Fresh plans for the new Scouting year
With the new Scouting year set to begin, you’re probably already thinking about ideas and plans for your upcoming programme. Here are some resources and planning tips for the new year, as well as info for new Scouting leaders
Programme planning for the new year
The summer break is not only a time for reflection, it’s also a time to look forward – to think about the coming year’s programme and what you would like to see your section achieve. What could you develop to make your upcoming programme the best yet?
Here are some ideas from Beaver Leader Claire Bruce.
The new Scouting year provides a brilliant opportunity to review your programme, finding out what your young people want more (and less) of in the future. Getting feedback from your young people is important and letting them seeing their ideas come to life will make it all the more rewarding. Run a session with your young people to find out what they enjoyed doing the most to help you plan for the future. The YouShape resources and cards are useful to help you run these feedback sessions.
You could also use the quality programme checkers to review how things have been going in the past 12 months. They’ll give you an indication of whether you’re missing anything that could help you to deliver a higher quality programme. Just making some small changes could have a big impact on your programme for the next year.
It’s also important to recognise the things that are going really well. While there is always room for improvement, it’s important as a leadership team to recognise what you have achieved and to celebrate it.
Allow yourself time to plan with your team. Remember to invite peer leaders, Explorer Scout Young Leaders and any occasional helpers along to add extra value. Plan at least a term in detail, but consider putting together a rough outline of the year ahead. There are loads of resources on the members’ site that will help you plan your programme. Planning a term in advance will help you in busier periods later on in the year while also helping you see which badges and awards you have covered. Having a flexible plan will allow for you to develop the programme as you get young people’s ideas and feedback throughout the course of the year.
Make use of the Autumn Term Planner that comes with Scouting magazine. You can plan out your whole term's programme and stick it on a wall in your meeting place so the whole team knows what's coming up each week.
While you are planning, start to think about some of the resources you might need - this will help to avoid those mad dashes to the supermarket on the evening before a meeting! It’s a good idea to have clear time limits for planning meetings, so that everyone attending knows exactly how long the meeting will be and to ensure you don’t get too bogged down in the details or side-tracked. An agenda will help with this.
Once the team have finished writing the programme, challenge them to go away and to have another look at a couple of sessions each. Is there a way they could make these even better?
It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to delegate. Taking everything on yourself doesn’t allow for a sustainable section. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Everyone has different skills, knowledge and experience. Get all your leadership team involved and make it clear what everyone’s responsibilities are. Your District may also have a programme supporter, such as an Assistant District Commissioner, who can help you.
Parents and carers are also a great place to go for support. If you don’t already have a parent rota, consider setting one up. A skills audit is really useful: knowing what skills parents have will enable you to work out which sessions they will add most value to. A parents meeting can also help identify parents and carers who might be good occasional helpers or section assistants. Remember, people like to volunteer in places that feel fun and encouraging.
Partners, such as Pets at Home, and our A Million Hands partners also offer opportunities and support. Go to A Million Hands for more information.
Spend time with the Section Leaders of other sections. Not only will this help smooth the transition up for the young people in your section, but you will likely find you are having similar challenges. You may be able to pool resources or run some Group or District events together to get cheaper rates. This also helps the young people in your section see that they are a part of something bigger.
Set expectations with your section
Use next year’s programme to reset expectations with your section and to continue to embed the values of Scouting. Remember to plan time into your programme for your young people to reflect on their Promise and the values of Scouting. You could consider renewing the Promise as a whole section – invite your young people to suggest a place and choose a date that is meaningful by putting their ideas in a box or voting.
Have a vision and share it
It’s important to think about what you want to achieve in the next year. What do you want the young people in your section to say about Scouting? How would you like your leadership team to feel? Remember, being a volunteer is a wonderful experience; you are actively changing lives by giving fantastic opportunities to young people.
Using the new year as an opportunity to refresh and reinvigorate both your programme and your approach will help you to feel more organised and in control. It will also enable you to deliver a programme that will provide your young people with memories and skills to last a lifetime.
Support for new leaders
For volunteers new to Scouting here’s a list of some useful programme resources for support.
The Scouting Programme provides a structure of badges and awards based on a series of objectives that inspire the activities young people experience at Scouting. Themes include outdoor and adventure, world and skills, and it’s at the core of the movement.
The best place to find information about the Scouting Programme is on the website where you can find everything you need, including updates and resources to help you plan your Group’s programme. There are areas of the website providing specific information on the programme for each of the sections, and links to supporting resources.
The Badges and Awards book can be in the Scout Store and will tell you everything you need to know about the badges and awards available to young people in your section. Remember badges and awards are a way of supporting young people in each section to develop their skills, and are key elements of the Scouting Programme.
Changes are made from time to time in response to feedback from the movement and to make sure the programme remains relevant. Check for any updates.
The Promise is a commitment taken by all members of Scouting who agree to share the values of Scouting and is a fundamental step taken by young people joining the movement. At its core, Scouting is an inclusive movement and the Promise aims to reflect that value by being all-encompassing to all different faiths and beliefs, and nationalities within the UK.
You can find information on the Promise and the different versions available here. To support new young people to choose a version that is most meaningful for them, use the Promise posters, which are available for every section and can be found in the Scout brand centre.
Outdoor skills resources: Being a new leader means you’re about to spend a lot of time supporting your young people to learn and develop skills, and likely to be learning some yourself too. When it comes to practical and outdoor skills, Scout Adventures have lots of useful resources for skills such as fire lighting, planning residentials, and navigation skills. Find the resources here.
Partnership resources and opportunities: You can find great resources and opportunities, through our corporate partnerships here which can support you to deliver the programme.
Keep an eye out for each term's magazine supplement – Make DO Share – for activity ideas and instructions. Here’s the latest.
A-Z of activities: For information, rules and guidance about running adventurous activities, from abseiling to zorbing, check out the A-Z of activities here.
Some of the more adventurous activities in Scouting need to be run by a volunteer with a permit, unless an external provider is delivering them. Find more information about the Adventurous Activity Permit Scheme here. However, here’s a useful list of exciting activities you can do without a permit.
You can also access many adventurous activities at Scout Adventure Centres.
Nights Away resources: Spending nights away from home is at the core of Scouting and an opportunity for every young person to have a memorable experience. You can find information and guidance about Nights Away here or you can buy a copy of the Nights Away resource from Scout Store.
Safe Scouting: Fun, adventure and challenge are cornerstones of Scouting but these are only possible if all activities are conducted in a safe manner. You can find guidance and support in running safe Scouting here.
Accessible Scouting: Scouting develops young people to their full potential and, as leaders, it's important that we plan a programme that is accessible to all.
In supporting the participation of young people with additional needs, it can be beneficial to meet and work closely with parents or carers and meet with the young person to identify individual needs. It’s also important to be positive in your approach, whilst being open and honest about your knowledge and skills. You can find guidance to support you here.
Adult Training Scheme: There are various resources to help learners complete preparation. The Adult Training Scheme includes module 12a, which focuses on delivering a quality programme and is available as an e-learning resource. Programme planning is the focus of module 12b and is mandatory unit for section leaders. You can contact your Training Adviser for information on dates and courses.
Scouting magazine: Keep an eye out for each term’s issue of Scouting magazine where you can find news, features, advice and step-by-step activities to include in your programme. You can read previous issues here.