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Thread: Loosing Scouts

  1. #1
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    Angry Loosing Scouts

    I have been looking through my records and have worked out that out of eleven scouts leaving since we started three years ago absolutely none have joined local explorers. Four of them have also earned their Chief Scout Gold. Most say it is too far to walk or cycle at night given the rural area we cover.


    Should we be looking at involving ESUs from neighbouring districts? I invite our district explorer groups to events but really don't get much feedback. Considering how much effort we put into the Scouts it seems a huge waste of effort.


    Looking at the nearest they seem to be currently being absorbed into their local group and we hear nothing from the other that everyone still seems to refer to as that groups explorers.

    We are a successful group that caters for three/four local villages right on the corner of our district and essentially I'm getting pretty fed up with ESUs seemingly just waiting to get fed by Scouts from their surrogate groups.

    Rapidly getting frustrated here. I can say now I would have at least eight who would be explorers now if it had been local and have several in the pipe before xmas looking to transition.


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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Okay, first, it's not a huge waste of effort if some of your kids go to scouts and no further. There's not some end goal in mind, and I'd hope the time they've spent in Beavers/Cubs/Scouts has been beneficial.

    I'm confused though, you're saying the nearest one is too far away for your scouts? So why are you thinking of other units? Surely they would be worse?

    How many scout groups feed the ESU?

    Maybe the ESL is doing all they can just to run a weekly meeting?

    Maybe the ESU is successful and "full" so doesn't feel the need to recruit?

    It sounds like you're frustrated by a lack of information and communication. Maybe talk to the DESC?

    It may be that you need a local explorer unit at your group, but on the other hand, it doesn't sound like you have the numbers, though, obviously, you'd need leaders too.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

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    SL - 44th Swansea
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    Other than the standard... speak to your DC/DESC... reply and having no idea of the location/distances between units.

    Is there scope in starting up a small unit where you meet as a satellite patrol to one of the (closest?) existing units to keep your Scouts in the 'system'? Maybe run it on the same evenings as Scouts to begin with, if there is space, and share leaders. Should probably arrange to meet with the unit on a regular basis say once every 3-4 weeks - if they alternate coming to you and you going to them then it is only once every couple of months you will have to travel.

    When Explorers first started, my Scout Leader at the time, split the troop into the age ranges and we met on the same evenings (7.00-8.45pm for Scouts and 8.00-9.45pm for Explorers). That way the Explorers could pass on their skills to the younger Scouts but still have their 'own time' and vica versa. This helped maintain a reasonably sized troop for training and activity purposes but still enabled the focused section programmes to be implemented.
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    ASL Kev's Avatar
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    I live in a small town on the border of our district, we haven't got our own ESU and the district's Explorer provision is mostly at the other end of the district with no public transport in that direction. Therefore we lose a lot from scouting at 14. We are on the border of another district, based in a large town which has got public transport links so I tend to point scouts who are interested in that direction. I was keen to try and do something about it but I was met with suggestions from my district such as I should start an ESU for our end of the district in a village which had no venue available and was even nearer the adjoining district (within easy walking distance of two of their ESUs). I decided I had other priorities. If your concern is that you don't want to point your scouts at ESUs in the neighbouring district then just don't worry about it.

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    Explorer Scouts for many is a fudge.

    Even in districts that have district units, often, they become dominated by members/leaders from whatever the biggest scout group in that district is, and even although it might still be a district provision, its actually a group provision.

    I told our local DESC I was stopping Explorers next September, he suggested that the next ESU along (attached to a group) had space - but that rather ignores the notion that no two scout troops run the same way - they night be similar, but never the same. We've found the biggest barrier to scouts going to ESU's elsewhere is the difference in leadership technique - they're often just not what they expect. You get complaints of 'oh, they're too strict...' or 'its bedlam, nothing ever gets done...'

    We're suggesting to ours already that they stick at Scouts as young leaders, we'll occasionally organise things for them to do - if they don't want to go elsewhere (none do so far.)

    For long time, we had a 'senior patrol' of Explorers who tagged along on Scout nights... But... YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO DO THAT...


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    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Okay, first, it's not a huge waste of effort if some of your kids go to scouts and no further. There's not some end goal in mind, and I'd hope the time they've spent in Beavers/Cubs/Scouts has been beneficial.

    I'm confused though, you're saying the nearest one is too far away for your scouts? So why are you thinking of other units? Surely they would be worse?

    How many scout groups feed the ESU?

    Maybe the ESL is doing all they can just to run a weekly meeting?

    Maybe the ESU is successful and "full" so doesn't feel the need to recruit?

    It sounds like you're frustrated by a lack of information and communication. Maybe talk to the DESC?

    It may be that you need a local explorer unit at your group, but on the other hand, it doesn't sound like you have the numbers, though, obviously, you'd need leaders too.
    None of those are acceptable reasons for an ESU not to do what they can to keep YP from all Groups in their District, though.
    Chris Hawes, CSL (Akela) and Webmaster, 9th North Watford Scout Group (on sabbatical); District Media Manager, Watford North Scout District.
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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    I told our local DESC I was stopping Explorers next September, he suggested that the next ESU along (attached to a group) had space
    Nooo! With 10 months to go? What's wrong with trying to find new leaders?

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    We're suggesting to ours already that they stick at Scouts as young leaders, we'll occasionally organise things for them to do - if they don't want to go elsewhere (none do so far.)
    Well you've given them an easy get-out, what did you expect?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ASLChris View Post
    None of those are acceptable reasons for an ESU not to do what they can to keep YP from all Groups in their District, though.
    I'll tell some of my hypothetical ESLs they aren't good enough then shall I? Need to spend a bit more time doing scout stuff.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - World Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Nooo! With 10 months to go? What's wrong with trying to find new leaders?
    Dang! Hadn't thought of that. I mean we'll look, but you know what its like, you spend ages as leaders looking for other leaders - not even to replace yourself, but to keep the sections going at all... It just gets a bit tiring.


    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Well you've given them an easy get-out, what did you expect?
    The expectations our Scouts have are not compatible with what our closest neighbours do.

    We're not very Scouty, or at least, that isn't the emphasis for them - especially as they get older. We do lots of Scouty stuff, but for them its about the camaraderie and banter. They wouldn't get that anywhere else -unless they all decamped, and then, perhaps a different leader team wouldn't give them the latitude they want - especially as they get older.

    Also, our numbers are going to take a hammering. We'll go from 15 or 16 to half a dozen with only 1 or 2 staying from the old crowd. (There are two or three who say they wouldn't stay on anyway after the main batch leave for Uni next September and we only have maybe three or four moving up between now and then... And we have two who are currently going to Exp's and Scouts - two or three of the older ones who will leave for Uni in Sept come down to Scouts already... We're quite close knit I suppose...)

    Plus, I don't want to have to start all over again with a new batch. But that is another thread.

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    Senior Member bernwood's Avatar
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    We used to feed our Scouts into a District ESU with a huge dropout rate and bad retention. When we open our second scout troop, we made the decision to start up an ESU as an integrated part of our group. Now between 75% and 80% go up to explorers and retention rate is at 68%. It currently has 26 members and is the biggest ESU unit in the county. They seem to like it better as they still feel part of the group and have all the friends around them, they also know the leader team as they help out at scouts a lot, so its sold to them right from the start of scouts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bernwood View Post
    We used to feed our Scouts into a District ESU with a huge dropout rate and bad retention. When we open our second scout troop, we made the decision to start up an ESU as an integrated part of our group. Now between 75% and 80% go up to explorers and retention rate is at 68%. It currently has 26 members and is the biggest ESU unit in the county. They seem to like it better as they still feel part of the group and have all the friends around them, they also know the leader team as they help out at scouts a lot, so its sold to them right from the start of scouts.
    Yup.

    I'm still not sure why they thought district level provision for older scouts would work - it had so much going against it. There was already a lot of competition between scout troops (at county flags and at district competitions) so the banter in that regard was high. Then you had the leader teams being poles apart in terms of discipline and program. All that coupled with the notion that kids were already leaving at age 14, and they managed to make it even less attractive for them.

    What happened up our way was, the biggest group essentially had the run of Explorers, due to sheer weight of numbers, everyone else was elbowed out. We're also rural, so it didn't help that every four weeks parents had as much as a 50 mile round trip to meetings.

    Bernwood's model worked for us too.

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post

    Bernwood's model worked for us too.
    District level explorers can work. But let's not start this old chestnut again.

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    Ian Wilkins
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    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post


    I'll tell some of my hypothetical ESLs they aren't good enough then shall I? Need to spend a bit more time doing scout stuff.
    Can you not read? DO WHAT THEY CAN. Just letting YP leave Scouting in the way the OP has described is not.
    Chris Hawes, CSL (Akela) and Webmaster, 9th North Watford Scout Group (on sabbatical); District Media Manager, Watford North Scout District.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    I'll tell some of my hypothetical ESLs they aren't good enough then shall I? Need to spend a bit more time doing scout stuff.
    Have you got any spare hypothetical ESLs? They sound quite useful!

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASLChris View Post
    Can you not read? DO WHAT THEY CAN. Just letting YP leave Scouting in the way the OP has described is not.
    Can you not be more polite? So I haven't understood what you've said, apparently, and that's all the fault of my comprehension.

    What if what they can do is nothing at all?



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    Jambowlree - World Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
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    When I was a Scout Explorers as a section was just starting up, and there was a unit at a nearby group, as there was no district provision. the ESL came down to Scouts one evening to visit, and that was more or less it. I didn't go to Explorers as I didn't fancy it, but I stayed on to do DofE as a helper, and that was before Young Leaders was established.
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