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Thread: Number of Leaders

  1. #1
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    Question Number of Leaders

    I've been thinking a lot recently about the number of leaders we have. I was trying to get across to someone how far we are from what I consider the ideal. That made me question if my ideal is actually a reasonable target or not?

    I consider the ideal is that each section meet the minimum "away from the normal meeting place" ratios, so that we can get away without needing to ask for help, and also so that in winter, when we need less adults we can give leaders "time off".

    That lead me to this diagram. It's for our group so has a bit of an odd set of sections, and it has some support to look after our building etc.

    In the words of Mumsnet Am I being unreasonable?

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    If you've got your own building you may want more on the Exec, such as a building manager.

    OH isn't a role so I wouldn't include them; it's just a means of DBSing. If you have people who are "floating Leaders" I'd use Group Section Assistant for those.

    I think 5 dedicated adults per Section is hopelessly optimistic. Can we have some? 3 is probably more usual.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Looks fairy nuff, if you can manage that.

    I had BSL x 1
    ABSL x4
    CSL x 1 ACSL x 3
    SL x 1
    ACSL x 4
    SA x 2
    ESL x 1
    Skills Helpers - kayaking Archery etc outside the team x2
    All team members had at least one Adventurous Activity skill.

    As many OH as I needed.

    Plus Chair, Treasurer, Secretary
    AESL x 1
    Ewan Scott

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





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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    If you've got your own building you may want more on the Exec, such as a building manager.
    The 3 "BC" entries are supposed to represent a building committee, so the SASL would represent them on the exec.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    I think 5 dedicated adults per Section is hopelessly optimistic. Can we have some? 3 is probably more usual.
    Well at the moment, to my knowledge, we have 8 who are dedicated to a section, out of those 25 roles

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    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    In our Group & Unit we have something like the following currently

    1 x GSL & 1 x AGSL

    1 x BSL, 1 ABSL, 3 x Beaver Section Assistants

    1 x CSL, 4 ACSLs, 1 x Cub Section Assistant(although one is on medcial leave)

    1 x SL, 2 x ASLs, 2 x Scout Sectional Assistant

    1 x ESL, 1 x AESL, 1 x Explorer Section Assistant

    Plus a full Exec inclding all 3 officer positions and other parents etc

    So we just about can take Beaver out without any extra parents if all the Beaver Leaders and Assistants are there but that doesn't often happen so we usually have a couple of parents help to make sure we are ok for ratios. For Cubs we usually manage without parents fo outdoor stuff and for Scouts due to the lower required ratios we never need to get parents helping.

    What I do want to do is set up a Group Active Support Unit which would be ideal as we have quite a few former Explorers who are down as a mix of OHs and Sectional Assistants (plus a couple with full appointments where they live now) who actually only come and help run camps but a neither a Sectional Assistant role nor and OH role is not really right as they would all be happy to be in uniform but don;t help with meetings so having them as Section Assistants starts to look a bit silly on compass so an active support role would be ideal for them plus some of our ex-regular Leaders who are in a similar position where they help on occasional camps.

    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
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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    I wouldn't disagree with your ideal scenario - I suspect if you ever got close someone would be looking to poach some of them to start new sections or support struggling sections elsewhere.

    We only currently have one section per level so obviously our numbers are more limited. Beavers at the moment just has one BSL and one SA so could really do with an ABSL - our GSL steps in there when required. Cubs has CSL, one ABSL and two SA's which on current numbers is fine - we could take 24 out and that is really my limit on numbers due to the size of the hall and the fact that it starts to feel impersonal if you have bigger numbers. Scouts has a SL, two ASL's and a couple of SA's but they tend to rotate much more. Generally our use of parents is more on a "we're doing this, do you fancy coming along as extra numbers" basis - potentially with a view to developing them as potential leaders. Exec is similar but has one additional role relating to buildings due to wanting to get our site refurbushed.
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nevynxxx View Post
    Well at the moment, to my knowledge, we have 8 who are dedicated to a section, out of those 25 roles
    Sorry are you saying you are running 6 Sections with only 8 adults dedicated to running the Sections? Whilst we run 3 Sections with around 16 adults dedicated to running the Sections?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    I think 5 dedicated adults per Section is hopelessly optimistic. Can we have some? 3 is probably more usual.
    We have more than 5 per Section so not that hopeless We have recruited most of those in the last 3 or 4 years before that we were struggling for Leaders especially new Section Leaders as we had two Section leaders in their late 60s with no obvious replacements within our team.

    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
    www.leeds-solar.co.uk
    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    I think 5 dedicated adults per Section is hopelessly optimistic. Can we have some? 3 is probably more usual.

    No, it isn't. We were there for a while.

    1/ Scouts has a huge branding - it is the "go to" youth organisation, so it has a huge advantage in attracting adult support
    2/ When the Group is open and welcoming it will attract youth and adult support
    3/ When adults feel supported they will help
    4/ When you build the ethos and the reputation you will get support
    5/ When you make young people feel part o the group, they will stay and move into Leader roles for Leader roles

    In the last six months of my tenure, I had direct unsolicited applications for Leader roles and support roles.

    It isn't hopelessly optimistic, it is somethng that can be done - it takes time, it takes effort and I guess a little bit of luck.

    I currently am short of leaders for our Junior Navs (Cub age), but at Navigators we had four adults, with one on holiday, so five for the Navigators section. I am about to go on a charm offensive to see if we can bring some new people on board for Juniors, and maybe even to open Meerkats...
    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



    www.upperdearnevalleynavigators.org.uk

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    The problem with the "numbers game" is that it assumes that every leader is able (or "needs" to be) to be present every week and overlooks the concept of "flexible volunteering".

    Our current Cub team has 6 adults - 1 CSL, 4 ACSL, 1 SA which on paper looks fantastic BUT... the reality is that 2 of the ACSLs have work commitments that mean that they are not available every week (and it's not unknown for this to be at very short notice) and family commitments, again at short notice, can mean that our SA is not available.

    Having a strong team means none of us feels "guilty" (yes, I know we shouldn't whatever the circumstances) if we take are unavailable at short notice or if we take a week or two off for holidays or some other reason ....... and I'm writing this from the Netherlands!

    It also means that one of us can help out with another section *instead of* rather than *as well as" Cubs when necessary.

    I suspect that at least two of the ACSLs would not have agreed to join the leadership team if it wasn't made clear (and was obvious that that was the reality) that attendance every week was not a requirement of the role.

    I think that there are only 3 from the 7 meetings this half term when all six of us *plan* to be there...
    Kate, CSL (and GDB(S))
    1st Weald Brook Scout Group
    Brentwood, Essex
    www.1stwealdbrook.org.uk

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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    Sorry are you saying you are running 6 Sections with only 8 adults dedicated to running the Sections? Whilst we run 3 Sections with around 16 adults dedicated to running the Sections?
    5 sections, not 6. But yes. We have run with a max of two "leaders" per section for 20 years, so most people assume that's fine, and how it should work. I'm trying to get across that the ideal is a long way from that, and from where we are so that some focus can be put on recruitment.

    Quote Originally Posted by YellowBeaver
    Having a strong team means none of us feels "guilty" (yes, I know we shouldn't whatever the circumstances) if we take are unavailable at short notice or if we take a week or two off for holidays or some other reason ....... and I'm writing this from the Netherlands!


    Ultimately, this is what I'm aiming for.

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    It might be that it's becoming ever more difficult to recruit people who can commit to being there every section night - so the notion of having an old school SL/CSL or BSL is outdated and the structure needs updated.

    I think, in addition to what Yellowbeaver said, coming to scouts shouldn't be seen as a chore or job to be done, but as a pleasure. I hate to miss a Thursday night at Scouts, I know the rest of the team would be fine, but I really enjoy it so want to be there as much as possible.

    Is a side effect of the tone of Scouts now (as we've already discussed) around it being very occupational? Does it work against people coming on board and seeing it not as something they need or have to do, but as something they want to do?

    Interestingly (or not). The way we've had to recruit leaders for Beavers has always been because it was about to close - leaders there are very much of the need-to-be-there type. (Currently running with one BSL and one helper). For Cubs, it went that way for a spell, but currently we have two leaders there who definitely want to be there. (They're very good, too good at times... Makes the scout leader team look bad...) They also have a helper on board. At Scouts, it's always been a want-to-be-there thing - although, I think the previous SL (who sometimes only had one helper) turned into a need-to-be-there type leader. Currently at Scouts there are three leaders, two helpers and two YL's.

    What that means is, there are no need-to-be-there type leaders/helpers at Scouts. I think the OP is right to aim for that set up. But obviously it's difficult with the way TSA have things set up. Or at least - I think it is.

    How many of us go to work because we want to?

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    Very Old Member BigBadBaloo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    ..........................How many of us go to work because we want to?

    At least one!
    Peter

    Former CSL - 2nd Bracknell


    A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Lao Tzu (600 BC - 531 BC)

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    It might be that it's becoming ever more difficult to recruit people who can commit to being there every section night - so the notion of having an old school SL/CSL or BSL is outdated and the structure needs updated.

    I think, in addition to what Yellowbeaver said, coming to scouts shouldn't be seen as a chore or job to be done, but as a pleasure. I hate to miss a Thursday night at Scouts, I know the rest of the team would be fine, but I really enjoy it so want to be there as much as possible.

    Is a side effect of the tone of Scouts now (as we've already discussed) around it being very occupational? Does it work against people coming on board and seeing it not as something they need or have to do, but as something they want to do?

    Interestingly (or not). The way we've had to recruit leaders for Beavers has always been because it was about to close - leaders there are very much of the need-to-be-there type. (Currently running with one BSL and one helper). For Cubs, it went that way for a spell, but currently we have two leaders there who definitely want to be there. (They're very good, too good at times... Makes the scout leader team look bad...) They also have a helper on board. At Scouts, it's always been a want-to-be-there thing - although, I think the previous SL (who sometimes only had one helper) turned into a need-to-be-there type leader. Currently at Scouts there are three leaders, two helpers and two YL's.

    What that means is, there are no need-to-be-there type leaders/helpers at Scouts. I think the OP is right to aim for that set up. But obviously it's difficult with the way TSA have things set up. Or at least - I think it is.

    How many of us go to work because we want to?

    It is possible to "want to go every week" and "not feel guilty for having a week off". Designing your leadership team so everyone needs to be there every week, is going to have a negative impact on people wanting to go every week, don't you think?

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    Very Old Member BigBadBaloo's Avatar
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    I am following this thread with some interest as it was a subject that vexed me when I was a CSL!

    Is that schematic your current group structure (i.e. 2 Colonies, 2 Packs, & 1 troop) with your ideal leadership structure overlaid?

    You say you "have 8 who are dedicated to a section, out of those 25 roles" - which sections have "dedicated" leaders and which are doubling up? Which roles are you counting to get to 25? In your ideal scenario, I make it 23 (4 junior sections x 5 + 3 SLs)?

    Surely the number of leaders required in each section will depend on the number of youth members? (Presumably your ideal structure assumes the group is operating at the recommended Colony & Pack membership levels).

    "We have run with a max of two "leaders" per section for 20 years, so most people assume that's fine,........." Who are "most people"? What does the GSL/DC think about this?

    More questions than answers I am afraid and whilst you schematic may be the ideal, I am really not sure how achievable it might be! (said as someone who was a CSL in a Group with 3 packs each of which had 1 x CSL, and variously 2 -3 ACSLs for very many years).
    Peter

    Former CSL - 2nd Bracknell


    A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Lao Tzu (600 BC - 531 BC)

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    Hi Peter, I don't really want to derail into an in depth discussion of my group, but I'll PM you answers to those questions.

    I'm more interested in a feel for what people think is normal vs best practice vs what they aim for.

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