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  • UK Scouting?

    How does Scouting in the land of its birth compare to BSA Scouting, especially as regards youth leadership? Australia seems to be where we are, at least in theory. UK?

    I came across a "Group Chairman," and from her (Yes "Chairman") I know they have "groups" with "sections" equivalent to our packs, troops and
    [sometimes] Explorers. Members of these sections are "Beavers," "Cubs," "Scouts," and "Explorers." The Scout Section is also, thanks be to Baden-Powell, called a "Troop." Beavers are "Colonies" and Cubs are "Packs." And Explorers are "Units" (So why call them "sections" too?).

    As she is on what amounts to the pack/troop/crew "committee" side of things ("Group Scout Council"), she does not know tons about such issues as who plans and leads the program as between the Scout Leader (who reports to the Group Scout Leader) and the patrol leaders. She thinks the Scout section has a "senior Patrol leader," at least sometimes.

    I find: "A Scout called a Patrol Leader leads the Patrol. The Patrol Leaders work with the Leadership Team in setting the programme and in decisions affecting the Troop." But what does this really mean? "Work with"?

    I think I really need to reach a Group Scout Leader or Scout Leader Have not found a link to one yet.

    Is their literature on line? If so, where? I only find summary-level stuff.

  • #2
    Hopefully I can help you there....

    "Sections" - this is effectively a collective noun for the different age ranges. So a group will consist of a Beaver colony, Cub Pack and Scout Troop. The leaders in charge of those 3 are refered to as the "section leaders" with a Group Scout Leader (GSL) in over all charge. Explorers are controlled at District Level rather than group. As an example my district is made up of 21 groups plus 6 Explorer Scout Units.

    In terms of operating the Scout Troop it is worth remembering that our age range is 10-14, it does mean that what you can ask of the PLs is limited compared to what they are asked to do in BSA.

    Typically a troop will have a PLs council a couple of times a term where the PLs will plan the term. It will vary from group to group as to how much they actually do. I will typically listen to what they want to do, give some advice as to what is possible and what is not easily feasible. The adult leaders then take much more of an active role in making the programe than they would in BSA. However on an actual troop night the PLs would be expected to lead their patrols. A good example is towards the end of last term we had a First Aid exercise night. There were 5 bases, each run by a leader with some explorer scouts (14-18 year olds) brought in as actors to play the casualties. In each scenario the Patrol Leader was expected to instruct their patrol in what to do. At the end it was the adult leader who gave the debrief on what went right and what went wrong. That is all farely standard.

    On a troop camp the Patrols will typically camp together and cook together. In some situations you may find that they centrally cater in which case the Patrols will be on a rota basis. On cooks breakfast, another cooks lunch etc. Again a PL will be in charge.

    In explorers it varies as to whether the patrol system is used, to be honest its normally in the minority of cases.

    One thing explorers can do is be part of the Young Leader scheme whereby they are effectively apprentice leaders with beavers, cubs or scouts. I have 3 YLs with my scouts and 3 of the adult leaders with the troop came through the YL system. So it works!

    That is a very brief summary. Alas (actually huzzah!) I am off out for dinner with the lovely Mrs CambridgeSkip in a few mins so must go and shower and change, I will be back on this thread tomorrow sometime and will happily add more detail and answer questions.


    • #3
      So I'm back.....

      A bit of clarity about the committee and scout council.

      The committee has oversight of the group. As a minimum it consists of a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. Their most important roles are fund raising, recruitment of new adult leaders, looking after the group's building if they have one and negotiating terms with whoever they rent one. Typically they have little to do with the actual week to week programme so it is no real surprise that the chair you encountered didn't know much about how the troop operates.

      Also sitting on the committee is the Group Scout Leader and, if they wish, the Beaver, Cub and Scout section leaders.

      The elected members (so everyone other than the GSL and section leaders) are elected by the group scout council which is the electoral body of the group. This consists of all the adult leaders, parents of all beavers, cubs and scouts plus the district commissioner and district chairman plus the patrol leaders of the scout troop.

      Chapter and verse here

      Worth remembering that in the vast majority of cases we have no equivalent of a chartering organisation. A handful of groups are "closed" groups and are typically operated by private schools. They are increasingly rare. The vast majority are open or sponsored groups. In both cases the group is a charity in itself and is entirely self governing. A sponsored group is most commonly sponsored by a church or other place of worship but the amount of say the sponsoring authority has is relatively limited. Typically the relationship works by the group uses a church hall for its HQ and the group is expected to take part in church parade once a quarter and the church has a rep on the group committee.

      Back to youth leadership;

      Senior Patrol Leader - to be honest in most cases this tends to be more of an honorary position for a PL that has shown particularly strong leadership and in some cases will also remain PL of a particular patrol.

      Camps - due to the younger age of scout section it is relatively unusual for scouts to camp without adults. Many troops don't do this at all. My troop does but we do insist that they use scout or Girl Guide campsites which have staff on site over night.

      What more do you need to know?


      • #4
        Patrol Leaders are appointed by the Group Scout Leader and/or Scout Leader?


        • #5
          PLs are typically appointed by the SL. Personally I will ask for outgoing PLs (ie those about to move to explorers) to give me their recommendations as to who should succeed them and generally will accept that recommendation but reserve the right to over rule them and indeed have done in the past.

          APLs vary from group to group. I ask PLs for their recommendations. Again I mostly accept it. In others PLs are given complete authority to appoint their own. In others the SL does it. It's quite variable.

          In some groups the GSL may be consulted by the SL but in mine he remains quite hands off.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cambridgeskip View Post
            ... What more do you need to know? ...
            Let's be honest, few of us need to know any of this. But since your typing ...

            Are positions of responsibility, like PL, required for advancement (i.e. for the chief scout's award)?


            • #7
              Originally posted by qwazse View Post

              Let's be honest, few of us need to know any of this. But since your typing ...

              Are positions of responsibility, like PL, required for advancement (i.e. for the chief scout's award)?
              Not as such, and worth bearing in mind that we don't have advancement as you know it.

              In the Beaver, Cub and Scout sections we have Challenge badges and a certain number need to be completed to gain the Chief Scouts Bronze in Beavers, Silver in Cubs and Gold in Scouts. For Scouts you need to do 8 of the 9 challenge badges. Requirements can be found here


              None of them have a position of responsibility as a specific requirement, but in several cases there are requirements where you would expect them to be a PL or APL to do it. In particular some of the options for the Promise Challenge such as reviewing an activity and suggesting how to do it better, or explaining the Promise and Law to a new scout would typically be done by PLs. In Outdoor Plus they have to lead pioneering, lead camp set up, plan a menu (among other things) again while this could be done by a scout other than a PL or APL it would be unusual.

              In explorers (14 -18) and Network (18-25) there are no Challenge badges instead they work towards Chief Scouts Diamond, Chief Scouts Platinum and Queen's Scout.

              Diamond requirements here,140

              QSA here,141

              The requirements are much more about personal development, service etc so wouldn't normally involve having a position of responsibility within the unit itself but may well involve such a position externally.

              Hope that helps!


              • #8
                Anything left of BP's interest in vocational training?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TAHAWK View Post
                  Anything left of BP's interest in vocational training?
                  You are probably the best judge of that! Anythign ;ike that would be included in the requirements for activity badges (what you call merit badges)

                  Requirements for scouts here


                  For explorers here