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Thread: Too many of the wrong type of district events?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Too many of the wrong type of district events?

    Hi just wondered the general view on this.

    Let me say I'm extremely grateful for any district person willing to organise stuff, give up their time etc, especially if they're generous enough to take our scouts away without needed us leaders involved. Our district runs an international 'camp' and I'm grateful for that, although in my view it's not something that really interests me as its more of a holiday centre style and not massively scouting.

    We used to have camping competition for pioneering, fires and cooking etc, hikes, and district camps

    But more recently we seem to have trips to soft play centres or well known local attractions. Now the latest is a PGL style 'camp' which is extremely expensive (nearly the same cost for 2 days as our 7 day week camp) and all the above are positioned at a time around our more traditional camps that just means we are struggling to juggle all the paperwork and/or support the district events. The only thing left of the stuff I did when I was a scout (fairly recently!) is a well attended annual nighthike, which I run myself - which seems to indicate there is still a demand for more traditional stuff.

    I know it's good to have a balance and all, but I'd rather have 25 scouts coming on a cheap traditional camp than 15 going on an expensive activity holiday. If we promote both equally then both get reduced numbers. If we dont promote the district stuff we're seen in a bad light by the groups who love that stuff. It's hard to keep everyone happy.

  2. #2
    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    I think the ideal for District events should be that they offer something that a Group or Section can't organise themselves.

    A few examples of such activities
    -With Beavers our District organises an annual coach trip hiring at least 2 coaches to visit an attraction a reasonable distance away. A signle Section would struggle to get the numbers to make hriing a coach justifibale which would then
    mean relying on minibuses or parents to get their kids there.
    - Beavers also do Christmas Craft evenings where each Colony provides one craft base which results in loads of craft bases for everyone to do with much less effort per Colony than providing all those crafts just within your own Colony.
    - Our District has run a few District camps for all Sections and by having our whole District involved we have the numbers to go to a Scout Activity centre and get them to run all the onsite activities as well as putting on some activities ourselves so there is loads more to do than a signle Group could put on by themselves.
    - District ran a great cycling event at a local cycling centre where we got free exclusive use of the track and did a sponsored cycle relay in Sections so each Cub, Scout etc road a lap of the track and then handed over to another Cub or Scout to ride the next lap and so on and they tried to ride the most total laps between them in an hour. Each kid got sponsors for the number of laps their Section completed altogether. this meant that if you had a small number turn up they just had to work harder to keep up but every Section could take part and we raised a load of money for a Leeds childrens cancer charity. No way could this have been organised at Group level.

    I think events which are competitions between Sections can work well as all a single Section can do is inter patrol/six/lodge competitions which are likely to have to be smaller in scale. JUst so long as they are reasonably fun and not too formal.

    What annoys me is when events are organised with no consulation as to whether there would actually be any demand for that event or where dates are chosen without consulting and then people at District complaining about a lack of support for these events.

    Peter Andrews ESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group

    Previous Scouting Roles
    2003 - 2013 ABSL
    2017-2018 AGSL

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

  3. #3
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    I think they're subject to pretty much the same constraints group/section camps have. The main benefit of district-run stuff, is the kids get to meet new people - I still think this is a strength of Scouting - but I think that mostly applies if their is an international aspect.

    Our district is just reforming - they're trying to put together a district camp. It's a great idea on paper, but we're also doing things as a troop - which clashes with it. As a leader myself, I have to go to it for NA cover (apparently), what that means is a weekend spent feeding the kids then watching them do activity rinse/repeat. The stuff we organise ourselves, everyone gets to do. (And part of the reward bit of being a leader is in the organising.)

    But, district has the same constraints we do, getting anything established in the diary is already tough for a group - and they'll have links with the community that district won't. So it'll be even more of an up hill battle for districts.

    TL/DR version, if your district already runs like that (lots of district-based stuff already happening) then that's what Groups will be used to. If it's not, then they won't and there will be frustrations on all side.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    I can't speak for anyone else, our experiences here all vary.

    I got involved in Scouts as a Leader rather late in the day. I'd have been 38/37 when I got hooked. I only knew what I knew, and that was not a lot. Within a couple of weeks, I was being told that isn't "Scouting". That is not how we do it. Which I felt was rather rich given that doing it the way they had been doing it had been about to result in the closure of a whole Group!

    Anyway. I went on training courses, I learned some stuff, I taught some stuff. I got our Scouts involved in County events and District events - we were initially one of the few from the District that took part, and latterly we were the only ones taking part - everyone else had withdrawn.

    When asked why they didn't get involved in X or Y, the answer was often that they didn't have the skills. District organised skills weekends for Leaders and Scouts, only two Groups took part.

    We had meetings about a District camp - we started out at meeting one with a team of 13, meeting two there were two of us... and thus it was. Nonetheless, we ran three District camps, two were great successes, but the first saw my Group, at the end of a long hot weekend shipping several tons of kit back down to the hall as everyone else just packed their tents and quit - there was no teamwork across the District.

    The Second - we bought in the activities - even the ones that we could provide - because that way, we could also pack our own tents and go home, same as everyone else.

    The third, was called off due to bad weather. We never had another one. As far as I am aware there still have not been any District camps for Scouts.

    There are many reasons - lack of time, lack of skills and I guess a simple lack of interest.

    I admit it used to wind me up incredibly that people moaned about not doing, yet when offered the chance they wouldn't take the opportunity anyway.

    Today, I'm not entirely convinced that any of it really matters. My Leaders don't want to camp anymore, so we don't do too many camps. The kids don't seem that bothered. Maybe we might have a few more if we did camp every other weekend like we used to, but we always seem to have date clashes when we organise camps. So, I don't know if it matters that much.

    The bigger influencer on membership is behaviour - one bad apple, as they say, can spoil the barrel. I've had more kids leave because of the poor behaviour of one individual than because we don't do camps.

    Navs are trying to organise a Jamboree type event. I'm struggling to support it because my team are not into it and the kids would rather we were doing a big trip - but that is looking like being off the table this year.
    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

  5. #5
    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr_Pepper View Post
    It's hard to keep everyone happy.
    Truth spoken.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2018 - May 2019

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