Supporting Growth - an update
Many thanks to everybody who has posted their thoughts or sent me an email about last week's blog – please do keep them coming. It's clear that we have an issue generally in the structure of District responsibility for Explorer Scouting, but I do not believe our problems would be solved by changing this and making them a Group responsibility.
The reality is that there is nothing in our current rules which prevents Groups from opening their own Explorer Unit; they simply have to do so under the responsibility of District.
I am aware of a large number of District Explorer Scout provisions that are very much seen as part of the Group (contrary to some of the comments I've seen) and avoid the barriers that some have highlighted about Scouts not feeling that Explorers are part of 'their Group' – dare I suggest this is more an adult mindset?
Great relationships – the key to good linking
It strikes me that the relationship between the Scout Leaders, the Group generally and Explorer Scout leaders is key to giving the young people the impression that they are all a part of the same Group and are not perceived as leaving when moving to a District led Explorer Scout Unit.
While the experience of some with Venture Scout Units in groups may have been good, people do seem to lose sight of the fact that we were losing young people hand over fist when the decision was made to restructure.
No stepping back please
My greatest concern if we were to say that generally Groups could open Explorer Units is that we revert to the situation where some leaders, I'm afraid for their own purposes, would keep 14-year-olds back to help them run the Troop, rather than allowing them to move to a thriving Explorer Scout Unit where the experience for the young person would be and should be so much better.
It would be great to hear from some of the very successful Explorer Scout Units on how they have successfully retained Scouts – I'm sure they will tell us that it's the simple things that count.
And in other news…
Other meetings this week have included some introductions to new staff at Gilwell, a meeting of those involved internationally and a 'Key 3' meeting, and far too much admin. I have to confess to having a Scouting-free weekend ahead of the trip today to Copenhagen for the UK Contingent pre-event and then to Sweden on Thursday for three days at the WSJ before visiting various events across the UK.