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Thread: Leaders not being interested in Network

  1. #1
    Senior Member dontkillbill's Avatar
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    Leaders not being interested in Network

    Just wondering if anybody has experienced the same as me or not.

    A few months ago myself and a mate met up with the new district network leader, to look to start getting network sorted out in the Great Western District of Glasgow, and we thought a good way of getting started would be to email all network aged leaders in the district, inviting them along to an informal event to start to work out how to take things forward.

    So we emailed out, but got very few responses. A few said they were interested but could not make that night - fair enough.

    Having met one or two other leaders at leader training, I asked them about Network and they just seemed to have no interest, even though they came through explorers etc in the district. Im a bit worried that as a District they seem to not consider Network a proper section, and perhaps young people are either discouraged from joining, or not imformed about it properly and just handed an AA form instead.

    Any ideas as to how I can start to change this?
    ASL 80th (Knightswood) Glasgow
    Scottish Scout Network Council Chairperson
    Midlothian District Executive

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    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    Organise a Network event and send out invitations telling them that its happening.

    I'm a Network-aged leader who isn't involved with Network - partly because I don't have time, partly because I'd rather do section and group stuff, but mainly because I haven't been contacted about it at all (personally, I think it's a little bit of a clique).

    If you organise an event and let everyone know that its happening plenty in advance and then remind them of it shortly before hand. And talk to as many of them as possible personally about it.
    Chris Hawes, District Media Manager, Watford North Scout District and Watford Scouts; Group Treasurer and Webmaster, 9th North Watford Scout Group.
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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    perhaps they want mountain trips, christmas quizzes, camps and adventures... but they have jobs, courses, families and sections and do not want to sit around for months 'getting started...'

    if you build it, they will come... but don't expect them to have your motivation to get it running...

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    Senior Member Kastor's Avatar
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    I think the problem with Network is it doesn't really know what it is. It doesn't have an exclusive niche age that it can call it's own.

    If you are 19-25 there are several "Sections" you can be part of whereas all the other age groups only have one. You can become a Leader, you can join Fellowship, if you are at college/university you can join SSAGO. After these have taken their bites of the cherry there aren't actually many people left to join Network. Yes they can join it as well but how many people have the time for one let alone two?

    I think Network is a left-over from the Venture/Explorer change. "Explorers are 14-18, what are we going to do with the 18+, oh let's have another Section - Network" It wasn't thought through and doesn't work.
    To get more kids we need more adults - are we getting the message yet?

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    Account Closed weefatbob's Avatar
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    I agree with Chris - I have three leaders in my Group who are Network age but they aren't interested in joining a Scout Network - they spend enough time helping with the Troop and they enjoy that.

    However... they probably would join in a monthly munro climb or the occasional planned activities - to join in with Scouters the same age as them.

    But as Chris said - they WILL NOT sit around planning what to do in another section!

    Bob

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    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    Just being over network age myself I'd say that when I was of network age to get me involved there would have needed to be network set up and for me to have the option of attending what events I felt like attending with no pressure of organising things much or of having to attend everything. The obvious issue with this is how it can work if everyone thinks like this as you need a core or regular members to make running any activities at all viable.

    The other issue is that most of the time I have spare to go away I am already going away with my Section so I'd think most Leaders of network age would also have this problem of lack of time available

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

  7. #7
    Senior Member snab's Avatar
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    Difficult one.

    I'm in a good position where most of the leaders I contacted when we first started are now Network members. I would be tempted to forget about them just now, not push the issue and maybe go back to them later when you have an active Network. Its possible they don't fully understand how Network works and how it could benefit them in their leadership role. It is probably the case that lots of people out there don't fully understand how it works.

    It is disheartening when people don't respond to correspondence about events when you are trying hard to get something off the ground or organise something but you need to persevere maybe try more face to face rather than faceless letters and emails. If people can see how enthusiastic you and your fellow members are they may think again.

    If you are trying to build your Network maybe concentrate on current Explorers who are approaching Network age and maybe those who have recently left and haven't taken up a leadership role you may have more luck this way. Get along to the Explorer meetings and promote what Network you do have, what you have done, what you intend to do and how Network could work for them. If you can get to the units then they will be more aware of the options and not just left to either leave or go straight into leadership by continuing their YL roles.

    Oh and why are you not coming to the Hub this weekend? Spaces still available

    @ASLChris

    Maybe you should make the move to find out what is going on rather than waiting for someone to contact you. Perhaps there is a clique, there seems to be cliques everywhere in Scouting but people need to make an effort to get involved and break down the cliques.

    Quote Originally Posted by weefatbob View Post
    I agree with Chris - I have three leaders in my Group who are Network age but they aren't interested in joining a Scout Network - they spend enough time helping with the Troop and they enjoy that.
    Why is that? Do they know how the local Network operates? Are they not interested because no one has bothered to explain it all to them?

    Quote Originally Posted by weefatbob View Post
    However... they probably would join in a monthly munro climb or the occasional planned activities - to join in with Scouters the same age as them.
    It is quite possible the Network do this already, I know our Network meet only twice a month and there is no obligation to go. You only attend a) if what is on interests you and b) if you can afford the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by weefatbob View Post
    But as Chris said - they WILL NOT sit around planning what to do in another section!Bob
    Network is to be organised and run by themselves, we as leaders are only there to offer advice and support and make sure they know the rules. Every Network member should have an input into what they are doing but don't necessarily have to be involved in the running of it. However if they were to be involved then they could be learning about planning and taking what they do at Network and use it to benefit their sections.
    Last edited by David; 22-02-2009 at 11:14 PM. Reason: merge
    Snab

    Scottish Scout Active Support Unit Manager

  8. #8
    Senior Member martin1981's Avatar
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    Network has been around for nearly 10 years now (some counties were trialing from 1999 onwards and there was a 12 month trial in 1997), but its a difficult concept for leaders, commissioners and potential members to get there head around. The issue links closely with our recent discussion about network membership and the QSA/DofE Gold.

    Network can at one extreme be a regular unit meeting in a very similar vain to explorers or ventures, to a flexible programme of activities. Some Networks only offer 3/4 activities per year. Many SSAGO clubs successfully build a programme around the three national rallies and in reality due very little outside of the build up and build down to the event, and the majority of members are active members of the local scout and guide community in other capacities.

    In terms of interest its a difficult one. I have lived in a number of counties since Network started, and when I have approached the local county or district to express an interest in "getting involved" Network has never been mentioned. The only exception was at a fresher fayre in Carlisle.

    We should be signposting the Network (not saying they have to join) to any new member in the right age range, or anytime a prospective leader goes before the appointments advisory committee. The prospective leader or member can make a choice of whether they wish to be involved, but the crucial bit is that they are getting a choice. This is not a quick process and needs to be built up over time, i.e. dont expect people over night.

    The second point is rather strange and against many Scouting value, whats in it for the leader to get involved in Network. Depending on the section they are working with they have access to adventurous activities, and in a large group adult only activities may be offered. The big draw is the Queens Scout Award although I know many districts/counties will be flexible on the Network membership requirement rightly or wrongly. There needs to be an attaction.
    Martin Whelan

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    A sort of collection of random thoughts......

    Is Network perhaps one section too far? If people are already leaders, most of their spare time is taken up with that. If they are 'ex-Scouts' who wish to support Scouting in a practical way, are they not more likely to join the Fellowship? Certainly, in our district, the Fellowship is really strong. They help out at District Events and, this year, they are organising the St George's Day bash (which I did last year and rather dropped them in it for this year!).

    I can see that in a University or College setting, Network could be a really thriving, adventurous group but outside that sort of setting, the Fellowship seeems to have all the ace cards.

    Of course, we could always raise the Explorer age to be from 16-24 to cover Colleges and Universities, scrap Network and raise the Scout leaving age to 16......... (gets on hobby-horse and gallops for cover!!!!!)

  10. #10
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    When I was a college, although I had a warrent, I would probably joined Network as there wasn't a SSAGO club, although I did occasionally go to Fellowship. Once I was working, I didn't often have time to do more than run a section, although it would have been nice to have optional adult activities, maybe over a weekend rather than another evening.
    [all rather based on then, than now - my eldest son is an Explorer!]

  11. #11
    Senior Member snab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dramatist View Post
    A sort of collection of random thoughts......

    Is Network perhaps one section too far? If people are already leaders, most of their spare time is taken up with that.
    I don't think so, but then maybe I'm biased. Look outside scouting, the DoE caters for 14 - 25 so why should we not have a section that covers the 18 - 25 age group.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dramatist View Post
    If they are 'ex-Scouts' who wish to support Scouting in a practical way, are they not more likely to join the Fellowship? Certainly, in our district, the Fellowship is really strong. They help out at District Events and, this year, they are organising the St George's Day bash (which I did last year and rather dropped them in it for this year!).
    Maybe but that depends on whether or not there is a Fellowship to join (equally the same can be said for Network). DO we want to shove 18yo straight out into leadership & fellowship roles? Should we not be letting them develop further by still having the option to be in a training section? If they want to take the leadership route then so be it.
    Snab

    Scottish Scout Active Support Unit Manager

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    IanJames ianjames's Avatar
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    In our district network doesn't exist and yet we have young people who have gone through explorers and then dissapeared into thin air, no one has followed up on them from what I can see. My daughter, a ACSL, network age, at local uni and wants to do her queen scout but without a local network she is going to struggle. Those of network age are the future leaders and yet locally nothing is done to retain them or encourage them unless they are still involved with the group they started off with.
    Having said that our explorers are hit and miss and only if scout leaders encourage young people to go do they stay in the movement, little is done to attract them.
    Ian Turner
    Cub Leader, TA & ADC Cubs
    2nd & 7th Welwyn Garden City Scout Group


    http://www.wgcscouts.co.uk

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    Senior Member RachyClaire's Avatar
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    Probably half-three quarters of my network unit are leaders elsewhere, however the majority of us were Explorers/Ventures and went on to Network at the same time as becoming leaders. We recently held a large recruitment event, we invited all our district ESLs and their 17+ Explorers, all network aged leaders and all GSLs (and asked them to pass details to all their 18-25 leaders/helpers) to give them a better idea of what we do, I think a lot of it is linked to them not really knowing about us/what we do. We had a fantastic response, 30+ people turned up to the event and we now have an attendance of 14-20 (before it was 5!!!). We're very lucky cos our DC is very supportive of network and has a lot of faith in us when others have rubbished us! That said, we've only gained 2 or 3 leaders into network, but its a start. We also go to the local uni freshers fair and recruit there (they dont have a SSAGO group there)



    Rach
    Quest Network
    ESL (YL) Derby North

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    Isn't this the same discussion that's been had about Explorers - if it works in your District/County/Region it's really good - if not, then it's blooming awful.

    From personal experience the problem is getting the thing going - it took me over 18 months to get our Gang Show Fellowship from the idea raised at a meeting to our first investitures (last April), and the year to date has been a real hard slog too.

    However, the benefits of keeping a group of like minded adults together on a semi-formal basis is now reaping rewards, and we have people helping at Group & District events where they wouldn't have before.

    My main beef with network is that (in my opinion) it has all the bad bits of Venture Scouting - leaders supposed to be hands off and the whole section run by the membership. A poor attempt at a progresive badge system. A very blurred line between being a 'member' and being a 'leader'. HOWEVER, I do acknowledge there are some very good Networks out there providing exactly what their membership wants.
    Richard Sams "Doughboy"

  15. #15
    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snab View Post
    @ASLChris

    Maybe you should make the move to find out what is going on rather than waiting for someone to contact you. Perhaps there is a clique, there seems to be cliques everywhere in Scouting but people need to make an effort to get involved and break down the cliques.
    Tried that, hasn't worked.

    Every Network member should have an input into what they are doing but don't necessarily have to be involved in the running of it. However if they were to be involved then they could be learning about planning and taking what they do at Network and use it to benefit their sections.
    This is an ideal - but a Network which is starting up needs to have a core who get the ball rolling. Once things get going, then the impetus can be transferred from a couple of individuals to the whole group - but not until. Otherwise nothing will happen.
    Chris Hawes, District Media Manager, Watford North Scout District and Watford Scouts; Group Treasurer and Webmaster, 9th North Watford Scout Group.
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