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Thread: 2021 Census - older scouts

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    2021 Census - older scouts

    Having a bit of a quandary about what to do with the considerable number of scouts in our troop who in ordinary years would have moved onto Explorers by now. Have a read of my email to the DC & district chair and see what you think.

    For context, we have provided almost no Scouting since March 2020. With lots of leaders key workers who saw their workload increase, and those who weren't not being the most tech savvy, we were not really able to offer much except signpost to initiatives by district/county/HQ and hope for the best, with not much (read: virtually zero) uptake. We were on track to return f2f in November, and again in January, but then lockdown came along (sorry if we go into another after this one, it's probably because our group is planning to restart again). The ESU these scouts would be moving on to have held 3 Zoom meetings and 2 f2f meetings to the best of my knowledge since March, so not really any provision for them to move onto.

    We have a 6 of scouts on our books who are over 14.5 years old, with another 5 not far behind them. Ordinarily the 6 would have moved on from the group by now.

    We have a group exec meeting this evening and I will be proposing to them that we follow the HQ advice of surveying parents to find out who intends to return as our membership numbers for census purposes.


    My question, which I canít see covered in the communication from HQ, is what do I do about these older scouts? If our ďmembersĒ on the census are young people who intend to return, these scouts will be retuning to Scouting via an ESU, not the group, so should they really be on our census return if they indicate they would like to return?


    If the census was just a stats gathering exercise I wouldnít be too bothered about this, but since there is a financial impact on what we record, I have to look out for the best financial interests of the group as a trustee.


    I just donít know how I could justify to the group exec that we would have to pay the membership fee for 6 young people who have taken part in no scouting and paid no subs to us since March and will very likely be going straight to Explorers when we are eventually allowed to return - at £49 per members itís not an insignificant amount.
    I've already had some limited response from the DC who agrees the situation isn't clear and wouldn't really be fair on either the group or the ESU to have to cough up.

    Interested to know your thoughts (if you have any!)
    James

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    There is a National Webinar taking place right now with a repeat next Monday on this subject with Q and A opportunity.

    https://www.scouts.org.uk/events/
    --
    Dan Sheehan
    Group Scout Leader
    9th Muswell Hill Scout Group

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    To be blunt the 6 that are 14.5 are not your concern and cannot be entered on your census as they are over Scout age, they should not be with you.
    Although its not ideal they are the District ESU responsability and they should be doing the contacting and work out how they will pay.

    Even without the current situation, its no different to having several move up to explorers (or move group) after xmas and land on the explorer census having paid no subs. Its a pain (been there and got the t-shirt) but unavoidable with the daft way HQ do census and charge membership.

    Its just that this year Covid has made it worse.

    You need to concentrate on the other 5. If they are 14+ they should be in Explorers really. If they are 13.5+ then maybe it would be better for them to move to Explorers especially if their mates are already there.
    Dave Ralphs
    Retiring Yarnton Scout Group (Treasurer)
    Former DofE Advisor & District Exec Member - Oxford Spires
    http://yarntonscouts.org.uk/

    I work for O2, any posts are my own personal views & do not represent O2

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsheehan View Post
    There is a National Webinar taking place right now with a repeat next Monday on this subject with Q and A opportunity.

    https://www.scouts.org.uk/events/
    Unfortunately I'm tied up tonight (replying to this between 2 other Zoom meetings) and couldn't make it. The DC is though and said they will ask if it doesn't get raised.
    James

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    I've just asked this question as I didn't have anything much to ask for myself- basically the quite waffled response was along the lines of the two groups of trustees need to discuss and compromise locally.

    Not sure how much help that'll actually be to you on a practical level but thought it was worth asking!
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    Dan Sheehan
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    9th Muswell Hill Scout Group

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    GSL & ESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragonhhjh View Post
    Having a bit of a quandary about what to do with the considerable number of scouts in our troop who in ordinary years would have moved onto Explorers by now. Have a read of my email to the DC & district chair and see what you think.

    For context, we have provided almost no Scouting since March 2020. With lots of leaders key workers who saw their workload increase, and those who weren't not being the most tech savvy, we were not really able to offer much except signpost to initiatives by district/county/HQ and hope for the best, with not much (read: virtually zero) uptake. We were on track to return f2f in November, and again in January, but then lockdown came along (sorry if we go into another after this one, it's probably because our group is planning to restart again). The ESU these scouts would be moving on to have held 3 Zoom meetings and 2 f2f meetings to the best of my knowledge since March, so not really any provision for them to move onto.



    I've already had some limited response from the DC who agrees the situation isn't clear and wouldn't really be fair on either the group or the ESU to have to cough up.

    Interested to know your thoughts (if you have any!)
    Simple answer is if they are older than 14,5 then you can't return them on a Group Census even if you wanted to as they are beyond the maximum age for Scouts.

    Assuming they haven't paid any subs then I would not included them on census anywhere and the ESU would have to treat them more like new joiners if they did eventually turn back up again after lockdown when the ESU started having meetings again.

    Peter Andrews ESL 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
    2002 - 2018 AESL

    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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    It's a guddle.

    We're going to have around 20 explorer-aged young people, (6/7 existing, with another 14/15 due to move up this year). We ran an impromptu explorer unit alongside the troop. But we're going to have about 15 new scouts up from cubs. Potentially there's going to be 40-45 in the hall. (It'll probably be about 35, they don't all always turn up. Possibly less if some don't return.)

    I don't want to chuck these young folk out, they and their parents have been loyal and supportive through three sections over almost a decade. I haven't thought about how we'll do the explorer census... I assume however, the liability moves from us onto district for any who say they will return but end up not.

    That'll be interesting given 'line management' are so keen for us to count absolutely everyone we possibly can in groups. I wonder what they'll do about Explorers attached to groups?

    I might need to email someone about that... Hmmm...

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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    Simple answer is if they are older than 14,5 then you can't return them on a Group Census even if you wanted to as they are beyond the maximum age for Scouts.

    Assuming they haven't paid any subs then I would not included them on census anywhere and the ESU would have to treat them more like new joiners if they did eventually turn back up again after lockdown when the ESU started having meetings again.
    I agree - if they would have left you by now then they are not your problem for the census. I would just email the DESC, ESLs, and DC to advise them that there are x Scouts of Explorer age and that you have advised them to contact the ESL/DESC. It is then up to District to decide whether they include them, try and make contact or (contrary to the HQ encouragement) save some money.

    Given the challenges which have been discussed on this forum many times before, getting Explorer Leaders to contact and invite Scouts in the first place is a challenge and then persuading the youngsters to move to Explorers is also difficult (local experience - I know it works well in some locations) so the chances that even if they were asked they would say that they were not sure they would go to Explorers when it starts back. Declaring that they have de facto left at this time and treating them as new starters if they join Explorers does not seem to be that unreasonable.
    John Alexander,
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    Quote Originally Posted by dralphs View Post
    To be blunt the 6 that are 14.5 are not your concern and cannot be entered on your census as they are over Scout age, they should not be with you.
    Although its not ideal they are the District ESU responsability and they should be doing the contacting and work out how they will pay.

    Even without the current situation, its no different to having several move up to explorers (or move group) after xmas and land on the explorer census having paid no subs. Its a pain (been there and got the t-shirt) but unavoidable with the daft way HQ do census and charge membership.

    Its just that this year Covid has made it worse.

    You need to concentrate on the other 5. If they are 14+ they should be in Explorers really. If they are 13.5+ then maybe it would be better for them to move to Explorers especially if their mates are already there.

    In a normal year in my Group we would come to an agreement with the ESL on who would pay what, but normally only if they had moved to the ESU after the summer as the ESU would collect subs. If after summer or at Christmas them the Group would fund part of the AMS as the Group had collected the bulk of it.

    In this case though it is difficult as the members have paid nothing to anyone so it is equally unfair that either stand the cost.

    I guess it depends in this case as they haven't been involved on whether they are actually members or whether they have lapsed. The ESU in most cases will not have a waiting list either so less of an issue should they wish to join later.

    Regarding the census though - I beleive that at 14.5 you can have 14 year old Scouts which is what they are (14) as they are not 15.

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    I suppose, my main question on Explorers would be... Normally we collect subs from Explorers in the same way we do from all other members. However, this time round, who has the financial liability - it should be district, but if groups are counting heads...

    Hmmm...

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    Similarly all we have done is a couple of F2F meetings and a few Zoom sessions. I will include all that are within our age range and are participating. In normal times I do not chase any non participants. If they are no longer interested then they are leavers.

    One parent told me that the Scout was not interested in Zoom and only wanted to do camps. In normal times that's a leaver, so I have no issue with not including them.

    In March we had 16 Scouts. We now have 2.

    Most leavers are due to age, with nothing feeding up from Cubs. Age wise, despite many requests, we have no contact with the local ESU's who rely the Scouts finding them rather than proactive recruiting at the Groups.

    Beavers are down to 2 and Cubs are telling me they have 5.

    As we all know, Scouting is an outdoor social group. I am sure once we get back to normality TSA will get on TV with an experimental camp on an island somewhere and show how fabulous we are, but in the meantime there will be a lot of closures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnmcmahon View Post
    Similarly all we have done is a couple of F2F meetings and a few Zoom sessions. I will include all that are within our age range and are participating. In normal times I do not chase any non participants. If they are no longer interested then they are leavers.

    One parent told me that the Scout was not interested in Zoom and only wanted to do camps. In normal times that's a leaver, so I have no issue with not including them.

    In March we had 16 Scouts. We now have 2.

    Most leavers are due to age, with nothing feeding up from Cubs. Age wise, despite many requests, we have no contact with the local ESU's who rely the Scouts finding them rather than proactive recruiting at the Groups.

    Beavers are down to 2 and Cubs are telling me they have 5.

    As we all know, Scouting is an outdoor social group. I am sure once we get back to normality TSA will get on TV with an experimental camp on an island somewhere and show how fabulous we are, but in the meantime there will be a lot of closures.
    I can't help but feel, with this blinkered we-must-do-census-the-way-we've-always-done-it view, that they're shooting themselves in the foot. While I wouldn't necessarily say we're all close to restarting, we could be mere months away from it. For the sake of those few months, they're insisting we do a headcount when so many sections just aren't meeting...

    If they waited till August say, I think it would still be possible to sell charging the full years' AMS on the basis that the costs are fixed. I think parents would get that. But this guddle? Nope.

    I don't know what's more frustrating, the seemingly deliberate obduracy or that groups are being put in a quite difficult position in terms of good relations with the communities they operate in.

    It's just really frustrating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    I can't help but feel, with this blinkered we-must-do-census-the-way-we've-always-done-it view, that they're shooting themselves in the foot. While I wouldn't necessarily say we're all close to restarting, we could be mere months away from it. For the sake of those few months, they're insisting we do a headcount when so many sections just aren't meeting...

    If they waited till August say, I think it would still be possible to sell charging the full years' AMS on the basis that the costs are fixed. I think parents would get that. But this guddle? Nope.

    I don't know what's more frustrating, the seemingly deliberate obduracy or that groups are being put in a quite difficult position in terms of good relations with the communities they operate in.

    It's just really frustrating.

    Looking in from the outside it smells of despair from the TSA.

    They clearly have financial issues and their main source of income is likely to be slashed for 2021 due to circumstances outside their, or your control. That is not disputable, that much is clear.

    Now, if I were running a business, I would have to look at how I could cut my cloth to suit - right about now, I accept that in many cases this would be well nigh impossible. However, TSA is NOT a business, it is a charity and it has options to cut its costs. It could easily cut back on HQ support, since much of the support will not actually be needed. It could cut back on insurance cover - maybe it has already done so, but if out of 10,000 groups and possibly 30,000 sections ( Ianw will correct the figures if he has a mind to) - if less than a quarter of these have been operational, then surely the risk has been reduced hugely, so the premium paid could also be reduced? Or, are Unity saying that those who have continued to operate during the pandemic are creating a higher than normal risk, so the premiums have to stay as they are?

    There could have been/ should have been, a reality check on the funds lost on IT projects.

    There could/ should be a recognition that there is not a need for constant change, stop moving the goalposts, because every time they get moved there is an additional cost.

    However, TSA is where it is, and it is going to have to make changes to meet its financial obligations. That cannot be increasing AMS, it has to be from new funding and from management of its costs.

    I was listening to Theo Pahpitis on the news this morning - he commented that there were retail giants who had failed to act to changes in the market, failed to address the real issues. In short, they changed the window display and carried on as normal - and now they are in trouble (I paraphrase). TSA is in exactly that position now - and from what I hear Woodcraft Folk hit that roadblock a couple of years back when central funding was stopped.

    I hope that TSA wakes up and realises that seeking AMS at this time is not the answer. It has to make real changes to its "business model", or it will fold.
    Ewan Scott

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    GSL & ESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    To be fair they have announced staffing reductions off a level that will be painful and reduce costs significantly not just a fig leaf number.

    Peter Andrews ESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.org.uk

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    Quote Originally Posted by shiftypete View Post
    To be fair they have announced staffing reductions off a level that will be painful and reduce costs significantly not just a fig leaf number.
    Yup.

    I have no idea how or what else they might do to get through this. And the whole I-told-you-so thing with staffing and increased management blah blah blah... I don't have much time for that.

    It may well be that this won't be fixed. Sometimes there are no answers.

    I agree with Ewan, I also think TSA has become desperate. I think there is a sense of panic in their emails around AMS - mostly with a certain cognitive dissonance around expecting parents or groups to pay for something they've not been using, doing, or taking advantage of.

    I think TSA was already over-extended before Covid took hold. As a member of the rank and file, I just feel rubbished - I'd even go as far to say - maligned. Folks at our AGM were talking about not wanting TSA to go under, (so were keen to pay subs). I'm afraid to say, I just don't care any more, I just want my group to survive.

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