Making the most of meetings
It was off to Slough in Berkshire for the latest of our regional weekends, starting with the Development Advice and Support (DAS) day on the Saturday and the latest of the DC and GSL conferences on Sunday.
First up was the Development Advice and Support (DAS) day on Saturday. These provide an opportunity for those involved in supporting local Scouting (eg Assistant County Commissioners, Assistant District Commissioners and similar roles) to engage with Headquarters and receive up to date briefings on developments, an opportunity to look at regional growth and development and to share in work that is relevant to local needs.
Each Country or Region has an opportunity to influence the content of the development sessions (last weekend's included discussions on activities, programme resources, future development of the Youth Programme and flexible Scouting).
These are followed by ‘role specific’ discussions for Beavers, Cubs etc, where there is an opportunity for peer support as well as feeding in to HQ, information and ideas from local meetings.
Finding the formula
We have been running days similar to this for over seven years and, to be honest, I am still not sure that we have found the right formula. I suspect that part of the problem is the divergence of objectives from participants themselves (feedback suggests that around half find the days really helpful, whereas the other half don’t find that they have met their expectations).
Ideas for the future include better use of web-based communications (we could broadcast through the web the update on Headquarters' work and allow feedback and Q&A through the internet for example). We could also provide greater support for local forums providing opportunities for input to future development of the programme and other support functions at headquarters.
It would be great to hear your thoughts and feedback in how we can better support delivery of the programme locally and share information and good practice. Interestingly, one of the recently appointed ADCs expressed similar frustrations at getting the most out of their District leader meetings!
The meet goes on
I took the opportunity in the evening to meet with County Commissioners from the South East region as well as several members of British Scouts of Western Europe who had travelled over for the weekend’s meetings. As always, it was great to have an opportunity to listen to what is really happening at a local level, debate ideas and suggestions for what we should or could be doing and to generally have a very enjoyable evening.
If I may be permitted to say so myself, the latest DC and GSL Conference on Sunday seems to have been very successful with excellent feedback from participants on the value of the day. I was particularly pleased to hear from Duncan, a Group Scout Leader form East Sussex at the end of the day about how valuable it had been for him.
I’m sure Duncan won’t mind me sharing the exchange he and I had on Escouts, where he challenged me following comments on my blog about how important it was for GSLs and DCs to join us. Duncan was worried about the time it would take him to travel from the south coast to Slough; but he followed the advice to get together with GSLs from his District and seven of them drove up in a minibus for the day. Not only did they enjoy the conference and workshops themselves but the camaraderie and discussions in the minibus also proved very worthwhile.
Tinkering with speeches
It was back to Gilwell on Sunday evening following a very successful weekend to prepare myself for the latest of our District Commissioner induction days on Monday morning – and in particular to think of something different to say to the DCs that had been with us on the Sunday!