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Thread: AMS 2016 and new rules for ECs

  1. #76
    ADC (Support) & DMM mediamanager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    I think it is vitally important that those responsible for making decisions on behalf of the group (ie the trustees):

    a) understand their responsibilities and liabilities
    b) understand what Scouting is
    c) understand the roles of the leaders who they are supporting

    If undertaking some basic online training modules helps with this then great.

    With a volunteering role that carries responsibility, you expect there to be training (or, where applicable, accreditation of prior learning/skills). You wouldn't expect a St Johns first aider to have no training, or a train driver on a volunteer railway, so why would it be acceptable in Scouting?

    I agree with some of what Mark says... i've always said there are three types of Scouting Volunteer:

    The parents who volunteer because of their kids
    Those who volunteer a few hours a week as a "volunteering" opportunity (or hobby)
    Those for whom Scouting is a lifestyle.

    I don't think one set is any less valuable than another, and we should be open and welcoming to all, but all should accept that there is training involved. Many of the problems, myths and mistakes that appear on this forum, and 1st fb, wouldn't happen if everyone did appropriate training. If people are not willing to make a commitment to a couple of hours sat in front of a PC doing training, how useful are they going to be to us?
    My worry is that some that sometimes we have "those who volunteer a few hours a week as a 'volunteering' opportunity" in decision making roles!
    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. #77
    Senior Member Mallah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mediamanager View Post
    And you appear to not care two hoots whether somebody accepting a vital role is provided the tools - and prepared to undertake basic training.
    Then you would be wrong - re read my post. You're putting words into my fingers now.

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

  3. #78
    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mediamanager View Post
    My worry is that some that sometimes we have "those who volunteer a few hours a week as a 'volunteering' opportunity" in decision making roles!
    I think where we disagree is on whether that is a problem or not!

    The officers on our exec are all parents, in it for their kids.
    The leaders on the exec are a mix of "lifestyle" scouters and those in it for their kids

    But if I had an accountant who wasn't a parent offer to use his skills as our treasurer, give us 2 hours of his time a week, and do all our financial admin, would this be a problem? As long as appropriate training was done of course

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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    ADC (Support) & DMM mediamanager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mallah View Post
    Then you would be wrong - re read my post. You're putting words into my fingers now.
    And you inferred that I was using a stick ... reread mine!
    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.

  5. #80
    ADC (Support) & DMM mediamanager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    I think where we disagree is on whether that is a problem or not!

    The officers on our exec are all parents, in it for their kids.
    The leaders on the exec are a mix of "lifestyle" scouters and those in it for their kids

    But if I had an accountant who wasn't a parent offer to use his skills as our treasurer, give us 2 hours of his time a week, and do all our financial admin, would this be a problem? As long as appropriate training was done of course
    My statement that said "my worry is that some that sometimes we have "those who volunteer a few hours a week as a 'volunteering' opportunity" in decision making roles" was slightly worded incorrectly so I'll explain my train of thought....

    The UKSA has GSLs, Chairs, and section leaders that are individuals who are looking for, as you stated, "volunteering opportunities". These roles require people who go one step further to ensure that the job not only gets done but gets done professionally.
    Anybody who's been a GSL knows that the hours are 24/7 sometimes.
    Last edited by mediamanager; 20-07-2015 at 12:34 PM.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mediamanager View Post
    I've begun to realise that my problem was that I always approached my volunteering as if it was an unpaid profession for me.

    In recent weeks / months I'm starting to see that others treat it like a hobby such as stamp collecting, airfix kit building, and painting landscapes.

    I'm on the outside now and starting to see how deep the rot is within the UKSA and it's not nice after all the years.
    You know, if I was the type of person who takes offence at things people say on internet forums - I'd be offended. I can only bow to your superior attitudes to volunteering.

    I read your posts around your leaving and was broadly sympathetic, in this though, you're coming across as something of a volunteer-snob. For what its worth, it doesn't seem to have occurred that membership numbers are up but adult volunteer levels haven't been able to keep up - hence all this rearrangement around older sections and the YL program.

    You talk about a rot setting in, I'd say what you think is supposed to cure it is actually causing it, you might have had bad experiences with other volunteers (I might even agree with you on the why's and where-fors) but that is the nature of a voluntary organisation - its not work, you cannot enforce standards on a voluntary work force.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    No they don't. They absolutely don't in most cases. They don't even think of themselves as volunteers. They just see themselves as "helping out with Scouts". They often have absolutley no concept of what they are "volunteering" for. Many don't even understand what scouting is about.

    I've heard that before. We are doing just fine. Then when you start lifting stones, the worms crawl out. They patently have not been doing fine. They have set themselves up for a huge fall. It is like driving at 80mph down the M1 it is all well and good, everything is fine until someone does something unexpected and you have not got the ability to handle the situation. You can be a car crash weiting to happen. I've seen it too often.

    They can do either of the above as an OH with no need for Associate Membership, but as soon as they join the committee, the board, the DEC, they become Trustees and it is only right and proper that they know what they are doing ( yes - even retired accountants and lawyers).

    How formal is the training? Very informal. To the point of being ineffective, it needs revising, it needs adapting to this particular need. But it needs doing nonetheless.

    I think that my erstwhile colleague is trying to say is that whilst some do their utmost best, there are others who, patently do not. If they are doing their utmost best, then God save the Scout Association.

    Do you know how long it takes for an unmanaged Exec to deteriorate from being correct to being out of line? Approximately one meeting if people don't know what they are supposed to be doing or how they are supposed to do it.

    I now what Mark is saying. I understand what he is saying and to a point I agree - and Mark will tell you that over the years we have not always agreed, but I have always considered mark to be one of the "pros" whether I agreed with him or not. He stood head and shoulders above many.

    I wonder how the performance of scouting (all scouting) would improve if we took a more "professional" approach to what we do? ( and Compass is not professional, making up rules as we go along is not professional).
    I take all that on board but would also say, your making some pretty sweeping generalisations about how (in this instance) my group operate - in doing so - you're being pretty disdainful of their efforts - efforts that you know nothing about, which as I said - if I was prone to taking offence on internet forums...

    Our group isn't perfect and I know you've had your own experiences with area execs etc - but they are your experiences.

    The dynamic within a voluntary organisation is completely different from a paid organisation - you know that though. A good example are charity shops - I used to manage an Imperial Cancer Research shop locally, it was a paid position as was the area manager's. They knew that they couldn't 'boss' a volunteer work force around or enforce targets, so they employed managers. They did their projections and came to understand that with paid managers in place (trying to boss a bunch of ornery OAP's volunteers about), they could offset the salary costs with the increased profits coming from enforcing sales targets.

    Scouts isn't quite the same in terms of targets - but the comparison is valid.

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    Mallah (20-07-2015)

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    You know, if I was the type of person who takes offence at things people say on internet forums - I'd be offended. I can only bow to your superior attitudes to volunteering.

    I read your posts around your leaving and was broadly sympathetic, in this though, you're coming across as something of a volunteer-snob. For what its worth, it doesn't seem to have occurred that membership numbers are up but adult volunteer levels haven't been able to keep up - hence all this rearrangement around older sections and the YL program.

    You talk about a rot setting in, I'd say what you think is supposed to cure it is actually causing it, you might have had bad experiences with other volunteers (I might even agree with you on the why's and where-fors) but that is the nature of a voluntary organisation - its not work, you cannot enforce standards on a voluntary work force.

    - - - Updated - - -



    I take all that on board but would also say, your making some pretty sweeping generalisations about how (in this instance) my group operate - in doing so - you're being pretty disdainful of their efforts - efforts that you nothing about, which as I said - if I was prone to taking offence on internet forums...

    Our group isn't perfect and I know you've had your own experiences with area execs etc - but they are your experiences.

    The dynamic within a voluntary organisation is completely different from a paid organisation - you know that though. A good example are charity shops - I used to manage an Imperial Cancer Research shop locally, it was a paid position as was the area manager's. They knew that they couldn't 'boss' a volunteer work force around or enforce targets, so they employed managers. They did their projections and came to understand that with paid managers in place, they could offset the salary costs with the increased profits coming from enforcing sales targets.

    Scouts isn't quite the same in terms of targets - but the comparison is valid.
    I think you can as TSA does this through POR.

  9. #83
    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    This is your subjective view. For many, its a hobby pursued with varying degrees of enthusiasm

    I'd argue it isn't a profession (from my point of view) because its something I don't get paid for and choose to do - its 100% voluntary and the extent of my involvement is 99% up to me.

    (The 1% is the mandatory child protection stuff.)

    I wonder how it would affect volunteer uptake if we put on recruitment posters that Scouting was an unpaid profession. ;-)
    scouting is a hobby for me.

    scouting is an interest for me.

    scouting is something i choose to do.

    scouting is something i volunteer to do.

    my scouting has a professional outlook.

    i apply my professional standards to my scouting.

    scouting is my profession.

    scouting is a lot of different things to different people.

    i have a role and responsibility to discharge. i need to be trained to do this. if i don't wish to be trained then i shouldn't be holding those roles and responsibilities.

    being trained to exercise one's responsibilities on a GEC is not something one should be able to opt out of simply because one is a volunteer, hobbyist, or unable to put in the time.

    training is part of the responsibilities that comes with the job.

    TM
    going...going...still here...just

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    Quote Originally Posted by scarlet pimp View Post
    I think you can as TSA does this through POR.
    TSA tries to do it through POR.

    ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by merryweather View Post
    scouting is a hobby for me.

    scouting is an interest for me.

    scouting is something i choose to do.

    scouting is something i volunteer to do.

    my scouting has a professional outlook.

    i apply my professional standards to my scouting.

    scouting is my profession.

    scouting is a lot of different things to different people.

    i have a role and responsibility to discharge. *i need to be trained to do this*. if i don't wish to be trained then i shouldn't be holding those roles and responsibilities.

    being trained to exercise one's responsibilities on a GEC is not something one should be able to opt out of simply because one is a volunteer, hobbyist, or unable to put in the time.

    training is part of the responsibilities that comes with the job.

    TM
    You're now putting words in my fingers.

    My beef (such as it is) is with the formalised training. Like I said, most people aren't stupid - when they volunteer they have a rough idea of whats involved, if they do come on board there should be people there to support them. I'm not saying being a volunteer absolves a person from knowing their responsibilities - I'm contesting the way that knowledge is being delivered and the onerous nature of it - as I keep saying, it feels like work.

    Whether we like it or not, we need to sell these volunteer positions. If its a GSL we need then that's a technical post, the training is going to be onerous - they need to know exactly what is expected. But being a committee member? Its not that complicated.

    I know people can be crap, but we're assuming the great British volunteering public has lost the ability to educate themselves and be proactive so must be spoon-fed information. (See **'s above.)

    To be clear, there are positions that require training; GSL, Chair, Treasurer (although you'd expect someone volunteering to at least have the basics), section leaders and (obviously) the training positions in the area. Most others have to remain a choice, just because they're not choosing to do formal training as ordained by HQ, doesn't necessarily mean they'll be flailing around aimlessly.

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    Pa_baroon - If you read bushcraft's post not as "all groups that..." but as "some groups that" and then consider that we need to ensure the outcomes he describes should not be allowed to happen.... Does that make more sense?

    Because to me, it probably is better to enforce training, and have a few groups close because their volunteers take umbridge, than to have groups fail catastrophically for lack of training.

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    ADC (Support) & DMM mediamanager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    You know, if I was the type of person who takes offence at things people say on internet forums - I'd be offended. I can only bow to your superior attitudes to volunteering.

    I read your posts around your leaving and was broadly sympathetic, in this though, you're coming across as something of a volunteer-snob.
    I actually find your labelling close to the truth - I believe in holding Scouting and volunteers around me in high regards provided that it does everything it can to ensure the most appropriate service is offered to both the children and adult members.

    Am I a "snob"? Be assured that I've been called worse others!

    If you find my attitude "superior" to yours then that's your call.

    This thread shows that, in some cases, the attitude seems to be acceptable to allow people to become trustees because they're prepared to step forward .... even when they might not be encouraged / expected to undertake the role requirements. Excuses seem to be plentiful in Scouting for accepting anything other than what's laid down as required.

    The rot isn't to do with numbers - it's about long established leaders being in roles that make important decisions but refuse to even consider change.

    We all experience Scouting differently - we obviously differ in our experiences.

    Never intended to insult.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mediamanager View Post
    I actually find your labelling close to the truth - I believe in holding Scouting and volunteers around me in high regards provided that it does everything it can to ensure the most appropriate service is offered to both the children and adult members.

    Am I a "snob"? Be assured that I've been called worse others!

    If you find my attitude "superior" to yours then that's your call.

    This thread shows that, in some cases, the attitude seems to be acceptable to allow people to become trustees because they're prepared to step forward .... even when they might not be encouraged / expected to undertake the role requirements. Excuses seem to be plentiful in Scouting for accepting anything other than what's laid down as required.

    The rot isn't to do with numbers - it's about long established leaders being in roles that make important decisions but refuse to even consider change.

    We all experience Scouting differently - we obviously differ in our experiences.

    Never intended to insult.
    No insult taken and no, I don't find your attitude superior to mine - its just different. Reading some of your other posts, I can see how important Scouts has been to and for you. I probably used to be the same but over the past few years have become a bit jaded - I no longer buy into the party line any more. For me its about the kids and the other leaders around me.

    Thinking about this over lunch - we're assuming that training will solve these problems - I'm not sure that it will. You're quite right re. change, its a big deal where I work (NHS) - HR spend a fair bit of time on change management - I'm still scarred by Dr Spencer Johnson's Who Moved My Cheese. So it's also a problem in Scouts too, a problem I think we've all experienced (and might be guilty of ourselves.) I think though, in the work place where you can enforce change and manage your way through - I don't think its so straightforward with a voluntary workforce.

    I don't agree with the notion that we might close down groups who's management isn't up to scratch or because their managers wouldn't do training - even if they were persuaded, they probably still wouldn't change. As a voluntary organisation, we work by mutual consent so we probably need to talk to each other a lot more. I don't think 'enforcing' training as per Nevyn's suggestion is the way forward (that would be a stick) - leaders who are stuck in their ways, or who refuse to move with the times are always going to be a problem - it seems to me, shutting down what might be an otherwise functioning section or group on that basis would be an over-reaction.

    In terms of who we take on board - be it committee members or leaders... Beyond the usual child protection rules, unless they turn out to be a total throbber (in which case they tend to be levered out eventually,) we can't be overly fussy - its just so tough to recruit. A good GSL and good section leaders are the back bone of Scouts - the trick is to get decent people into those positions then they can ensure quality and proficiency in their team as opposed to the team having to do endless modules (of dubious quality and value) the content of which they'll probably forget about within hours anyway.

    And the thing is, for us on the inside looking out - potential volunteers don't know what they're missing.

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    My point was more 'where is the line between "let them get on with it" and "damage limitation"'. I don't think 1 training module, tailored to the role, is all that arduous to fight over. But then again, I had 19 of the things signed off in the last year or so... It could easily be Stockholm Syndrome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    No insult taken and no, I don't find your attitude superior to mine - its just different.
    If we were all the same I'd worry!

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Reading some of your other posts, I can see how important Scouts has been to and for you. I probably used to be the same but over the past few years have become a bit jaded - I no longer buy into the party line any more. For me its about the kids and the other leaders around me.
    Leaving Scouting, that had been with me as a leader since aged 17, was one of the hardest decision I've ever faced and made.

    It was my crutch during the (very) dark times and my happiest feeling during the good ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Thinking about this over lunch - we're assuming that training will solve these problems - I'm not sure that it will. You're quite right re. change, its a big deal where I work (NHS) - HR spend a fair bit of time on change management - I'm still scarred by Dr Spencer Johnson's Who Moved My Cheese. So it's also a problem in Scouts too, a problem I think we've all experienced (and might be guilty of ourselves.) I think though, in the work place where you can enforce change and manage your way through - I don't think its so straightforward with a voluntary workforce.
    I don't believe that training will solve the problems .... not whilst we have people making decisions that don't believe that training will improve things.

    I've attended many courses - as a trainer, tutor, and participant - and often the content applies to those present around 70% of the time.

    Do we rewrite it so that we have umpteen different variations of Module 1 (for example) or do we ensure that those delivering are capable of making it valuable?

    We have "managers" (cue the "we're not a business" from some quarters) who are purely long serving Scouters. Some are in a role (GSL for example) with little or no skills to oversee a team of leaders. Some are stolidly against any change. And yet we expect them, as a movement, to keep Scouting fresh and appealing.

    Here's a challenge for everybody .... line up the GSLs in your district and ask yourself whether you'd allow them to run a stall at a fresher fair or similar event to recruit younger adults?

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    I don't agree with the notion that we might close down groups who's management isn't up to scratch or because their managers wouldn't do training - even if they were persuaded, they probably still wouldn't change.
    And neither would I .... though it was mentioned by somebody else.

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    As a voluntary organisation, we work by mutual consent so we probably need to talk to each other a lot more. I don't think 'enforcing' training as per Nevyn's suggestion is the way forward (that would be a stick) - leaders who are stuck in their ways, or who refuse to move with the times are always going to be a problem - it seems to me, shutting down what might be an otherwise functioning section or group on that basis would be an over-reaction.
    Why are leaders stuck in their ways always going to be a problem?

    Might I suggest it's because their line manager (cringe at the term and cue more abuse from some others) is ineffective at reviewing roles and making tough decisions.

    We have a deficiency in volunteers coming forward so we continue to accept those that are failing the role - pretty poor of Scouting really.

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    In terms of who we take on board - be it committee members or leaders... Beyond the usual child protection rules, unless they turn out to be a total throbber (in which case they tend to be levered out eventually,) we can't be overly fussy - its just so tough to recruit.
    We can be fussy - why accept somebody that isn't likely to improve a group through their participation?

    Would you accept a poorly cooked meal served in a restaurant just because you're hungry?
    I'd rather think we'd ask for a replacement or seek a meal elsewhere?

    Why isn't there more encouragement to share trustees and officers across the district? We allow leaders to hold more than one role but a good trustee might be agreeable to support another group as well.

    Parish councils share clerks - can't we share secretaries?

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    A good GSL and good section leaders are the back bone of Scouts - the trick is to get decent people into those positions then they can ensure quality and proficiency in their team as opposed to the team having to do endless modules (of dubious quality and value) the content of which they'll probably forget about within hours anyway.
    The trick is two-fold - find good GSLs/section leaders AND remove bad ones. Neither is the answer on its own.

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    And the thing is, for us on the inside looking out - potential volunteers don't know what they're missing.
    Agreed - but sometimes it's easier to ignore and accept rather than challenge.
    Last edited by mediamanager; 20-07-2015 at 04:08 PM.
    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.

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