Chief Commissioner's Blog | The importance of good leaders

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Over the weekend, I joined County development days in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.

We discussed our plans to ensure Scouting for All and the operational plans that lie behind the bold objectives we have. I answered a range of questions which were, not surprisingly perhaps, dominated by Project Compass and the recently announced programme refresh.

Finding the right balance

I have to confess to having been surprised by a few comments complaining about the ‘surprise’ that we will be refreshing the programme in the new year. This is something that we have been developing for four years, have consulted 12,000 people about and specifically highlighted in an email of 12 April when we announced the new activity badges.

Clearly we still have a long way to go but it is a little frustrating when on the one hand we get told that that we circulate too much information, that people find it difficult to keep up, and then on the other we are challenged for not having provided enough. Oh hum!

Studying a successful group

In Leicestershire, I heard a presentation from David Sawford, Group Scout Leader of the 1st Bowden. He shared their story of having taken the Group from less than 40 members to a current 186! Particularly of interest is the fact that the Group has three Scout Troops, two Cub Pack and two Beaver Colonies, very much reversing the trend we see elsewhere.  

David explained that there was very little magical, in his words, about the Group’s success. He said that it was entirely built around the leaders in the Group – recognising the importance of the team and social interaction, publicising their activities and events and very much making parents feel part of the Group.

Some of the more interesting elements included the fact that leaders are not expected to pay the membership fees for their children participating in the Group. It was also interesting that they described their meeting facilities as very small but that this simply meant that they needed to work around them in providing exciting programmes for their young people.  

Right people

That was further evidence for me of the importance of having the right people in key roles, notably Group Scout Leaders and District Commissioners. This is to ensure that we are creating an inspiring atmosphere and the right support for Section and Unit Leaders – it was great to see a practical example of this in action.

Elsewhere during my busy week we have been seeing potential Chairs of our Board of Trustees following a search for Alan’s successor to begin in September 2015. As you might imagine, the week also involved many discussions and correspondence relating to our current projects.



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