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Thread: November Newsletter: Exploring early years provision for those aged under 6

  1. #16
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    I'm sure this is a conversation that happened before Beavers started. They have survived & Scouting has benefited from them being part of the family. Most junior schools and preschools locally run Forest Schools, either officially or unofficially for 2 years plus, so squirrels doing stuff isn't an issue.

    What worries me is, nationally we are short of leaders. Not parents wanting to chip in & help during the meeting, but uniforme leaders, who are willing to take on the responsibility of Scouting. I appreciate this could be the door for parents to come & help & (like me) before you know it you are doing your 'hour' each week, running things. But we are short of Leaders. Asking a parent to stop with each child would be interesting. One of the best excuses for parents not wanting to become Leaders or even to help out when I need hands is, I have younger children.

    Locally, Rainbows struggle. Parents come forward for 3 or 4 years while their children are there & then they leave. There are 2 villages & each unit shuts every few years as no one wants to take it on. Scouting is different I know.

  2. #17
    Keith at 2M Keith at 2M's Avatar
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    At that age I'm not sure the parents are all back at work yet. Around here its probably cheaper to give up work for a couple of years than try and afford a pre-school place or employ a nanny. You therefore have a potential pool of parents that will have disappeared when the children start full time school. From memory most of the pre-school stuff I went through with my kids involved bring a parent anyway or didn't offer enough time for the parents to get home before they had to turn around so why not stay, have a cup of tea and join in? It could be a good recruitment tool, joining at age 4 with family. Finding that uniformed leader to co-ordinate everything of course is an issue - but then it is with most sections nowadays.
    The Roman Empire did not become great by holding meetings. It did so by killing everyone that opposed their point of view.

  3. #18
    Senior Member bernwood's Avatar
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    Our Group MK Adventurers takes kids from 3 -16 all in one group and it works well with the older ones helping the younger ones, we do bushcraft courses and even get the youngest lighting fires and cooking. With respect to Scouting, its all well and good looking at an early years section, but where are you going to get the leaders from?

  4. #19
    ASL and YLUL wealdbrook's Avatar
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    We already have problems that if a child does not get put on the waiting list early enough to get into Beavers they are unlikely to ever get into Scouting. We struggle to find room at Cubs or Scouts for any who have not been Beavers. Squirrels would make that worse (they are already put on the list at a few weeks old where the parents realise the waiting list pressure). If we had more volunteers then more sections at Cubs or Scouts would open up Scouting to more youngsters.
    John Alexander,
    ASL and Assistant Webmaster
    1st Weald Brook
    http://www.1stwealdbrook.org.uk
    ESL(YL) Brentwood District

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  6. #20
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    I suppose one advantage in having Squirrels is that their programme is already well covered by the BBC. A wonderful children's programme called "Hey Duggie" has Duggie as a leader and his youngsters are called squirrels, every programme is a badge. Watch it and be amazed! My grand daughter loves it and her grand parents are fans too.

  7. #21
    GSL/ESL(YL)/TA Mark W's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wealdbrook View Post
    We struggle to find room at Cubs or Scouts for any who have not been Beavers. Squirrels would make that worse........ If we had more volunteers then more sections at Cubs or Scouts would open up Scouting to more youngsters.
    That might suggest that one answer is to get rid of the Beaver section, then you'll be able to find room for cubs and scouts. That doesn't feel right. On the other hand, if squirrels is run with every YP being accompanied by a parent, then they all attempt the 4 week challenge and, hey presto, we get a better recruitment rate from new families. In two years there's a slight upsurge in Beavers section assistants and leaders, that's followed 2 years later by a hike in Cubs leaders and so on. We end up with a few extra colonies, then a few extra packs, waiting lists start to reduce. We also start improving the ratio of girls to boys in the younger sections. Perhaps squirrels could be a great solution to recruiting adults.
    If it was easy, it wouldn't be so much fun...
    GSL 1st Aylburton & Lydney, TA, ESL(YL), District Campsite Warden & webmanager .....only 1 hour a week, they said (not pointing out that was what was left)

  8. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark W View Post
    That might suggest that one answer is to get rid of the Beaver section, then you'll be able to find room for cubs and scouts. That doesn't feel right. On the other hand, if squirrels is run with every YP being accompanied by a parent, then they all attempt the 4 week challenge and, hey presto, we get a better recruitment rate from new families. In two years there's a slight upsurge in Beavers section assistants and leaders, that's followed 2 years later by a hike in Cubs leaders and so on. We end up with a few extra colonies, then a few extra packs, waiting lists start to reduce. We also start improving the ratio of girls to boys in the younger sections. Perhaps squirrels could be a great solution to recruiting adults.
    Mmm...

    Not sure that works.

    Just had a ping on the Scout's email account - a mum asking if she can put her two and a half year old son on a list. If we have Squirrels, the whole problem will just get shunted down the age groups. We'll just end up with two and three year old's who'll never get in.

    The current rate of parents-being-leaders-or-offering-to-help versus kids, is also woeful. Not sure that would change. I wonder as well, if it would even pick up? It seems to me, parents don't want to accompany their kids to any groups like this, if they did, they'd be a wee bit more keen to come along to Beavers?

    Maybe?

  9. #23
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Our Navigators are age aligned slightly differently, but we do have enquiries from parents wanting something for "early years". We have insurance from age 5 upwards, so could start at 5 - 7 but I'd be very wary of starting anything younger as it can't really be much more than a playgroup.
    Ewan Scott

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  10. #24
    Senior Member oneiros's Avatar
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    Press release, complete with out-of-date branding: https://scouts.org.uk/news/2018/11/d...nger-children/

    TSA clearly think this will get us new volunteers...

  11. #25
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    I thought the "67% of parents signed up to help" sounded too good to be true. It's actually "67% went on to help in other sections" in some places. Really? That would certainly help with the leadership issues....

  12. #26
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    I have often wondered whether, if groups have a policy that cub/scout places are offered to existing beavers/cubs, and groups may also have waiting lists with no date before which they will not accept joiners on the waiting list, doesn't this discriminate against i) people who don't know about scouting when their child is only 2 weeks old (probably people with no scouting background) and ii) people who move, before their child joins a section in their old location.

    Also, if you allow children to jump the queue if their parents help, this also leads to more discrimination against people who don't want to, or are unable to, or ....

    Sorry, this is a bit of a digression, but it seems that squirrels will only make this worse, because there is a narrower window in which you get your proverbial foot in the door.

  13. #27
    Senior Member Kastor's Avatar
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    I have to say one of the reasons I am starting to wind down my involvement with scouting is this relentless pressure from HQ to continually do more and get bigger. As fast as you do something it is deemed not good enough and you are requested to do even more. Just carrying on providing “standard” scouting is no longer good enough.

    I am not against Squirrels as such and will be interested to see if it manages to achieve the levels alleged for the USA for adult recruitment, but as I’ve been involved in efforts to start a new group lately where there are plenty of kids but little or no adult interest I’m am very sceptical.
    To get more kids we need more adults - are we getting the message yet?

  14. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kastor View Post
    I am not against Squirrels as such and will be interested to see if it manages to achieve the levels alleged for the USA for adult recruitment, but as I’ve been involved in efforts to start a new group lately where there are plenty of kids but little or no adult interest I’m am very sceptical.
    I share Kastor's view and I'm not sure the parallels with parent involvement in the US will hold true in UK. Some years ago I was chairman of a middle school PTA which had a number of children from a nearby US Airforce base and when I was recruiting for committee and helpers at the start of the school year most British parents used to run for cover when they saw me coming. The contrast with the US parents couldn't have been more marked because I had at least one parent from most of the US families walk up to me, introduce themselves and ask "What do you need us to do?". It seemed to be the norm that they helped with anything their kids were involved in and unusual if they didn't.

  15. #29
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Davies View Post
    I share Kastor's view and I'm not sure the parallels with parent involvement in the US will hold true in UK. Some years ago I was chairman of a middle school PTA which had a number of children from a nearby US Airforce base and when I was recruiting for committee and helpers at the start of the school year most British parents used to run for cover when they saw me coming. The contrast with the US parents couldn't have been more marked because I had at least one parent from most of the US families walk up to me, introduce themselves and ask "What do you need us to do?". It seemed to be the norm that they helped with anything their kids were involved in and unusual if they didn't.
    Can't speak for US parents, but if I ask for parent support for a meeting, we get it. It isn't an issue. BUT... when I ask if they would help on a more regular basis, all I usually see is dust - But I keep plugging away. Two new leaders on the line this week and another two nosing the bait around...
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





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  16. #30
    Senior Member bernwood's Avatar
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    I can't see many groups being able to attract enough leaders to start a new section ( the ratios would require a lot of bodies), if they could they would probably start up a new cub or scout section. In our independent group we take them from 3-14 but all in one section so we only need one leader group.

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