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Thread: Is Scouting risk-averse?

  1. #31
    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    It was always just a friendly chat....It was a nice thing.
    Right up until they saw the stolen road signs in the Ventures camping area.
    Ian Wilkins
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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Right up until they saw the stolen road signs in the Ventures camping area.
    i miss venture scouting... i'm glad we have explorers but it was perfect for its time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    The process at the time was quite clear. I think any camp of more than 3 nights had to be inspected and programme, menus and site location sent to camp DC at least 4 weeks in advance signed by home GSL. The report was sent to home DC, there was a standard form. We actually won a Cumbria camping award for the quality of our site and programme. I'm sure you could avoid all that by ignoring it, in the same way as no one can actually stop a camp going ahead with no NAP holder - and I'm sure it happens.

    I never objected. If your camp was poor on hygiene or layout or safety then constructive critiscism is more welcome than having an issue arise and deal with it after.
    As I said, the process (as usual for scouts) wasn't followed by everyone. And while it may have been clear, not everyone knew about it.

    I suspect different volunteers speak from different experiences, dependent on where they do their scouting. For example, I think - back in the day - we would have let our DC know about our summer camp, or more accurately, because ours was a fairly small sociable district at the time - they'd know about it anyway. There was no expectation of a formal notification - and enough trust existed that they weren't that interested in knowing what our program and menu was.

    Personally, my view was and is - we already have several pairs of eyes on the program and menu (and everything else). Why - or how - does having another set of eyes which happen to be in the head of a person who has the letters DC applied to them, improve the quality or lessen the risks involved? I get it with new leaders/troops, or set ups with too few people, extra eyes are always handy.

    But there needs to be flexibility and acceptance in terms of trust too. At work, my manager knows more about the job than I do (that's why he's my manager), so I defer to his judgement. At Scouts, the DC (invariably) is some one who wasn't at the meeting so couldn't say no to the job.

    Others have commented upon the genesis of why we have the rules we have - that they have their basis in things that have occurred. Can the same not be said about the current structure of TSA above group level? Where they've reacted to things with a structure, rules & guidance - those structures, rules & guidance have also had ramifications going back the other way.

    Of course, a lot of those have been good, but many have not. At best it just wastes a lot of leader time in jumping through hoops, at worst it means leaders either don't bother (as in ignore the rule/s) or they leave the organisation because they realise it's not actually a hobby - it's a job.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    the system was that a rep of the host district would turn up and inspect your camp. The report was then sent to your DC, i think and maybe your GSL.

    It reported on the standard of the camp. Sometimes it was the warden of the campsite but when we were greenfield, it was the DC or a delegate.

    Hygiene, camping standards etc were reported upon. It was always just a friendly chat. You can tell if a camp is well run within 10 seconds of arriving.

    As part of the process, you would also discuss the local area and get tips on things to do with the scouts while you were on camp. It was a nice thing.
    Out of maybe 15 summer camps I went to, (that were camps not visits to jamborettes), I think we had two visits. I think mostly we forgot to send notification to the DC or CC of the area we were going to. I remember getting a visit when we were at Glen Isla (that was the deodorant thing) and again on the banks of Loch Venachar in the Trossachs.

    As you say, both were just visits. (I think the Glen Isla guy did have smooch around the place, but it was half-hearted). At Loch Venachar, one of scouts (who we knew to be 'lively) presented the CC of the area with a bowl of what I think was peach cobbler with his own caramel sauce on top. She had a good stab at eating it (literally), the caramel sauce was rock solid.

    That same scout also asked Garth Morrison to sign his hymn sheet at a chief Scout's visit camp - which was about ten miles from where Garth Morrison lived at the time. He was mortified. (Garth, not the Scout...)

    I was going to say, our district has always been quite hands off, I wonder now, if that's why when it faded away no one really made an effort to keep it going...

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    As I said, the process (as usual for scouts) wasn't followed by everyone. And while it may have been clear, not everyone knew about it.

    I suspect different volunteers speak from different experiences, dependent on where they do their scouting. For example, I think - back in the day - we would have let our DC know about our summer camp, or more accurately, because ours was a fairly small sociable district at the time - they'd know about it anyway. There was no expectation of a formal notification - and enough trust existed that they weren't that interested in knowing what our program and menu was.

    Personally, my view was and is - we already have several pairs of eyes on the program and menu (and everything else). Why - or how - does having another set of eyes which happen to be in the head of a person who has the letters DC applied to them, improve the quality or lessen the risks involved? I get it with new leaders/troops, or set ups with too few people, extra eyes are always handy.

    But there needs to be flexibility and acceptance in terms of trust too. At work, my manager knows more about the job than I do (that's why he's my manager), so I defer to his judgement. At Scouts, the DC (invariably) is some one who wasn't at the meeting so couldn't say no to the job.

    Others have commented upon the genesis of why we have the rules we have - that they have their basis in things that have occurred. Can the same not be said about the current structure of TSA above group level? Where they've reacted to things with a structure, rules & guidance - those structures, rules & guidance have also had ramifications going back the other way.

    Of course, a lot of those have been good, but many have not. At best it just wastes a lot of leader time in jumping through hoops, at worst it means leaders either don't bother (as in ignore the rule/s) or they leave the organisation because they realise it's not actually a hobby - it's a job.
    Well there were more Scouts and leaders in the late eighties (without girls, and with a lower population), in addition the district I was in at the time featured 7 troops, every single one of which ran a Summer camp (today 2 out of 8 in this district), so I can't believe that the extra paperwork put people off, or indeed was that onerous. You create a menu and a programme for a camp anyway, sending a copy off isn't an issue. The local DC provided useful information, often had suggestions for activities, shops, hikes etc , as others suggest was an interesting person to chat to, provided networking and in one case put us in touch with a local group with which we kept links for many years.

    Not a bad thing at all I think - except perhaps for the load on the DC and his team (sometimes ADC's visited rather than the DC).

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    Sorry you are right I missed the book bit, in which case its no different to any Scout Section. I can decide to do something with our Explorers, book it and be doing it a week later if we want to. No rules in TSA prevent me doing so, using external providers is extremely easy (ok if I had a stupid DC who had a draconian interpretation of rule 9.1 maybe that could cause me an issue although I suspect even then a week's notice would be plenty)

    I read it as you did. I think the inferrence was that by being independent there were not the "permit" hoops to jump through. Else, why make the point?
    Ewan Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    Well there were more Scouts and leaders in the late eighties (without girls, and with a lower population), in addition the district I was in at the time featured 7 troops, every single one of which ran a Summer camp (today 2 out of 8 in this district), so I can't believe that the extra paperwork put people off, or indeed was that onerous. You create a menu and a programme for a camp anyway, sending a copy off isn't an issue. The local DC provided useful information, often had suggestions for activities, shops, hikes etc , as others suggest was an interesting person to chat to, provided networking and in one case put us in touch with a local group with which we kept links for many years.

    Not a bad thing at all I think - except perhaps for the load on the DC and his team (sometimes ADC's visited rather than the DC).

    Ummm...

    If there were more leaders and scouts back then and there's less now (although I'm not sure that's quite right), then surely (don't call me Shirley ) that means there's less leaders and scouts now? (If I'm understanding your point...) Those leaders left and weren't replaced for a reason. Obviously, if there are less leaders, there will be less kids.

    Don't really want to get into that side of things, but we've had several conversations about the kind of leaders we get these days and how long they stay involved.

    For what it's worth (getting back on topic), I'm definitely more risk-averse than I was, but I suspect that is a result of generally being older.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    Well there were more Scouts and leaders in the late eighties (without girls, and with a lower population).
    This is true, but the numbers have been climbing steadily for the last decade.

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/...mbership-soars

    So, the current red-tape is clearly not putting everyone off volunteering.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    For what it's worth (getting back on topic), I'm definitely more risk-averse than I was, but I suspect that is a result of generally being older.
    I would absolutely agree with this. Having a child of my own radically changed my perception of risk.

    I think there is a direct correlation between age and risk perception. It does not mean that older leaders are less likely to take a risk, more that they are more likely to see the risk in the first place.

    I am sure that there are outliers at both ends too.

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    I think as well, new leaders coming in, only know what they know. They'll not be aware of how things were in the dim and distant past. They simply won't know how it used to be so won't think that there's too much red tape.

    For what it's worth, I don't actually think there is too much red tape per se, it's more to do with how it's structured. In which regard, I think it might make us appear to be more risk-averse. For example, I do think there should be some sort of NAP, but the basic entry level - I don't think - should be optional. And I suppose I think it should include camping in tents.

    I still think there is too much unnecessary oversight.

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    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    I still think there is too much unnecessary oversight.
    I think you have the impression that there is more oversight than there is.

    We can do anything we want with our Explorers (within the rules) our DESC knows where our programme is and can see what we are getting up to from there but apart from NA events I don't seek approval from anyone for anything we do.

    Similarly for our Group as GSL I know what our Sections are up to (I look on OSM) but in terms of what activities they do I just let our Section Leaders get on with running their Sections, if they need any support they know where I am.

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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    I struggle to think of anything that we wanted to do that the rules ever stopped us doing. Sometimes they made it difficult - but that was Goldplating.

    Archery, Abseiling, Camping, Canyoning, Circus skills, Climbing, Firelighting, Fire spinning, High ropes, Hillwalking, Kayaking, laserquest, Pioneering, Quad bikes, Rafting, Swimming, plus all the crafts, and cooking that you could shake a stick at.

    The things we have not done have been age limited by the provider, or been too expensive. I did manage to get someone gliding once, but that is so open to the vagaries of the weather that we took it off the table.
    Ewan Scott

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    Very Old Member BigBadBaloo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    ................I still think there is too much unnecessary oversight.
    No I don't think there is. The thing is you see, a bit like complaints about poor service, you often only hear about the ones, that have a problem and that might skew your view. Just like with good service, you very rarely hear about those section leaders that have no problems in applying the rules and run a full and exciting programme, with very little input in to what they are doing from the GSL, DC or anyone else.

    When I was a CSL, I was the "senior" CSL in the group which ran 3 packs of approx 70+ cubs (which basically meant I did all the admin! ). I don't think I ever sent the weekly programme, the camp programmes/menus etc. to the GSL let alone the DC! Of course they had an inkling of what we were doing especially with regard to camps, not least because the County had a online form for the submission of NA details which automatically emailed the DC & GSL (and no, you didn't have to use the online form), and I would often be looking for helpers (the DC was often in charge of catering at Cub camps! ). If the GSL, DC, ADC or anyone else wanted to come to one of the weekly meetings and they hadn't let me know and we weren't there because the weather had allowed us to vary the programme, tough! They either waited until we returned to the hall or gave up and went home!

    Like others have said in our Group, the section leaders were very much allowed to get on with it!
    Peter

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    I still find their is some unnecessary paper work created, with some leaders creating permission forms for every activity, the attitude being the rules donít say I can so Iíll ask permission as opposed to the rules donít say I canít and I can do it safely.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun View Post
    I still find their is some unnecessary paper work created, with some leaders creating permission forms for every activity, the attitude being the rules don’t say I can so I’ll ask permission as opposed to the rules don’t say I can’t and I can do it safely.


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    I must admit I started doing that when I initially took over running Explorers, i knew it wasn;t necessaty but I thought it would give me a usful idea who was going to attend. It didn;t work as people would return permission slips and not turn up or just turn up with the permission slip so I stopped doing it and just learnt to roll with whatever numbers turned up unless I really needed to know such as having to book numbers for an activity (although I prefer to find venues that don't need exact numbers, partly why we go to Bradford for Laserzone and use a bouldering wall in Leeds both of which have Scouters as instructors so get that flexibility is appreciated).

    Peter Andrews AESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun View Post
    I still find their is some unnecessary paper work created, with some leaders creating permission forms for every activity, the attitude being the rules donít say I can so Iíll ask permission as opposed to the rules donít say I canít and I can do it safely.
    We still use a note with a permission slip for every activity away from the Hut. Not because we are told to, but because we found that a piece of paper that the parent has to sign is the only way to ensure they actually read it and turn up at the right place.
    Is a procedure that you adopt for yourself "red tape"?
    John Russell
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnR View Post
    We still use a note with a permission slip for every activity away from the Hut. Not because we are told to, but because we found that a piece of paper that the parent has to sign is the only way to ensure they actually read it and turn up at the right place.
    Is a procedure that you adopt for yourself "red tape"?
    I think there is a difference between an attendance proforma.

    So a slip saying my son Smithy will attend Archery at Dangly Woods Campsite on Thursday 30 Feb, makes your life easier and means you can work numbers out etc.

    A slip saying I give permission for Smithy to participate in Archery is unnecessary and can lead to expectations that you will always ask permission before you do anything.




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