Young leader interview
Lizzie Harvey is the Project Lead for the Explorer Scout Young Leaders’ (ESYLs) Scheme Project Team. We spoke to her about the project, what it involves, and the updates we can look forward to seeing in the new and improved ESYL Logbook and Guidebook, launched on 28th May.
Where did your journey start?
I saw the role advertised on the online volunteer vacancies page. I applied and was interviewed for the role back in May 2017. Once appointed, the whole team met up pretty sharpish. We were all super keen to get started.
The team was made up of different members from across the country, all volunteering in a variety of different roles. Simon is an Explorer Scout Leader Young Leader (ESLYL) from Derby, Steven is an Explorer Leader who recently completed the Scheme in Worthing, Dano is a Scout Leader and ESLYL from Hertfordshire, James is a UK Assistant Youth Commissioner, Cub Leader and Scout Leader from London, Claire is a Scout Programme Officer at Gilwell Park and a Beaver Scout Leader, and I’m the Project Lead, an ACC Explorer Scout and an Explorer Scout Leader Young Leaders from Bristol.
Where did the project team begin?
There’s no point trying to fix something that isn’t broken, so we started by looking at member feedback. An increasing amount of questions had been coming through to Information Centre and the programme team feedback on the Scheme when they were out and about. We put out an open call for comments in Scouting Plus, inviting adult members in all roles to contribute, and spoke to young people, too. We also made sure we looked through recent archives to find any relevant ESYL-related queries logged there. No stone was left unturned and the team spent our very first weekend buried under it all – such a response really validated our purpose.
What was the aim of the project?
Based on communication from members, we quickly discerned that the Scheme itself works well and that nothing fundamentally needed changing. However, the resources and support provided seemed to be performing less effectively, with lots of information spread across many different platforms. As a team, we made it our goal to tie up all loose ends, making the current resources more user-friendly.
Who are these resources for?
Anyone with a touch point with ESYLs will benefit from the resources. We created a new logbook, for example, based on some fantastic examples created locally across the UK, and building upon the most important information in the current logbook. This will help ESYLs collate their experience and journey. It will also be a great prompt for section leaders if needed and provide a space where young people can give evidence of achievement to use in any interviews or applications they would like to pursue. It replaces the Young Leader ‘placement agreement’, which was something that was highlighted as being ‘too formal’, both by the team and by the movement as a whole. The opening pages of the old logbook were replaced with a friendlier checklist of information.
Secondly, there is a new accompanying guidebook for ESLYLs, ESLs and District Explorer Scout Commissioners who regularly work with ESYLs (eg District Commissioners, Group Scout Leaders, Section Leaders, District Executives). This book has been created so that adult volunteers managing ESYLs locally can copy pages from within and to pass them on to the appropriate adult volunteers as needed, removing single pages if elements like POR change over time. This ensures everyone remains in the loop, and keeps costs low.
You said there were no changes to the Scheme, but there’s a new module?
Sort of! The new module - module J - is actually an expansion of module I. Module I previously covered communication skills and Youth Shaped Scouting. The growing importance of these subjects led us to separate them out, ensuring ESYLs gain both skills and have the opportunity to explore them in more depth. Module I now focuses on Youth Shaped Scouting and bringing young people’s ideas to life, whereas module J focuses on communication skills like how to use gestures, tone and body language to communicate with multiple audiences, and talk about the skills for life gained through Scouting to various audiences, inside and outside of the movement. This module gives young people the opportunity to think about what’s ‘next’ and reflect on their learning. As with all modules, the guidebook provides a series of ‘ready made’ sessions. These sessions can be used as they are, or as ideas to help ensure you are up to date with the changes in the scheme. As, always there is an appropriate transition period to move to the updated scheme.
What do people think?
We wanted to make sure we were as feedback-driven as possible. We took the project to Gilwell Reunion to soundboard. We also tested new module activities with Units across the country and put out an open invitation to adults and young people involved in the Scheme, to join us for a day of testing and feedback. The event took place in Manchester back in February, and 40 young people and 20 adult volunteers from across the UK gave up their Saturday to share their thoughts. We had an incredibly enjoyable day with some brilliant adults and young people in attendance, and we were so pleased that the majority of content was enthusiastically supported. Most importantly, we took onboard clear feedback from the event and adopted everybody’s ideas into the final product.
We are very excited to share these new resources with you. We hope they make adult volunteer roles easier to manage, enhancing and simplifying the ESYL journey for all involved.
The ESYL Logbook (£2) and Guidebook (£8) are available from Scout Store from 28 May 2018.