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Thread: What should a DESC do?

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    What should a DESC do?

    Hi everyone

    W've been without a DESC for many years (10 or so) but may now be about to have someone in post

    I'd be interested in finding out how it works in other Districts & what actually do they do, or should they do?

    Looking a the official Role Profile, it has a fair few 'Ensure' phrases, but none of these things exist at the moment
    any pointers?

    Thanks

    Richard

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    Ooooh...

    I was going to say we're not typical, so our example won't match the official role info. However, I'm not sure typical exists for this role.

    It'll depend on the set up; district ESU/s or ESU's attached to groups. Then it'll depend on the culture of your district. Our district is hands off/arms length/they're-there-if-you-need-them. Others are more hands-on to the extent of micromanagement (most districts are somewhere in between.)

    For me, DESC's support Explorer provision, they don't manage it or manage ESL's. ESL's are more than capable of managing units themselves (and if you've not had a DESC for a while like we hadn't) then you'll have been getting on with things in some way shape or form.

    The new DESC probably shouldn't wade in in the first instance, I think that's probably the main bit of advice - it won't be appreciated.

    Our current DESC is pretty decent. We hardly ever see him right enough, but if we need anything, then he'll be there.

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    AESL & AGSL shiftypete's Avatar
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    We went for about 4 or 5 year without a DESC at the time it didn't feel like we were missing one all that much until we got good new one.

    What our current DESC does

    Strategically manages the Explorer provision in the District, working to set up new Units where there is demand and trying to help recruit new Leaders for exisitng Units where needed
    Supports ESLs and AESLs inc as a TA plus any other issues we may want them to help deal with
    Runs a programme of District wide Explorer activities
    Supports DofE provision, especially expeditions

    Our DESC also runs the largest ESU in our District as its ESL.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Assistant Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.org.uk

    Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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    ASL and YLUL wealdbrook's Avatar
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    A DESC should support the YL provision, helping to chase groups for details of all the YLs, etc. We have a great one, she went though the census and pestered every GSL to give her names of all the YLs they had listed and explain all the Scouts over 14!
    John Alexander,
    ASL and Assistant Webmaster
    1st Weald Brook
    http://www.1stwealdbrook.org.uk
    ESL(YL) Brentwood District

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    AESL & AGSL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wealdbrook View Post
    A DESC should support the YL provision, helping to chase groups for details of all the YLs, etc. We have a great one, she went though the census and pestered every GSL to give her names of all the YLs they had listed and explain all the Scouts over 14!
    Sounds like a good way to piss off your GSLs and SLs to me as the age range for Scouts extends up to 14.5 years old so they have nothing to explain for Scouts aged 14 to 14.5.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Assistant Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.org.uk

    Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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  7. #6
    Sea Scout Leader richardnhunt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wealdbrook View Post
    A DESC should support the YL provision, helping to chase groups for details of all the YLs, etc. We have a great one, she went though the census and pestered every GSL to give her names of all the YLs they had listed and explain all the Scouts over 14!
    I do wish supporter roles would realise that carrots work better than sticks when the workforce pays to be there.....

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    ASL and YLUL wealdbrook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richardnhunt View Post
    I do wish supporter roles would realise that carrots work better than sticks when the workforce pays to be there.....
    Would you like to suggest a carrot that works for Scout leaders wanting to hang on to their older Scouts and GSLs who never tell anyone they have YLs in their group? A bit like trying to get Scout Leaders to tell the YP about Explorers!
    John Alexander,
    ASL and Assistant Webmaster
    1st Weald Brook
    http://www.1stwealdbrook.org.uk
    ESL(YL) Brentwood District

  10. #8
    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    I've just read the role description again...turns out I'm not a great DESC. Crushed.

    I'll echo what others have said. Run district level events. Make sure the provision is the right size and shape.
    Listen to the GSLs, the ESLs, everyone basically.
    Sort, or get someone to sort, YL provision.
    Be awesome.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2017 - May 2018
    http://www.jambowlree.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by wealdbrook View Post
    Would you like to suggest a carrot that works for Scout leaders wanting to hang on to their older Scouts and GSLs who never tell anyone they have YLs in their group? A bit like trying to get Scout Leaders to tell the YP about Explorers!
    I've played both ends of that game - against myself - being the SL and the ESL over the past couple of years.

    Truth is, its frustrating seeing a kid you've worked with and helped develop disappear not just from your section but from your group entirely - especially if they don't want to go.

    Its a balance. We know what the rules say, but as far as I've always seen it, its up to the young person. Way back at the beginning, we'd get the DESC and ESL's coming down and imploring young folk to join, but they just weren't interested - mostly due (ironically) to competition between scout groups. There was a fair bit of loyalty to groups across the district. (I think in that regard, the DESC job is really tough because conditions are so varied.)

    What I did notice is, Scouts are far more keen to move on as a group rather than individually. The more there are, then the more chance you have of them moving to Explorers and crucially, sticking with it.

    But in the context of the OP, it'll depend on the prevailing attitudes in their district.

    On district events. be prepared (haha) for a battle to get those established. Kid's time these days is all tied up, when something know pops up... Pretty much everything our DESC has tried died on that mantle. I can hardly get my Explorers to come to things, what chance did the DESC have... Now, he supports the things ESL's are doing more than anything, and has given up on forums. (I fine idea in theory, but a total non-starter for us. Of all the things on offer to young people in an already busy schedule - the last thing they wanted to join a talking shop wittering on about what they could do - instead of actually just doing it. Its the ESL's job to read their minds and organise...)

  12. #10
    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Truth is, its frustrating seeing a kid you've worked with and helped develop disappear not just from your section but from your group entirely - especially if they don't want to go.
    It's ok if they're still in scouting *somewhere* though right?

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    we'd get the DESC and ESL's coming down and imploring young folk to join,
    Stuff that. I tend to go down, where I can, and we have joint meetings, I have a standard leaflet/poster thing with a terribly 2014 word cloud on it of all the stuff we did in one year, contact details. I say to 'em, "look, you've spent the evening with us, you can see we don't bite, this is what we do, all I'm asking is you give it a go for a few weeks, see if you like it" kind of thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    What I did notice is, Scouts are far more keen to move on as a group rather than individually. The more there are, then the more chance you have of them moving to Explorers and crucially, sticking with it.
    Word.

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    On district events. be prepared (haha) for a battle to get those established. Kid's time these days is all tied up, when something know pops up... Pretty much everything our DESC has tried died on that mantle.
    I guess it's a consequence of how we organise stuff, that we just say "right, Gilwell24 is a district trip, sign up, sign up" and because they want to go, they do, and that they don't know everyone, but a few of their mates are going, that's all okay. Then they end up making friends with someone from a different unit at the camp, then the next joint meeting they go say hi and have a chat, and meet their mates...and the next camp you wouldn't know unless you knew which explorer is in which unit. Aye, takes a bit of work and trust to start with, and the support of the leaders*, and there's still some that stick to their own, but once you're on a roll, it has its own momentum.

    Of course, it might also be a consequence of our geography and, ummm, demographic, the three main units being within 2-3 miles of each other, and the fourth being maybe 4-5 away, and the demographic being it's normal for kids of all classes to be taxied about by mum and dad and not have to rely on patchy at best bus services.

    * Like we have a joint meeting, and that's the explorer meeting for the week, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday Explorers are all meeting on Monday for the water fight, and that's the message that goes out, not "yeah, Thursday Explorers, we've got a meeting Thursday, but there's another meeting tonight (Monday) run by that DESC we won't be there but you can go if you like". Yeah, just to be clear, not saying that's what happened with yours pa, it actually happened with us at first, and it took probably a generation of Explorers, 2-3 years, to turn it around.

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Its the ESL's job to read their minds and organise...)
    Ha! Yup, that just about sums up being an ESL.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2017 - May 2018
    http://www.jambowlree.org

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    Sea Scout Leader richardnhunt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wealdbrook View Post
    Would you like to suggest a carrot that works for Scout leaders wanting to hang on to their older Scouts and GSLs who never tell anyone they have YLs in their group? A bit like trying to get Scout Leaders to tell the YP about Explorers!
    Close and strong partnerships, active marketing, sharing successes, saying thank you, offering help and assistance, providing permitted young people, understanding the rythm and culture of the groups, sharing resources

    that do for a start?

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    AESL & AGSL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Also decent, interesting and most importantly useful training for YLs that are registered so they become more useful YLs to the Section they are helping with

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Assistant Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.org.uk

    Wike, North Leeds District Campsite - www.wikecampsite.org.uk
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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