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Thread: Super District

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by hippysurfer View Post
    I guess that we will all have different experiences...

    Our ADC(Beavers), ADC(Cubs) and ADC(Scouts) mostly focus on organising the type of events that it is hard to do as a single group: swimming competition, cooking competition, cross country race, sixers/seconders challenge, football tournament, etc. For these type of events you need an opposition to have a competition. The District provides the local opposition.

    They also organise things for the groups that are too small to do it themselves: yearly camp, the odd international etc.

    Mostly these things are actually organised and run by leaders in the groups, but the ADC's provide a vital coordination role. Without them it is very unlikely that these events would happen.
    Mmm...

    I wonder though, if these kinds of activities are becoming extinct? I wonder how many district events happen now compared to, say, ten or fifteen years ago?

    We get a little bit more traction with Beaver/Cub events at district level - but only a little. I think the last Beaver fun day was cancelled through lack of support.

    Kid's schedules are already so full. To plan a one-off event (unless it's an annual thing and established), is so tough these days - it really needs to be something special.

    What we're doing, is running joint section camps. We find it's easier because we already kind of have the parents on board (and it works for members with siblings across sections particularly well), and the kids seem a lot more keen to spend time with pals they know than with potential pals they don't.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Mmm...

    I wonder though, if these kinds of activities are becoming extinct? I wonder how many district events happen now compared to, say, ten or fifteen years ago?

    We get a little bit more traction with Beaver/Cub events at district level - but only a little. I think the last Beaver fun day was cancelled through lack of support.

    Kid's schedules are already so full. To plan a one-off event (unless it's an annual thing and established), is so tough these days - it really needs to be something special.

    What we're doing, is running joint section camps. We find it's easier because we already kind of have the parents on board (and it works for members with siblings across sections particularly well), and the kids seem a lot more keen to spend time with pals they know than with potential pals they don't.
    I can only comment from my own experience. These events are still quite popular but attendance usually comes down to a combination of the following factors:

    - timing - running Scout events in the middle of exam season is not likely to get much up take.
    - notice and promotion - if you announce the event two weeks before it happens or just assume that because it is on the District web site everyone knows about it, then you are not going to get much up take.
    - section leader enthusiasm - I think this is probably the most key element. If the section leader really is not interested or even worse is actively negative about an event then you are lost. The kids pick up the attitude of their section leaders.

    For instance, we have a District swimming competition every year:

    - one year I was really up for it. I organised two weeks of swimming related activities for my Pack. We ran lessons, mock races, selection games etc. we talked about famous swimmers and watched videos of olympic races.
    - another year I had too much on and was not very interested in supporting it. We simply put the event out on My.Scout and told the Cubs about it at Grand Howl.

    Guess which year we had nearly half the Pack sign up and which we had just two

    I am sure that things are a bit different at Scout age but for Cubs and Beavers I think the real challenge is getting section leaders (and parents) to buy into an event. They have to understand why it is worth doing for their kids. If you get that I think that you will get the kids.

    I would agree that the days of an aloof District team, putting on events without the support and cooperation of section leaders in the groups is definitely on the decline - if it was ever very successful.

  3. #33
    Keith at 2M Keith at 2M's Avatar
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    You could take the opportunity of the merger to ask what people actually want from 'District'. There are a lot of assumptions made based on what has gone before rather than looking into what is relevant for the 2010s.

    For some it is a recreation of the 1980's 'Golden Era' when all the leaders got together monthly and all got on with each other! (Seriously???) However, with email & other electronic media commonly available, information can be diseminated so much quicker and efficiently so what is the actual point of bringing people together just to read out said email. We haven't had a DCSL's meeting for two years now after a stand-up row caused by one group over that most controversial of topics - Date of Next Meeting!

    Other than the pack in question (who devoted half a page of their latest six-page AGM report to parents ranting about the District) no-one has really complained about the lack of District meetings. A few have said they miss seeing old friends but my response is always - I can see my old friends by ringing them up and arranging to meet up, I don't need someone to prepare an Agenda before I can see them. For most leaders it has removed the obligation to attend something they didn't enjoy or find relevant - one leader even described DCSL meetings as intimidating which possibly explained why we hadn't had more than 50% turnout for over 10 years. As Cub numbers are increasing year on year 'District' input is obviously having minimal effect on recruitment & retention.

    I'd question seriously whether competitive District events are worthwhile either - small elite teams competing against each other isn't District interaction, its an ego trip for the leaders. In a Pack of 36 the less talented will not actually get to attend any competitive District events in their two years in the Pack. Large scale District events such as camps and fundays are a better way of introducing the concept of a wider movement but require greater planning and logistics - and usually unwanted hassle. There's nothing I can add to Ewan's description of SGDP - we haven't run one for three years now and its only the same group of leaders moaning about it, how 'District' should be running one but declining to actually step in and run it themselves. The way forward to give the sense of belonging to something a bit wider than the single Pack is perhaps to run joint meetings - 3 x 30 cubs altogether for one meeting is enough of a challenge anyway - plus every cub gets to take part rather than just the elite swimmers/footballers etc.

    So if you strip your new District down to what the leaders actually want you may find that training and assistance of individual leaders is actually more of a priority and although that might involve more travelling it should be meeting demand rather than a perceived view of what District should be doing based on a dated model from 20-30 years ago. It is a great opportunity to build something new rather than just trying to combine three or four different versions of the past
    The Roman Empire did not become great by holding meetings. It did so by killing everyone that opposed their point of view.

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  5. #34
    Sea Scout Leader richardnhunt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith at 2M View Post
    You could take the opportunity of the merger to ask what people actually want from 'District'. There are a lot of assumptions made based on what has gone before rather than looking into what is relevant for the 2010s.

    SNIP

    . It is a great opportunity to build something new rather than just trying to combine three or four different versions of the past
    Absolutely. And County and District teams should think very carefully about what they want each layer to achieve.

  6. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith at 2M View Post
    I'd question seriously whether competitive District events are worthwhile either - small elite teams competing against each other isn't District interaction, its an ego trip for the leaders. In a Pack of 36 the less talented will not actually get to attend any competitive District events in their two years in the Pack. Large scale District events such as camps and fundays are a better way of introducing the concept of a wider movement but require greater planning and logistics - and usually unwanted hassle. There's nothing I can add to Ewan's description of SGDP - we haven't run one for three years now and its only the same group of leaders moaning about it, how 'District' should be running one but declining to actually step in and run it themselves. The way forward to give the sense of belonging to something a bit wider than the single Pack is perhaps to run joint meetings - 3 x 30 cubs altogether for one meeting is enough of a challenge anyway - plus every cub gets to take part rather than just the elite swimmers/footballers etc.
    I agree with much of what you say (although I was not in the movement as an adult in the 1980's) so I have no conception of what it was like - with or without rose tinted specs

    However, I do think there is a place for competitive events (whether organised by District or inter-group). It all comes down to how the adults approach it. I do get frustrated with leaders that take the winning too seriously. We have a Cub's District football competition every year. I just ask my Cubs who want to do it and put together as many teams as I have Cubs - I usually arrange the teams as a mix of ages and friendship groups. Another group in the district spend weeks of their programme running training sessions and selection games to enter an elite team. They generally always win (although not always). One of my teams last year were beaten 10-0 in one game. However, they finished the event with smiles on the faces and said they loved it and want to do it again - which for me is all that matters.

    On another occasion a few years ago I witnessed a relay race in the Cub's Swimming Gala. The team that had been entered contained a Cub that, swam for the local swimming club at County level, on the third leg - she demolished the opposition and the team was a good two thirds of a length in the lead. The Cub that the leader had put on the final leg was a lad who had never won anything, he was a bit overweight and suffered from self confidence problems. He was not a great swimmer. The final length was just brilliant. As the competition closed in on him the whole audience were on their feet cheering him on. He came in third and was absolutely made up. It bought a tear to the eye of many of the people that were watching. He is now an Explorer Scout and he still tells the tail and will tell you that it was a life changing experience for him. The Leader could easily have left him out of the relay team and their group would have easily won - but he didn't because winning was not the point.

    In my limited experience, the kids like the act of competing - it gives them a kick of adrenalin. But they generally could careless about the result. If only all of the leaders could approach these events in the same way.

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  8. #36
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    Couple of thoughts on the above. What our leaders told us they want are activities that they can't do themselves. Like Big camps, paintball (with enough people to have exclusive arenas), district award night celebrating CSA is surprisingly popular. Competition for scouting type skills, competition camp, cookery, junk wars are all popular. They also want help when leaders leave, or can't make an evening or whatever - and several times in this district we've kept sections alive for a few months whilst we replace leaders.

    They don't want reviewing or to feel they are being inspected. Which is is how random visits appear.

    Competitive activities for other souls are not well liked, as one of our ADCs put it, why do we celebrate the pack with the best footballers? They are almost certainly the one which doesn't do many camps because all the cubs are off training!
    Last edited by RisingStar; 16-09-2018 at 08:37 AM.

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  10. #37
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    Couple of thoughts on the above. What our leaders told us they want are activities that they can't do themselves. Like Big camps, paintball (with enough people to have exclusive arenas), district award night celebrating CSA is surprisingly popular. Competition for scouting type skills, competition camp, cookery, junk wars are all popular. They also want help when leaders leave, or can't make an evening or whatever - and several times in this district we've kept sections alive for a few months whilst we replace leaders.

    They don't want reviewing or to feel they are being inspected. Which is is how random visits appear.

    Competitive activities for other souls are not well liked, as one of our ADCs put it, why do we celebrate the pack with the best footballers? They are almost certainly the one which doesn't do many camps because all the cubs are off training!
    Things they can't do themselves... Just a thought, but if they learned a few skills they could probably do a lot of things themselves... (Okay, big camps require wider participation, but all too often big camps end up with lots of individual groups camping separately on the same site.)

    Random visits - I saw as friends dropping in, never turned an visitor away. Never understood the idea that they felt they were being inspected. However, yes, if the ADC drops in and there is something amiss, then yes it should be brought up.

    Competitions... I am not in the mood to go digging for it, but BP was not particularly in favour of competitions and said so in one of his missives.
    Ewan Scott

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  11. #38
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    Not sure about competitions here either, or at least - the traditional sports competitions.

    Out of around 20 odd scouts, we have two play football, the rest aren't interested. District swimming and football comps died out here before the district did due to lack of interest. The kids who swam and played football, weren't in Scouts because they were in football and swimming clubs.

    As for the rest? We struggle to get our kids to come to things we organise - never mind district or national events.

    I suppose we're just not in the habit, which I think is key for these activities to get traction.

  12. #39
    AESL & AGSL shiftypete's Avatar
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    What i want from District is events which we can't put on as a Section or Group, so large scale activitiy camps, specialist sessions such as caving and water activity weekends etc etc. I do actually want the occsional visit from Distrit bods so that I and our Leaders can get a bit of external feedback on how our Sections are being run and also so our Leaders can have an opportunity to meet and chat to District people (e.g. ADCs) which will hopefully encourage them to get their Section's inolved in District events.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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