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Thread: District Leader Meetings

  1. #31
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    I don't see - given all the tools we now have at our disposal - how having a district set up helps with getting leaders.
    District can rarely help with recruiting.

    Recruiting is best done at Group level.
    Ewan Scott

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  2. #32
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    District provides:
    - support
    - channels for communication
    - opportunities for youth Members and adults to make decisions and take responsibility
    - functional units through which the design and delivery of the programme can be best achieved.


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    Quote Originally Posted by claire.shadbolt View Post
    District provides:
    - support
    - channels for communication
    - opportunities for youth Members and adults to make decisions and take responsibility
    - functional units through which the design and delivery of the programme can be best achieved.


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    Text book perfect but I suspect that the reality is somewhat different.

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  5. #34
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    When our District was heading into the second style of meeting, I made a real effort to encourage younger members of my team to attend.

    Some went with the Beaver Leaders, some with Scouts, and they put forward ideas as 18 and 19 year olds. They felt that they were completely ignored. I was told at our debrief, "Don't ever ask us to go to one of those meetings again. They didn't want us there and they didn't want to know what our ideas were."

    I later persuaded two from the Beaver team to go to Ditrict BSL meetings. They were not happy. They still felt unwelcome. I asked them what would make them feel less intimidated? They said, a meeting that was not at the ADC Beaver's house. I put this to the Dc and the ADC Beavers as I really wanted to get these young people more involved - they had the time and the enthusasm. I was told that they would move the meetings to a neutral venue.

    Thye didn't. My BL team never went to another meeting. I could not persuade any of the others to attend any District meetings. Yet, I could rely on every one of them to turn up to our monthly Exec Meetings. Where they felt they belonged.
    Last edited by Bushfella; 04-04-2019 at 02:29 PM.
    Ewan Scott

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  6. #35
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    Is not the obvious question - does anyone actually like any sort of 'meeting?'

    While I appreciate I may be projecting my derision of meetings on to others, we had the same thing with our much-put-upon DESC (more than one in fact) and their efforts to instigate an 'Explorer Forum'. It just never worked. The DESC/s would visit occasionally, and I'd feel sorry for them and for my Explorers. I felt sorry for the DESC because he was wasting his time, and I felt sorry for my Explorers because they felt bad about not being able to do it because a) they were already quite busy and b) it sounded really boring.

    They were already talking and doing stuff they wanted to do. Why would they need to do more of it? This is was one of the 'selling points' the DESC came out with (and it seems to be one of the 'selling points' of district leaders meetings) - that you got to hear ideas about and discuss ideas that you maybe didn't think off. Pre-internet that might have been the case, but it isn't now.

    As well as that, are we not looking at the wrong thing here? We're talking about sitting down and sharing ideas and learning from each other in a structured setting? Before that can effectively happen, do we not all need to know and connect with each other? So would social events not be far more useful? Can you do one without the other? The internet may be jam-packed with ideas, but it's also accidentally quite isolating.

  7. #36
    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    The problem isn't meetings. The problem is running meetings well - that is not easy and rarely done well, particularly in Scouting.
    Chris Hawes, District Media Manager, Watford North Scout District and Watford Scouts; Group Treasurer and Webmaster, 9th North Watford Scout Group.
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    I am a serial Scouter, other things get moved for Scouting, I will hold an evening for Scouting at virtually any costs so tend to be one of the group of regular faces that term up to near on anything.

    I take the attitude that even if there boring or appalling run, there a necessary evil and part of what we do (even the ones that could be done in an email). I take them as a chance to catch up with people and just get over it.

    Further down the chain within the group though is a different story. One of our Beaver leaders has just started coming along but otherwise I never see one of my team there at anything District. We have a big and reliable team group level but ask most of them the functions/ dates/ operations of the district and you'll get a blank look.

    This directly links to my big frustration with our Districts current format of leaders meetings, a district wide briefing from the DC then break off into section meetings AT THE SAME TIME. Cue 20 odd GSLs umming and ahhhing over which dates they want to hear and where they'll sit so they can helicopter around them all hoping we've got all the info!
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  10. #38
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Is not the obvious question - does anyone actually like any sort of 'meeting?'

    While I appreciate I may be projecting my derision of meetings on to others, we had the same thing with our much-put-upon DESC (more than one in fact) and their efforts to instigate an 'Explorer Forum'. It just never worked. The DESC/s would visit occasionally, and I'd feel sorry for them and for my Explorers. I felt sorry for the DESC because he was wasting his time, and I felt sorry for my Explorers because they felt bad about not being able to do it because a) they were already quite busy and b) it sounded really boring.

    They were already talking and doing stuff they wanted to do. Why would they need to do more of it? This is was one of the 'selling points' the DESC came out with (and it seems to be one of the 'selling points' of district leaders meetings) - that you got to hear ideas about and discuss ideas that you maybe didn't think off. Pre-internet that might have been the case, but it isn't now.

    As well as that, are we not looking at the wrong thing here? We're talking about sitting down and sharing ideas and learning from each other in a structured setting? Before that can effectively happen, do we not all need to know and connect with each other? So would social events not be far more useful? Can you do one without the other? The internet may be jam-packed with ideas, but it's also accidentally quite isolating.
    It becomes a chicken and egg situation, one does not happen without the other. You feel sorry for the DESC and your Explorers ... because it sounded really boring. That is as maybe. But how do they think much of what we do happens? Do they want some form of Take-Away Scouting, where they turn up and it is served up to them in a polystyrene box, and they only take the best selling items on the menu without trying those which might be less accessible, but equally interesting once tried?

    I have often asked myself, if they are happy doing what they are doing, why look for new ideas? I think the answer, for me, is that A/ I get bored of the same old stuff and B/ They do get bored of the same old stuff, which they have voted for, but then they leave saying it has gotten boring... Though they often don't wish to try anything new... until they try something new...

    It is wrong to think that people will easily access ideas from the Internet. Having worked with mixed groups on various projects, they often don't. Many people are ignorant of the capacity of the internet to deliver. They don't understand how to search youtube, or use Pintrest, or any of the other sources of really useful information. I see it time and time again, " Where did you get that idea from?" and surprise when I say, The Internet. Many, I would say most, people, have no idea of how to use the Internet for research - they have been told it is dangerous, they are scared to try in case they have their data stoled, or God forbid, they get spam sent to their email address... And don't think that kids are that much better at it either. They can find inane videos of people doing stupid stuff, but they are not so hot on doing real research and using it. The best way to disperse information is in person.

    You seem to think that a social event is something different from a Leaders' Meeting. Why can't they be one and the same? Is there any reason why a Leaders' meeting cannot also be a social event where people mix and get to know each other better? Why do the two have to be mutually exclusive?

    Meetings can be useful to drive progress. Unfortunately, too many people have been subjected to the endless stream of pointless and badly run meetings that seem to arise in many businesses and forsure in local authority arenas.

    Business meetings should be short, sweet and to the point. That way you don't end up with long winded exasperating meetings trying to resolve issues that should have been addressed shortly an sharply at well organised meetings.

    Leader meetings should be about socialising, networking, and development in an attractive scenario. People should come away feeling that they have benefitted. It has to be the role of the meeting planner to ensure that the meeting is wothwhile - and that may be in offering a distraction from business, that allows the business to be done, and the participants to have a fun development experience.

    I feel quite strongly about this, and I always did feel that we could do much better than we did. I had a real dislike of the way meetings went, but I still attended because I usually came away with something of use.

    Maybe I still feel strongly about this because the meetings I have nowadays tend to be with disparate bodies each with different aims and we work on a common goal, but have very different aims and methods.
    Ewan Scott

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





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



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  11. #39
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    While I don't disagree (except about the internet, I think your information on uptake is out of date), it's like Chris said - and it's a microcosm (sort of, bear with me) of what ails scouting at district level.

    The people who arrange the meetings are people who like meetings, they're people who think meetings are useful - they are invariably not people who value succinctness or being short, sweet and to the point. They are obsessed with structure (which is why meetings and social get together's are often incompatible), structure in meetings are like opinions on Twitter, you don't always have to have one and very often it's positively advantageous not to.

    And so it is with district positions, they're aimed at folk who like administration (except as previously discussed where group people take on district roles). But, how often does that go the other way? How often does a district person step in at section level - I know there will be anecdotal evidence - but I bet travel in that direction is a lot rarer.

    And I don't think it is a chicken and egg situation in terms of social organics versus structured artifice. Sure, you could run Scouts like that, but again, I think that's one of the things which now ails us - namely - the loss of (much of) the social aspect of scouting. The glue that holds together the workplace (in terms of people) is the pay - this is a sad reality of our socio-economic system (get me and my big words), fair enough if you actually like your job - I don't mind mine (today anyway) - but you need money to live which is why most of us go to work.

    So what holds scouting together? Interest and goodwill? A sense of duty (in Dsheehan's case - the meetings are necessary evil)? I'd posit the idea that it's a lot more focused on the people involved, so it's vitally important that they get along as best as possible - indeed it's vitally important that as teams coalesce, some attention is paid to who is joining the team - the point being, social get-togethers are the Petri dish of successful team building. (Seriously, I'm coming out with some proper buzzwords today...)

    In terms of Explorers and how much of what we did happened - it happened because we organised it. We looked about, we decided and we just did it. I don't think it's fair assume that just because people don't have meetings, then their explorers (or scouts) didn't or don't get to try new things. If that's the case, a lack of meetings aren't the problem, it's a lack of something a good bit more intrinsic - if they can't be arsed organising decent activities, will they arsed about going to meetings about organising decent activities?

    I'd say, probably not.

  12. #40
    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsheehan View Post
    This directly links to my big frustration with our Districts current format of leaders meetings, a district wide briefing from the DC then break off into section meetings AT THE SAME TIME. Cue 20 odd GSLs umming and ahhhing over which dates they want to hear and where they'll sit so they can helicopter around them all hoping we've got all the info!
    That is exactly how our District meetings are run as well, if our DGSL (yes we made up a role so shoot us) is there then he will attend the GSLs meeting and I will attend the Explorer Leaders meeting. If the DGSL is not available then I would prioritise the GSLs meeting. Any dates decided on will be distributed via email after the meeting to those not there. What those not there miss out on is inputting into what activities are put on and what dates they should be held on. In general District events are usually organised far enough in advance for Section Programmes to be worked around them (apart from NA events our Group only plan one term ahead at a time) which is the key thing.

    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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    At our last district Cub leaders meeting I suggested that rather than meet in the District HQ in the centre of town (which is a special trip for everyone as no group meets there), we rotate around the different groups HQ's (as much as room bookings allow), so that we not only make it easier for whichever group inevitably has its Cub meeting that night, but that we get to know a bit more about where groups hang out. This has been agreed so that might help the dynamic. If we get to our turn and its not persisting down with rain, I might get a fire going and we can all go and sit around that whilst we discuss whatever has to be discussed. I'd kind of like to shift the meetings away from discussing stuff that could be sent out by email (this event is upcoming, we need volunteers for this etc), onto being a sharing forum where issues we encounter can benefit from collective wisdom.
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    You seem to think that a social event is something different from a Leaders' Meeting. Why can't they be one and the same? Is there any reason why a Leaders' meeting cannot also be a social event where people mix and get to know each other better? Why do the two have to be mutually exclusive?
    I think both of both our District and Group Leaders Meetings as social occasions as well as meetings, time is built into them for us to have a good chat, chatup and a laugh. If we stuck rigidly to an agenda and cut off any extraneous chat I am sure we could be done in half the time but it would be about 20% as much fun and probably people wouldn't be willing to give up a evening for them then.

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

    Previous Scouting Roles
    2003 - 2013 ABSL
    2017-2018 AGSL

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

  16. #43
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    While I don't disagree (except about the internet, I think your information on uptake is out of date)
    At the risk of urther diversion...

    My uptake is actually very up to date. It comes from experience in Scouts (okay, that is five years out of date but many of the same people are still around, so little chance of change). Having played a leading role in a community event, I was astonished at the narrow use of the Internet by many, many adults.

    I have seen scouts who could flash photos around social media in a microsecond, but who struggled to use the Internet to research anything much. Yes, they could use it for school work, where they were led by the nose to the locations the teachers wanted them to use.

    My daughter teaches high school kids, and they struggle seriously with anything outside social media.

    It is a mistake to expect people to use the internet as you or I might do. We all too often make the mistake of thinking that everyone outside our bubble thinks as we do. They very much don't.
    Ewan Scott

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





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



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  17. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    At the risk of urther diversion...

    My uptake is actually very up to date. It comes from experience in Scouts (okay, that is five years out of date but many of the same people are still around, so little chance of change). Having played a leading role in a community event, I was astonished at the narrow use of the Internet by many, many adults.

    I have seen scouts who could flash photos around social media in a microsecond, but who struggled to use the Internet to research anything much. Yes, they could use it for school work, where they were led by the nose to the locations the teachers wanted them to use.

    My daughter teaches high school kids, and they struggle seriously with anything outside social media.

    It is a mistake to expect people to use the internet as you or I might do. We all too often make the mistake of thinking that everyone outside our bubble thinks as we do. They very much don't.
    People still talk though, if a family did something while on holiday - an activity they found on the internet say - then told leaders, or their kids did... But I go back to my point about leaders not making the effort for what ever reason. Them not interrogating the internet, is not the issue - it is something more intrinsic, their minds seem to be closed.

    I still don't think, even if you got those leaders to a meeting, you're going to persuade them to do anything differently. The very thing that keeps them from the meeting, is the same thing that'll ensure they'd ignore what ever was going on at the meeting if you got them there.

    Now, put them in a pub, in social surroundings, with one or two well placed, on-side people with no overt pressure to change, you may be able to change their attitudes so they might go on to offer a more interesting program of events.

    And I'm aware of how social bubbles and personal projection work, you don't need to explain it to me.


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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    People still talk though, if a family did something while on holiday - an activity they found on the internet say - then told leaders, or their kids did... But I go back to my point about leaders not making the effort for what ever reason. Them not interrogating the internet, is not the issue - it is something more intrinsic, their minds seem to be closed.

    I still don't think, even if you got those leaders to a meeting, you're going to persuade them to do anything differently. The very thing that keeps them from the meeting, is the same thing that'll ensure they'd ignore what ever was going on at the meeting if you got them there.
    I suspect that you may well have a point there. Minds are closed.


    Now, put them in a pub, in social surroundings, with one or two well placed, on-side people with no overt pressure to change, you may be able to change their attitudes so they might go on to offer a more interesting program of events.
    Given your first point, I suspect your idea here is on shakey ground. If minds are closed then minds are closed.

    I can think of a handful of Leaders who would be happy to meet in a pub, it was tried, we got a different set of leaders than in a "structured" meeting, to use your words. The pub meeting only served to reinforce peoples' preconceived ideas of how others behaved, and I include myself in that. The drunk proved himself to be a drunk, I showed myself to be "aloof". The whole thing was reduced to absurdity by one of the main proponents of the event deciding that he had to have a meal - so we were delayed from any discusion whlst he chose his meal, and then discussion was corrupted by his eating. You had to be there. The mek sat with their soda water an said nothing.
    [/quote]

    And I'm aware of how social bubbles and personal projection work, you don't need to explain it to me.

    [/QUOTE]

    Apologies if you felt i was patronising you. I was just clarifying the point. I'm a member of a FB group where, there is a widespread belief that Independence for Scotland can be taken when we want it. It is a given to many posters, because they actually know no-one outside of their Indy Bubble. They are clearly wrong, but to question their insulated belief results in cries of horror and Unionist Troll.

    Equally, I have an acquaintance who lives in a very different bubble who knows no-one who supports independence, no-one who doesn't support Brexit, ( perhaps except myself) because his bubble is immiscible with any other with a different view.

    It is a situation exacerbated by social media. The die-hard supporters of the "true faith" are closed to alternative ideas - I saw this in the WF group, people crying about lack of funds, but the suggestion that they might charge 3 instead of 2, or that they charge what they need, to cover their costs, is met with much wailing and handwringing and attacks on anyone who even hints that there are solutions to the lack of funds. (In the course of that discssion I suggested seeking funds from the Masons, Rotary, Lions, etc.. The response, the vehement response, was, we don't have the time... Oddly, a very similar response that I heard from fellow Scouters who complained about the fundraising done at my own Group... Closed minds indeed,)
    Ewan Scott

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    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



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