect Cub places. A 2nd Troop might be on the cards but just can't seem to get any more Leaders.
    In between roles/helping out where I can......

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    Exactly the same thing happened to us. opened a second colony about 5 years ago for the same reasons you have and they've been full ever since. We're constantly passing on children to other groups in the district because our waiting list is so full. It's a nice place to be.

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    So how did you recruit the leaders?

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    nele
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    I think it depends a lot on locality. We have always had a waiting list for beavers. We have 4 colonies 3 farily close together at 2 different schools and one in the centre of Brussels.
    Currently due to ongoing road works which started 18 months ago the car travel time to one colony from inside Brussels has risen from 20-30 minutes on a good day to 45 minutes plus. That is understandably too much for most parents... Even local parents find the diversion a pain. that colony is currently under strength at only 11 members and we have invited every potential Beaver on our waiting list...
    Our 2 closest less affected colonies are at full strength with some waiting. The one in the centre of time which was only opened last May is full and has about 30 waiting who only want that location...
    They could really use a second colony there, but we would need more leaders and we'd also need more cub space soon after, and we already need to open scouts...

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    Senior Member Orange Bucket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hatman View Post
    What's interesting about all this is just how much demand there is out there for places in Scouting. We have not done any sort of recruitment drive. They are just coming out of the woodwork.
    Sadly the demand doesn't seem to be everywhere and can be highly localised. I've been involved with Beavers as a parent helper for a bit less than two years and for most of that time I'd say our colony has had about 17 (including new ones on a trial period) and a typical attendance of about 14. Demand seems to be falling though and even with some new faces since Christmas we probably have at most 14 at the moment.

    We have a second colony based less than a mile away and not so long ago it was full and had a waiting list, though that might be a red herring as I've heard the typical attendance was more like 15. I understand that area attracts a lot of professionals from abroad who are on relatively short contracts or who return home for extended holidays so that distorts things.

    I do believe parents have received the the message loud and clear that demand for places in Scouting exceeds supply. Unfortunately locally that isn't actually the right message.

    G.

  7. #7
    Man in a daft hat Hatman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nevynxxx View Post
    So how did you recruit the leaders?
    To recruit the leaders we used the system we normally use at times like this. We called a meeting of Beaver Parents and Waiting List Parents. Much to my surprise, 6 turned up which is a lot for a meeting of this type. I am sure that you will know, however, that quality comes before quantity in recruiting leaders. From these 6, we recruited 2 new ABSLs and other offers of various types of assistance. This took us to 7 ABSLs, an SA and 3 YLs.
    The key to this is demonstrating to potential new Leaders that they are part of a larger team and that there is support and backup both from within the Beaver Team and from the wider Group. We are not recruiting them and then doing a runner. We are a successful Group and success breeds more success. Getting to that stage is a lot harder.
    Because we have a large Leader team we can deal with people who can't come every week due to shift patterns etc. and that opens Leadership opportunities up to many more people. Also, it does not matter is someone is away for a while. Last year, I was away for 3 months in New Zealand but we had the resources to cope.

    We are running the two Colonies on the same night back to back with the same programme and Leader Team. We take it in turns to do the programme planning and on these nights you have to be at both Colonies but otherwise we don't need everybody at every meeting. It is working so far.

    As for recruiting children, I am happy to let them do the talking for me. If they are enjoying it, they tell their friends. Don't underestimate the power of the mummies talking at the school gate either (well they do it more on Facebook now but you know what I mean). Who else teaches their children life skills and takes them on hikes, camps, sleepovers, out in kayaks and power boats, rifle shooting, archery, morris dancing, climbing etc. etc. etc. and all for 25 per term. It comes in waves, of course, and the increased birth rate plus two new housing estates in the village are driving demand.

    When I was with the 3rd Bromley in London, we had the 4th and the 5th just up the road so there was plenty of choice and other Groups to soak up demand. Out here in the sticks it is a bit more difficult and Groups are few and far between so if there is an increase in demand then it up to us to fill it. Nobody else will.

    Nigel
    ABSL 1st Hoveton and Wroxham Sea Scouts
    www.hovetonandwroxhamscouts.org.uk

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    nevynxxx (30-01-2015)

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    Thanks Nigel. I ask because we are in a similar situation.

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    Assistant Beaver Leader Keith's Avatar
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    Congratulations!

    So when is colony number 3 opening?
    Keith "Hawkeye"
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    Man in a daft hat Hatman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith View Post
    So when is colony number 3 opening?
    At this rate round about June!
    ABSL 1st Hoveton and Wroxham Sea Scouts
    www.hovetonandwroxhamscouts.org.uk

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    I am picking this up almost a year later as we are about to do the same thing, we have asked current parents and will start our new colony with only 4 'experienced' Beavers. So as not to overwhelm everyone (esp the leaders) we are planning to start the new beavers (oldest first) slowly. Probably a group of 10 so we will have 14 until maybe the beginning of March (or maybe Easter depending in how it goes) and then another 6. Given that our top number is 24 and leaders will occasionally (or regularly) have to bring along cub aged children too capping it at 20 or 22 seems sensible.
    'Simba'

    BSL/ADC Beavers.

    All opinions stated are my own.

  13. #12
    Man in a daft hat Hatman's Avatar
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    Good luck with your new Colony. It sounds like you have thought it through and it should go well.

    We are now one year on from starting our 2nd Colony. Numbers peaked at 42 and have now dropped back slightly. Doing it twice on the same night with just a 15min gap is interesting but we are all enjoying it and having so many leaders means we can get a lot done.The sleepover was exciting with so many but we have not had many joint events unless we are away from HQ with a bit of space.
    On Saturday we are doing our Christmas show for the first time with so many Beavers. The rehearsal was a bit chaotic so that probably means it will be fun.

    Our experience has been a very positive one and I hope yours will be too.

    Nigel
    Norfolk Broads
    ABSL 1st Hoveton and Wroxham Sea Scouts
    www.hovetonandwroxhamscouts.org.uk

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    Senior Member Ihatecamping's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomsmum View Post
    I am picking this up almost a year later as we are about to do the same thing, we have asked current parents and will start our new colony with only 4 'experienced' Beavers. So as not to overwhelm everyone (esp the leaders) we are planning to start the new beavers (oldest first) slowly. Probably a group of 10 so we will have 14 until maybe the beginning of March (or maybe Easter depending in how it goes) and then another 6. Given that our top number is 24 and leaders will occasionally (or regularly) have to bring along cub aged children too capping it at 20 or 22 seems sensible.
    Your Cub leader must be flapping like a wounded budgie
    The long march through the institutions is nearly complete.

  15. #14
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    We already have two cub packs

    i can't imagine doing two sessions back to back! I am drained after an hour (that will hopefully improve with experience though)
    'Simba'

    BSL/ADC Beavers.

    All opinions stated are my own.

  16. #15
    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomsmum View Post
    We already have two cub packs

    i can't imagine doing two sessions back to back! I am drained after an hour (that will hopefully improve with experience though)
    I could probably run two Cub Sessions (at 90 minutes each) or even 2 2 hour scout sessions back to back

    2 1-hour beaver sessions back to back would leave me a gibbering wreck!

    I have a great respect for Beaver Leaders!!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomsmum View Post
    I am picking this up almost a year later as we are about to do the same thing, we have asked current parents and will start our new colon] Given that our top number is 24 and leaders will occasionally (or regularly) have to bring along cub aged children too capping it at 20 or 22 seems sensible.
    The cap at 24 can be exceeded with permission from your GSL (admittedly this would mean having communication with your GSL!)

    Personally I wouldnt include cub-aged siblings in that cap... although obviously they would technically need to be included in numbers for adult:child ratios when going out and about. We have found that cub-aged siblings can actually be quite helpful with Beavers (e.g. helping to referee games, assisting the younger ones with basic crafts, or filling in for an odd-number during a game!)
    Dan Spencer

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