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Thread: Explorer ground rules & expectations

  1. #16
    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup Daisy View Post
    I believe this is a power struggle from the few that think that they are in control, theyve been pretty clear theyve decided they want to do archery now & refuse to do anything different, on principle!!!
    I believe you are correct, it is almost certainly a power struggle. Nowt much wrong with an evening of archery, have I missed something?
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup Daisy View Post
    The fact that its cooking has got little to do with it, out of interest its a challenge based around international fairtrade (or not), different teams have different countries & different amounts of money depending on the wealth of individuals in that country, USA get 6 for 2 courses, Mexico 2 etc.
    I believe this is a power struggle from the few that think that they are in control, theyve been pretty clear theyve decided they want to do archery now & refuse to do anything different, on principle!!!


    I'm confused - why would you can the cooking? Sounds like a pretty good programme - even if the budget is a tad tight IMHO - but then again I am profligate when it comes to food

    There is something missing in this story - why would archery be an issue, presuming all the requirements are met?

    Starts to look like what the the Scout Association refer to as a "clash of personalities".

    From what you have said, you need to instill some structure, start - finish - no early departure and rides home in mate's car - though you can't stop them doing that after you put the lights out and go home. Deal with that around their programme and you will get there. Dig your heels in and challenge them and you will lose them.

    My lot love cooking, archery, shooting, playing dodgeball chatting, challenges laserquest etc., and we don't do the flag thing in Navs, but you know what, they arrive on time, mostly, they get involved, and at the end of the evening there are some we can't get to go home... thankfully their parents pick them up though... so we are usually out of the hall 15 minutes after the last one has left.

    By the way - bought in activities can be very useful - they give Leaders a break, they give kids what they want - the thing is, if they booked to go to Lazerquest off their own bat, maybe six would go. If we book it we get 20 plus guests and they all get on together - it helps build that esprit de corps that makes the whole thing tick.
    Ewan Scott

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    Sounds to me like there might be an element of getting off on the wrong foot.

    As far as the young people are concerned this may well feel like their old beloved leader who did things they way they liked has gone and has been replaced by someone who appears to be a bit - maybe serious. They've had the archery they wanted to do dumped in their eyes because they didn't want to turn up to something you were trying on them. I'm personally all in favour of doing stuff like Fairtrade etc but it can sound a bit preachy if what you were actually looking for was an evening having a laugh making pizzas in cardboard box ovens as the cooking night, and having a Chinese takeaway as the international evening.

    Its been said many times on here that you attract the kids that your style suits. My Cub pack is full of barely controlled ruffians who look like they've been shaken out of a sack, and get twitchy if sat still for more than 5 minutes, so we spend most of our time doing active stuff. I'd never dream of taking them on a parade because it would be a total fiasco. Other local packs appear in photos etc in pristine uniform (clearly inspected every week) doing nice poster designs or cake icing. Nothing at all wrong with that but if we swapped leader teams for a month I suspect both packs would lose a lot of kids.

    You've inherited a group of kids who signed up to the way the unit has been run to date. If you totally change that overnight you have to expect a high loss rate. I'd actually make another suggestion - you've said somewhere about wanting this unit to be more in line with other units in the district - I'd ask why? If you have 3,4,5 units all the same you'll have one style of Explorers for young people to choose to engage with or not - having a few different options means that you may end up with a wider spread of young people as some like one style and others like others. (Will depend a bit on geography - where we are the kids all mix for secondary schools so having to go to the nearest unit wouldn't be the be all etc).

    I think I might be inclined to pick something easy to organise - like book a couple of lanes at a nearby bowling alley, and invite the young people along for a "clear the air and talk about how we make this work" session with bowling and some snacks. You can then engage with them and find out what their red lines are and pick a couple that you want like them having the basic politeness to recognise you've given up your whole evening and that its blatently rude just to walk out in the middle.
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    I believe you are correct, it is almost certainly a power struggle. Nowt much wrong with an evening of archery, have I missed something?
    No issues with doing archery, its just the AESL forgot to book it in time, no excuses moving what was already planned was easier than finding something new.

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    What Mang said.

    Various DESC's used to visit us from time to time and it varied in awkwardness from a wee bit awkward to actually really quite awkward. Their expectations of how Explorers should run never really gelled with how we ran.

    While I wouldn't have put our weekly program up against any other unit's (ours was more a social thing than anything else), the weekends and longer trips we did were ambitious and didn't lack in scoutyness.

    Contrary to what HQ would have anyone believe, Scouts works because of the differences in leader style. The cookie cut, rote scouting they seem to want, I don't think, works particularly well on a wider stage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    What Mang said.

    Various DESC's used to visit us from time to time and it varied in awkwardness from a wee bit awkward to actually really quite awkward. Their expectations of how Explorers should run never really gelled with how we ran.
    I'm reminded of the DESC who wanted to run joint events and wanted to run a session at our hall with a visit from the short lived other unit. I said it was a bad idea. I said that ours were more competitive and more of a team. He went ahead anyway.

    I walked in at the end of the evening and the alternate ESL had joined in a game of chalk rugby, or such, and had been smashed into a kitchen table with such force that he broke a leg off it and lost two front teeth. The DESC said, "I didn't ralise that they would get quite so competitive."

    I THOUGHT " What was an adult doing playing a contact game with them?"

    At a District camp he had another go, an Explorers' Ultimate Frisbee Game. Again, I said not to, it wasn't a clever idea. He said, "What could go wrong?" I shrugged and smiled.

    15 minutes later the field was strewn with the bodies of his Lads as my lot gave absolutely no quarter. It made a Rugby International look like a game of tag.

    I had no involvement in either incident. It shows what can happen when a "stranger" imposes his ideas
    Ewan Scott

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





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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Various DESC's used to visit us from time to time and it varied in awkwardness from a wee bit awkward to actually really quite awkward. Their expectations of how Explorers should run never really gelled with how we ran.
    It doesn't have to be. When this DESC visits one of our units, it varies in awkwardness from zero to maybe a tiny bit if they've not got the kettle on or they're having one of "those" nights. But then the leader team across the district units have been round the block together, so...
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2018 - May 2019
    http://www.jambowlree.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup Daisy View Post
    No issues with doing archery, its just the AESL forgot to book it in time, no excuses moving what was already planned was easier than finding something new.
    Explain that Archery on a range was unavailable and do alternative Archery.

    BBQ skewers, dental floss for bows, cocktail sticks for arrows, they could make flights for them if that inclined or even go outside for Agincourt style volleys.

    Or you could use cotton buds dipped in meths to do a flaming volley...


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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    It doesn't have to be. When this DESC visits one of our units, it varies in awkwardness from zero to maybe a tiny bit if they've not got the kettle on or they're having one of "those" nights. But then the leader team across the district units have been round the block together, so...
    The last DESC was okay, the one before that was very enthusiastic. VERY enthusiastic...

    When anyone turns up down our way, in a perfectly pressed uniform shirt and a machine-rolled necker, we tend to get a wee bit skittish. It doesn't really matter who they are...

    It's quite funny with Scouts, we don't wear uniform shirts, so if we're anywhere with people who do, unflattering comparisons are made - usually about us... They usually then see the other Scouts, and the smirk comes off their faces.

    A wee bit of inverted snobbery I think... (That goes for me too...)

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    The last DESC was okay, the one before that was very enthusiastic. VERY enthusiastic...
    That can be a little annoying, depending I suppose on whether their enthusiasms align with yours.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2018 - May 2019
    http://www.jambowlree.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    That can be a little annoying, depending I suppose on whether their enthusiasms align with yours.
    Digressing ever so slightly (although it's a good example of new leadership/existing expectations being problematic). This was what closed Explorers down in our district way back when and drove the group-based units we have these days. Leaders not being able to agree with each other (or as in this instance the membership) and what direction the unit should take in terms of content.

    With us, it was around DoE. I suppose, if you're going to go down that road, you really have to go down that road, and the same can be said for the Explorer program. That was why we decided not to bother. A lot of them were already doing DoE, and since we couldn't commit to all of the Explorer program, it didn't seem worth doing wee bits of it.

    I think some people/leaders forget that young folk have a lot on their plates already and maybe just want to **** about, and that while there is a balance between what young folk want to do and what they are allowed to do - as long as what they're doing is safe and somewhat wholesome, I do think it's up to them.

    In the context of this thread, the young folk have gone a wee bit too far in their own direction (the driving and the leaving early is dangerous/rude respectively), but I can understand why they might kick back at the new direction of travel.

    I suppose the question is, what is more important - the membership or adherance to the program?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    I suppose the question is, what is more important - the membership or adherance to the program?
    Program? Explorers?

    We have no challenge badges.
    We have activity badges that are mostly full of stuff that's implausible to fit into evening activities. Certainly not to completion anyway.
    We have top awards that are basically D of E plus a bit, so the schools (round here anyway) sweep up a large percentage of ours that are interested in DofE, and we don't have the manpower to run something else for the few that would want it.
    All the 15/16/17 year olds seem to have mocks, pre mocks, end of year exams, actual exams, and just as the pressure of the proper exams stop, they're off again for NCS, and that's summer gone.

    Oh mercy me I've turned into a grump.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2018 - May 2019
    http://www.jambowlree.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Program? Explorers?

    We have no challenge badges.
    We have activity badges that are mostly full of stuff that's implausible to fit into evening activities. Certainly not to completion anyway.
    We have top awards that are basically D of E plus a bit, so the schools (round here anyway) sweep up a large percentage of ours that are interested in DofE, and we don't have the manpower to run something else for the few that would want it.
    All the 15/16/17 year olds seem to have mocks, pre mocks, end of year exams, actual exams, and just as the pressure of the proper exams stop, they're off again for NCS, and that's summer gone.

    Oh mercy me I've turned into a grump.
    utterly this times a million

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Program? Explorers?

    We have no challenge badges.
    We have activity badges that are mostly full of stuff that's implausible to fit into evening activities. Certainly not to completion anyway.
    We have top awards that are basically D of E plus a bit, so the schools (round here anyway) sweep up a large percentage of ours that are interested in DofE, and we don't have the manpower to run something else for the few that would want it.
    All the 15/16/17 year olds seem to have mocks, pre mocks, end of year exams, actual exams, and just as the pressure of the proper exams stop, they're off again for NCS, and that's summer gone.

    Oh mercy me I've turned into a grump.
    Definitely find this. We have run a handful of activity badges that can be done as part of an evening programme (international, global issues, various staged navigation type badges) but it is impossible with most of them, that are better as being done as the basis for a silver DofE skills section. but the whole lot needs an overhaul to be relevant and realistic, or drop it completely and run some more sweeping challenge stages where individuals can choose if and how to complete in their own way.

    We have a district led DofE team who run the expeditions and I support our unit on the remaining DofE sections / chief scout. We do 2 ICV type evenings a year and I am not ashamed to say I adapt the requirements - “run 2 evenings for your unit on an international theme”. Christ, we are 20 explorers so that’s the entire annual programme of ICV stuff if we’re not careful. Instead I ask they each prep and run a short game/ activity/ talk on the theme, we fit it into the evening, have a bit of fun and then it’s done. E.g. tonight’s Independence Day so they’re all doing something around American scouting, culture, values etc.

    But beyond that, with our large cohort now hitting 16/17, they are basically lost to exams and becoming more picky about what they come to, so I am starting to think we drop a lot of this stuff next year and revert to a more casual approach. On the other hand, I think that another local unit does this successfully as a youth group that camps almost every 2nd Friday, so maybe we should stick to our guns and embrace that we offer some of the other style. Who knows...

    What I do know is that when we ask explorers what they want, they rarely stretch themselves to try new things or particularly scouty things. Yet when leaders run these, invariably it is enjoyed. So we roll with our 3 patrols choosing / running 1 “casual” and 1 “skills” night each per term, and leaders adding in a few leader run nights to ensure the balance.
    ESL - Titan ESU (Wakefield)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Program? Explorers?

    We have no challenge badges.
    We have activity badges that are mostly full of stuff that's implausible to fit into evening activities. Certainly not to completion anyway.
    We have top awards that are basically D of E plus a bit, so the schools (round here anyway) sweep up a large percentage of ours that are interested in DofE, and we don't have the manpower to run something else for the few that would want it.
    All the 15/16/17 year olds seem to have mocks, pre mocks, end of year exams, actual exams, and just as the pressure of the proper exams stop, they're off again for NCS, and that's summer gone.

    Oh mercy me I've turned into a grump.
    Indeed.

    I probably should've put 'program' in inverted commas...


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