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Thread: Scouts in schools - I am a long way from convinced.

  1. #31
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    We had a local DoE presentation evening for schools and Scouts, of those that actually attended, Scouts were outnumbered 7 to 1 and felt very uncomfortable in their uniform they said. Dunno why I'm saying that really - I suppose that DoE at Scouts doesn't seem to me the best use of our programme.
    Stopped doing DoE years ago. Essentially we had to hand expedition assesment over to DoE people who were running the school package anyway - There is only so much time that we can commit to adult training, and putting in routes and dates weeks in advance (often with variable dates due to the weather) conflicted with our programme.

    Also, we found that, even with digital recording, the candidates failed to complete any evidence. Even today I get DoE candidates coming to me asking for their skills or service to be signed off. I know they have done it, but when I ask to see their evidence they haven't kept any and it becomes a last minute thought.

    The way DoE has gone, I think that schools are probably the best place for it. Our candidates can still outperform non "scouts".

    The local DoE crowd did a tent pitching session, the Instructor demonstrated, and then everyone, including the instructors had a race to set tents up. "my" two girls came first, and finished before the Instructors
    Ewan Scott

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





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  3. #32
    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    I'd definitely encourage my sons to do do d of e via the school and not at scouts. I've never seen an ESU cheat at d of e. I've seen plenty of schools cheat horrendously. They might as well get the same easy ride.

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    Scouting run DOE still offers a real value.

    Last summer we took our Scouts down the New Forest to do their expedition challenge. They did this totally independently on passport but we snuck around keeping an eye on them to see how they were getting on and get a sense of team work etc. (Our Scouts pretty much qualify for a Bronze DOE with very little change to the programme- a shame it can't count!)

    During the day I pretty much followed a school DOE team. The staff (about as clueless as the students from what I heard) were following google maps in their minibus which was so close to the team throughout they were pretty much following it rather than navigating, their kit was awful and they obviously didn't want to be there.

    My only other experience of School based DOE was at our district bushcraft site with a group of Cubs doing a survival camp and along comes the local high school. Not even half hours drive from home, completing their qualifiers which seemed a bit tame to start with. By the time the participants arrived a line of tents has been erected for them by the small army of staff, their enormous holdalls and suitcases of stuff the presumably couldn't be bothered to carry unloaded and they preceded to cause chaos onsite until the early hours with no respect for other users or their surroundings.

    Im not sure it does any good to them in the long run, and so many more people doing DOE probably devalues the award for those that do deliver and earn it properly.

    Our District run their DOE by canoe, which imagine very few Schools offer. Something different and a new skill for them along the way. It done properly with a lot of time and care. Around 90% take it up and its very much integral to the programme, it seems to work!
    --
    Dan Sheehan
    Group Scout Leader
    9th Muswell Hill Scout Group

    District Training Adviser
    District Executive Member
    District Appointment Advisory Comittee
    North London District Scouts

    web: www.9thmuswellhill.org.uk
    twitter: @9thMuswellHill
    facebook: /9thmuswellhill

  6. #34
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    I'd definitely encourage my sons to do do d of e via the school and not at scouts. I've never seen an ESU cheat at d of e. I've seen plenty of schools cheat horrendously. They might as well get the same easy ride.

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    I suspect this is why schools get so many do their Bronze, and then when things get a bit more serious on Silver - like actually using a compass, they all drop out...
    Ewan Scott

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





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  7. #35
    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    Nah. I've seen it BSed all the way to gold. Proper lying and cheating.

    2 nights on your group's cub camp for the gold residential? That'll do.



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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    Nah. I've seen it BSed all the way to gold. Proper lying and cheating.
    Last year we had a mother from a local private school whose daughter needed to do her Silver Volunteering, but only wanted to do one night of volunteering.
    I assumed it was just a mix-up. It was the end of term, so I suggested she come along for the last night to say hello, and then she could do her proper 6 months of service starting the next term.
    They turned up and during the night we had a quick chat about what we expect, plans for the next term etc, and they were baffled - they truly did think it was just one night, and expected me to complete paperwork saying she'd done her volunteering.

    I emailed the school coordinator to check about this "misunderstanding" and I was told that no, the mother was completely correct.

    Although I declined to help, no doubt the coordinator just signed it off.

    Sadly the other local schools seem to be gradually following the same path, one now only wanting one month of volunteering, and one does Bronze a year earlier than they should "so it doesn't clash with studies".

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    Senior Member CambridgeSkip's Avatar
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    My only encounter with a school D of E group was not a fun one.

    We had our scouts camping at Gilwell for a weekend. We'd set it up to be only one step removed from a full on nights away passport camp which we didn't think they were quite ready for. Instead we booked different pitches for each patrol plus one for a leaders patrol. Each patrol had its own program. The idea was the adult leaders would watch from a distance, drop in now and then to check all was good etc. Anyway Friday night we arrive and all was good. Including one patrol who had one of the smaller fields to themselves. Saturday a school D of E group turn up also camping on the same field. Quite a big group. Looked like multiple teams with a group of teachers also there. Couldn't confirm what stage it was but all looked like Bronze practice. Anyway when I was passing on the Saturday I put my head in and introduced myself. Explained that was a patrol of my scouts camping next to them, explained where they could find me etc. Generally doing the pleasentries. I seem to recall at that stage there was some confusion about whether our scouts were on the right pitch (they were) but all seemed good.

    Sunday morning comes along. I went a did a bit of a recce on this patrol. I could see a couple of them making breakfast, the rest getting their tents down. All going pretty well. I was about to leave them to it. Then one of the teachers from the D of E group came over and asked if they could have a word. They then summoned head honcho teacher as well. The conversation went something like

    Teacher - Are they your scouts?

    Me - Yes, is everything ok?

    T- Well last night they were there on their own.

    M - Yes, they were meant to be, was everything ok? Did they cause any problems?

    T- Well they were playing by themselves.

    M- Were they making too much noise? Were they keeping you awake?

    T- Oh no, it was still light,

    M- Did they come through your site or were they rude or anything?

    T- No, they stayed on their side of the field.

    M- Any playing with fire or knives or anything dangerous?

    T- No they were just playing. They shouldn't be doing that.

    M- You'll have to forgive me, I'm not quite sure what the problem is here.

    And so this discussion went round in circles a couple of times before establishing that my scouts had behaved themselves impeccably and the teachers simply didn't get the concept of letting young people off the leash.

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  12. #38
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    School DoE always appears to me to be a CV enhancing production line, whereas Scouts appear to enjoy it.

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  14. #39
    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    School DoE always appears to me to be a CV enhancing production line, whereas Scouts appear to enjoy it.
    A long time ago, when I was a venture scout, we sat around the campfire with some school d of e kids of our age at Blackland farm.

    We had beer. They had had their bags searched.



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    The best (worst) school one I had was the two lads who were told by their school that attending scouts was enough for their volunteering. This wasn't helping out or anything just coming to normal scout meetings as scouts.

    My District has now given up offering DofE via Scouts as it is seen as too difficult compared to school run ones as they can do a lot of it in school time and just fudge everything.
    To get more kids we need more adults - are we getting the message yet?

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    We run dofe, we have it well organised (took us time to get to this stage) with the explorers taking ownership of getting their reports sorted. ďIn houseĒ between ourselves and our partnered scout group we offer YL (including the ILM award), archery, climbing and paddling. We have an upfront cost for each level which covers expedition training, transport etc. Except gold will have additional costs depending on where we end up doing it. It is however a lot cheaper than local schools but the upfront costs seems to concentrate both explorers and parents minds to getting it done.
    We have assessors for Bronze and silver, gold level has to be external to us but a bit of Iíll do yours if youíll do mine keeps that cost down as well.

    Weíd be trying to do all that happens for dofe as part of Chief Scout and Queens scout awards anyway so some extra paperwork on the leaders part is a small price to pay.

    I see it as part of preparing them for later life, commit to doing something and do it, be able to talk about it to prospective employers.

    Itís not just schools that are playing fast and loose, I was supervising a gold canoe expedition last year and whilst stopped for lunch seen a group of three or four teams finish their expeditions before 12. It was being run by a commercial provider. That sort of thing was supposed to be stamped out when they revamped the assessor accreditation.

    Iíd back my explorers to be able to go into great detail on how they went about dofe especially the expedition part over a lot schools and other organisations way of doing it.

    I canít stop others making it easy (and yes it does devalue it) but itís more than just the award, itís the skills built up doing it that really count.

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    If you have managed to build the infastructure, then doing as Big George does is fantastic. Otherwise, like Big Chris, why make them jump through hoops whilst others are giving them it on a plate?

    We were doing the prep for a hike challenge - not DoE. It was a mixed group of kids from my Troop and "Guess who's" troop. They were all supposed to be carrying full kit for the expedition. "Guess who's" had "forgotten" their tent. Well we went up hill and down dale and had walked a good 10 miles, my lot were showing the strain, but were willing to continue. "Guess who's" lot were fresh as daisies and I couldn't believe it. We stopped for lunch, and mine got out their packed lunches and flasks. "Guess who's" lot took a drink of pop and were ready to walk on... I was now a tad suspicious, so I lifted their bags. they were all virtually empty, save a waterproof, some sweets, and a bottle of pop.

    Mayhap I over-reacted, but I gathered mine together, we had a chat, picked up our bags and walked the shortest route back to the cars. The next stage was out on the moors and they were now being put at risk because others in the party were ill prepared and were cheating under the direction of their Leader.

    I have always believed in doing our best and doing it properly, even if doing it properly is the hard way. But the laxity on DoE locally makes a complete mockery of the whole process and it would be unfair of me to impose a higher standard than those who run it for the schools.

    It is a great shame, because it was a great idea, but I think that, in the UK at least, it has lost its direction. Instead of helping develop the disadvantaged, it has become a middleclass tickbox exercise.
    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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    Was camping next door to a school DofE group the other year - and in the end had to step in on safety grounds. I ignored the lightweight tents pitched so close together that the guylines crossed and you could barely get out of the door of one without falling into the door of it's opposite number - while the rest of the field was empty. I stifled my laughter at the rucksack packing instructions which had the waterproofs and first aid kit being packed at the bottom underneath the bedding. But when I overheard a group lighting a trangia stove inside their zipped-up tent in order to deep-fry their chips, I drew the line and charged across the field at a rate of knots. The pupils were nonplussed, and their leaders just asked if they should have had the tent door open!

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    Deep frying chips in a Trangia works surprisingly well - I've done it before and would do it again - but not inside a tent!

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    Oh, if we are dishing the dirt...

    Our SGD camp last year, we wee pitche on the other side of a hedge from a large DoE contingent from a private school... They were the opposite for your experience Fenris, they just picked a spot and pitched their tents. I could have pitched them in a third of the area, still with plenty of space.

    Anyway, we ignored the tents closest to us. They were not my problem... until they started the sexual innuendo and cursing and swearing like troopers. I quietly went over and asked them to mind their language, and keep the volume down. A short time later, rather typically, a leader from their group came over, on the defensive, asking why I was speaking to their kids. I didn't want to make a scene, so I just said that I was asking them to keep the language and the noise down. She wasn't best happy, but left and had a quiet word with the group making the noise.

    All, good. except it wasn't, because when they thought I was out of hearing they started again, some nasty stuff about our girls... Well, I wasn't quite so polite when I spoke to them the second time. Their Leaders were across in no time looking pretty sheepish, and had them pack their bags and relocate to the other side of the site. Me, I'd have sent them home.

    I guess that sort of thing can happen with any group of kids, but it didn't happen with mine. Actually, it did once, we discovered one cub had a mental health issue when he walked into the midst of another group holding a service and started calling them names and being abusive for no apparent reason at all. He was confined to our site and not allowed to go anywhere without a "guard". But after lights out, he snuck out and went and abused them some more...

    When we spoke to his mum about it he just shrugged and said, "Oh, he does that sort of thing..." Fortunately, he decided that Cubs was not for him...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    Deep frying chips in a Trangia works surprisingly well - I've done it before and would do it again - but not inside a tent!
    Depends - We prepped the kids on quick meals for camp. We had practiced them at the hut. Dehydrated food, bacon and eggs wtored in their mug, we kept it lightweight. Well I filled all the burners at camp and left them to it. All bar three had completed their meals and dried up. The remaining three, well mum had decided that her kids were not eating dehydrated food. So, she had packed them a potato each and a bit of rump steak each.

    They needed to borrow one of the other team's trangias, and used a bottle and a half of fuel to cook their steak and chips, and the chips were stil raw ( It was a very calm evening with no wind, so the Trangias were inefficient anyway.). When I was down to just enough meths to allow everyone to make cocoa and then cook breakfast. I stopped them and they had to each part cooked chips and tough only partially cooked steaks.
    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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