Can you help our Lead Volunteer complete #OutdoorIn24

Can you help our Lead Volunteer complete #OutdoorIn24

As we get into summer and the weather (hopefully!) improves, many sections are taking the opportunity to spend more time outdoors and perhaps work towards the Outdoor in 24 Challenge. 

Outdoor in 24 is an initiative by the Scouts to encourage young people to spend more time outdoors throughout 2024. Whether it’s for a single meeting, a Night Away event, or taking on the Outdoor in 24 challenge, the goal is to get Scouts outside and trying something new in nature. 

The challenge involves completing a list of 24 exciting outdoor activities throughout the year, all aiming to get Scouts outside and engaged in outdoor activities. The Scouts have suggested a possible list of activities but this can be adapted for different ages, abilities, and locations as well as to incorporate activity ideas that young people might suggest. All those who complete the challenge can earn the Outdoor in 24 badge.

And it isn’t just young people who can take part in the challenge so I am looking for your help so that I can complete the Outdoor in 24 Challenge and earn my own badge. 

I am grateful to Pentland District and 7th Braid Scout Group who have got me off to a good start but if you have an event coming up that will allow me to complete another challenge or you have a suggestion for what I should include in the remaining empty challenge slots I would love to hear from you. You can contact me at martin.elliot@sesscouts.org.uk.

You can see my Outdoor in 24 Challenge list here and I will endeavour to keep it updated as the year progresses. Also look out for details coming soon on how you can join me for a special challenge later in the year!   

If you haven’t yet started your own Outdoor in 24 Challenge it’s not too late to join in. So, whether it’s stargazing, paddle-boarding, or visiting a local farm, embrace the adventure and make the most of nature this year.

You can find ideas as well as support and resources here.

What does a Commissioner Do?

What does a Commissioner Do?

Since I took on the role of Regional Commissioner a year ago, one of the most common questions I get asked by friends both within Scouting and outwith is what does a Regional Commissioner do? Therefore as I head into my second year as RC I have decided to use this update to give a bit of insight into what my role and that of our other managers involves. 

Within South East Scotland, Scouting couldn’t happen without our large team of managers. This includes:
  • 7 District Commissioners (DCs) supported by Deputy/Assistant DCs
  • 76 Group Scout Leaders (GSLs) with some supported by Deputy/Assistant GSLs
  • 11 Active Support Unit (ASU) Managers
All the people who take on these roles, including mine, are volunteers who support those volunteers providing opportunities for our young people whether that be advice and information, practical support such as leader recruitment or recognising the good work that the volunteers are doing. The manager role can be a challenging one but also very rewarding. So what activities can these roles involve?

An Important Link

As Regional Commissioner, I am a member of the Scottish Leadership team, led by Andrew Sharkey, Chief Commissioner of Scotland. Similarly, all DCs are part of my Regional Leadership team and GSLs are part of District teams. These roles are therefore important links between the different teams that support Scouting in Scotland.

In November I was able to join with my fellow RCs from across Scotland along with Sharkey and some of his team to look at how Scouting in Scotland is recovering from COVID and some of the exciting opportunities ahead such as Squirrels and improving the experience for our volunteers. We were fortunate to be joined by Carl Hankinson the UK Chief Commissioner so the meeting also allowed me to ensure that the Region’s voice is heard as key decisions are made about the future of Scouting in Scotland but also more widely across the UK. Similarly, I meet regularly with the DC’s both as a group and individually to ensure that key information is passed on but also to understand any particular challenges or successes that they have within their Districts. The DCs in turn regularly meet with their GSL team. 

RCs, DCs and GSLs are all members of their respective Regional/District/Group Executive Committees so ensure that the voice of those who provide Scouting activities are heard by their trustees.

Getting Out and About

I believe one of the most important parts of my role is getting out and meeting members across the Region to hear what they are enjoying about their Scouting experience and what we as a Region can do to help make it better

As restrictions eased I enjoyed the opportunities that I had to get out and meet young people and adult volunteers either in person or virtually which I look forward to continuing in 2022. I have managed to attend events in all Districts during my time as RC. It also provides me with an opportunity to thank volunteers in person for the continuing work that they do to support Scouting in South East Scotland. 

Some events that I attended recently include the investitures of the first Squirrels in the Region, the selection event for the World Scout Jamboree participants and visiting the Bonaly ASU during one of their regular maintenance days at the Centre. 

I, like many other managers across the Region, also represent the Region at external events such as Remembrance Day where I was invited to join political and organisational leaders in laying a wreath at Edinburgh’s Stone of Remembrance on behalf of the Region.

Setting the Strategy

Another big part of all managers’ roles is setting the strategy for the Group/District/Region going forward. This is particularly challenging but important at the moment as Scouting for all of us has changed over the past 2 years and existing plans have to be redeveloped to reflect the position we are in now. For all of us the priority remains supporting Groups and Sections to recover and rebuild but we also need to keep a firm eye on the future and how we can continue to make Scouting available to more young people in South East Scotland. 

This gives just a flavour of the large amount of work being done by our managers and doesn’t touch on the work involved in ensuring that the members within their area of responsibility follow the policies and rules of The Scouts as well as managing complaints and providing line management to those within their teams. 

In addition many of our managers hold additional roles. In my case I am also a Regional and Scottish trainer and other managers also hold section leader, advisor or trustee roles to name just a few. 

Supporting our Managers

Given the importance of the manager roles, we need to make sure that those who volunteer for these roles are well supported which is why I am particularly pleased that Mike Treanor in his role as Deputy RC has agreed to review the support that we provide to managers with a particular focus on GSLs and look at how this can be improved in future. We are also working to look at what additional training we can provide to support managers. One example of how we are doing this is successfully applying for funding from the Scouts Scotland Development Fund to allow us to provide mental health training for managers to help them best support their teams. We will be looking at what further opportunities like this, outside of the mandatory training, we can provide to support volunteers.

 

Finally we also need to ensure that we are supporting those who may take on manager roles in the future. How we prepare and train these future managers is an important area and one that Mike and I are looking at as we set the priorities for the Regional Strategy.

Hopefully this has given you a window into my world as your Regional Commissioner as well as highlighting the huge amount of work that our managers do to support Scouting in South East Scotland, often in the background, and why these roles are so important to allow us to continue to provide #SkillsForLife to as many young people as possible. 

If you have any questions or are interested in finding out more about manager positions in Scouting in South East Scotland Region please do not hesitate to e-mail me.

Best wishes,

Martin

Martin Elliot
Regional Commissioner
E-mail: rc@sesscouts.org.uk 

 

 

Scouting For & Shaped by Young People – Regional Commissioner’s Update

Scouting For & Shaped by Young People – Regional Commissioner’s Update

This term it has been great to be able to get out and join groups and districts across the Region as they run events, camps and adventurous activities and to see young people gaining #SkillsForLife and most importantly having fun!

Thank you to all of the adult volunteers who have invited me to events and I look forward to continuing to get out and about more now that we can.


I have also enjoyed getting to attend a number of Annual General Meetings (AGMs) recently, seeing the great ways that volunteers across South East Scotland have kept on Scouting in the challenging times that we are going through and to get the chance to thank them, either in person or virtually, for all that they do. 

We recently held our Regional AGM which highlighted some of our successes over the year and if you haven’t already, I would encourage you to watch our 2020-21 Highlights video and to read our Regional Annual Report 2020-21.

Youth Shaped Scouting

In my report to the AGM I spoke about some of the areas that I will be working with the Regional Leadership Team and Regional Executive Committee on as we take forward our Regional Strategy. One of the areas that I spoke about was Youth Involvement. We already have good examples across the Region of how young people shape their Scouting experience but there are always ways that we can increase engagement. 

This month saw Scouting release its new YouShape award, which is one way that we are working to make it easier to have a programme that is youth shaped whilst providing another way for young people from all sections to have an opportunity to develop important skills that will help them in their future life. Looking at how we ensure that young people have opportunities to shape their Scouting experience is an important part of the UK Scouts and Scouts Scotland Skills For Life Strategies and is one of my priorities as we continue to look at taking the Region forward. We have already taken steps to do this with involving young people in our recruitment processes and in the selection process for the World Scout Jamboree being just two examples but we recognise that there is still more to be done.

To help us to develop our youth involvement I am looking for a small number of volunteers – young and not so young – to join a short term working group to focus on this subject. If you are interested in this please e-mail me at rc@sesscouts.org.uk.

One way that our young people’s voices can be heard is through Scout Scotland’s elected Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) who represent the views of our youth members at the Scottish Youth Parliament. I am extremely proud that all three candidates for the MSYP elections are South East Scotland Scouts members. I would like to offer huge congratulations to Avery, Niamh and Ewan for this achievement and thank them for being prepared to represent members of Scouting across Scotland in this important role. I wish all three the best of luck for the campaign and would encourage young people and adult volunteers to participate in the upcoming hustings. Find out more about the candidates and sign up for the hustings here.

We have also seen great youth involvement in our top awards with more than 250 young people gaining Gold, Silver and Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Awards during the recent expeditions run by the SEEE team – in the words of one participant said it was “Great to look back and see what you have accomplished”. I would also like to congratulate Edward Maxfield on being the second young person in South East Scotland Region to achieve the Scout of the World Award – a great example of Youth Involvement in action!

25th World Scout Jamboree

One of the examples I gave earlier was the upcoming World Scout Jamboree. In Summer 2023, more than 40,000 Scouts from all over the world will gather in Korea. 

The Unit Leadership Team for Unit 8 (made up of South East Scotland Region and GirlGuiding) has now been appointed and I was pleased to meet with Unit Leader Steven Maclennan and Regional Adviser (International) Simon Innes to begin looking at how we best support the unit contingent. 

We were all in agreement that it was important that we ensure that young people who are going to get the most from attending are able to participate regardless of background or circumstances and Simon and I will be working with the Regional Executive Committee to look at how we can remove any barriers to participation. 

If you know of young people who may be interested in being part of our contingent please encourage them to attend one of the unit’s upcoming roadshow webinars to find out more about the Jamboree and how they can become part of the unit. They can sign up for these here 

Finally 

As we look to the future I look forward to seeing our newest section give more young people the opportunity to get involved. Good luck to the 25th Braid and the 21st Craigalmond groups as they start to establish the first Squirrel dreys in the Region. 

I finished our Regional AGM by recognising that while it has been a very challenging year we should all be very proud of what has been achieved in South East Scotland over the last year and as we look forward to the possibilities that the future offers us I shared these words from Bear Grylls. Thank you all for everything that you have done for Scouting in the Region and I am very excited for what the future holds for us.

Best wishes,

Martin

Martin Elliot
Regional Commissioner
rc@sesscouts.org.uk 

Adults can develop #SkillsForLife Too! 

Adults can develop #SkillsForLife Too! 

When UK Scouts launched their new strategy in 2018 they decided to call it Skills for Life emphasising the Scouts’ desire to ensure that as many young people as possible have opportunities to develop skills which will help them to enjoy the best possible future. 

But it isn’t just our young people who can develop Skills for Life through involvement with Scouting. Scouting is also dedicated to supporting our adult volunteers to continue to develop their skills, both to ensure the best possible experience for our young people but also to provide opportunities for our adult volunteers.

That is why we have the Scouts’ Adult Training Scheme, which is made up of mandatory, role specific and ongoing learning and builds on your existing skills and knowledge. This means that the training each volunteer completes is tailored to your specific requirements, with the development of a Personal Learning Plan crucial to identify what learning is required and what existing experience can be used to validate required modules.

This applies to me too as I work towards my Regional Commissioner wood badge and, like many of you, I recently met with my Training Adviser to put together my Personal Learning Plan which included validating some of my training requirements based on prior experience but also identifying learning opportunities which would be beneficial to me in my new role. As a result I now have a plan on how I can work towards completing my wood badge.

I know that there is concern amongst many volunteers about the upcoming transition date of 30 September 2021 by which all adult volunteers who have been in role for 3 years or more are required to have completed their wood badge training so I want to take this opportunity to reiterate the message that Mary Dick, Assistant RC (Adult Training) made in her June update that the Regional priority will be on supporting those who still have to complete their wood badge training rather than sanctions. As part of this we will be continuing to run modules over the summer months so keep an eye on the Regional training calendar and social media for upcoming opportunities.

It is important to note that we there have been a number of important achievements already this year:

  • compliance for Safety and Safeguarding mandatory ongoing training now at 97% from 91% at the start of the year – really close to hitting the national target of 98%
  • 255 leaders from across the Region completing the new module 10A First Response Online Theory module
  • most wood badge modules available virtually with many running at full capacity with waiting lists
  • additional workshops provided to focus on:
    • risk assessments
    • premises safety
    • supporting adult training
    • training advisers

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in the Region’s training provision, in particular Mary, as ARC, and Diane Winnard who did so much work supporting the new First Aid training as well as the Regional Trainers who have put a lot of work into providing engaging training opportunities for all volunteers.

We are not resting on our laurels though and Mary and I are looking at how we can continue to improve the training provision within the Region and expand the non-wood badge training provided e.g. Mental Health training so keep an eye on Regional communications in the coming months for updates. We also always welcome feedback on the Region’s training provision so please feel free to contact either Mary or me.

Finally

Whilst we are gradually seeing Scouting within the Region returning to normal this still doesn’t feel like a normal end of term. However, I hope that all of you are able to take some time over the coming months to rest and recharge batteries. The work that you have done to support Scouting within the Region over the past 12 months has been amazing and is hugely appreciated by me and by the young people who have been able to enjoy opportunities for Scouting in challenging times.

I would like to add my personal thanks to two members of the Regional team who are stepping back from their roles at the end of this term. Simon Cocker, is moving to North Yorkshire so will be stepping down as Deputy Regional Commissioner and Mike Treanor is retiring as the Region’s Scouting Support Officer. Both have been key to the Region’s success in recent years and provided important leadership to Scouting in South East Scotland. For me personally, they have both been a huge support as I have taken on the RC role and I know that their influence will continue to be felt by the Region long after they step down.

I will be taking my own advice so there won’t be an update in July but the Regional Communications team will be working hard to keep you up to date on what is happening across the Region so keep an eye on our communication channels.

Best wishes,

Martin

Martin Elliot
Regional Commissioner
Email: rc@sesscouts.org.uk

Scottish Charity Registration: SC010563

New Year Update from our Acting Regional Commissioners

As we start the New Year we wanted to take this opportunity to again thank you for everything that you continue to do for all of our young people and for your communities and also look forward, with hope, to the year ahead.

Currently Scouting across Scotland, including for South East Scotland Scouts, is at Red Readiness level which means online delivery only. We know that programme planning for online delivery is challenging, but there are some excellent resources available to help you here:

The Red Readiness level will be reassessed as soon as the Scottish Government reviews the situation for schools and we will continue to make sure that you are kept up to date with the current status. For those of you who were planning a return to face-to-face Scouting, you can continue to press ahead with getting risk assessments approved for when we revert to amber or yellow, so you will be ready when restrictions are eased. As we have emphasised throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no pressure to do more than you feel able to and please do reach out to your Group Scout Leader, District team or the Regional team if you require any support.

January is Census time and this year is going to be different to normal. Given the different ways that we have had to operate over the past year, it is important that we understand who is still a member, whether they are currently active or are likely to return. One thing that isn’t different is the importance that all Groups and Districts recognise the need for promptly entering all required Census data and we are grateful for your continued support with this task.

Whilst 2020 was a very challenging year, there were still many highlights. One of them was the innovative new ways people found to continue Scouting, in particular the Virtual Camps run by both the Region and by individual Districts and Groups. It was great to see so many of our young people (and adult volunteers) taking part, undertaking the various challenges and sharing their experiences and photos on social media.  Given the positive feedback, we are planning another SES Virtual Camp to coincide with the Easter Weekend – look out for more details soon.

It’s great to see lots of initiatives being planned for later in the year when hopefully we are back to being able to meet face to face. Examples of this are:

  • 149 Explorers planning their Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions,
  • Scouting Top Awards being signed up for
  • Bonaly Scout Centre open for bookings.

Once again, we want to thank all of you who do so much, week in and week out, to support our young people and make South East Scotland Scouts what it is – a place where we are proud to say we provide young people at all levels with fun, adventure and skills for life.

We look forward to a much happier 2021.

Simon Cocker and Martin Elliot, Acting Regional Commissioners
Email:
rc@sesscouts.org.uk

Scottish Charity Registration: SC010563

Getting Everyone Back Together Safely in South East Scotland

Earlier this week, Scouts Scotland issued updated guidance to all members in response to the five COVID protection levels which have been brought in by the Scottish Government. We are aware that this updated guidance has led to some discussion about how this will affect us locally, particularly as parts of the Region are in different tiers.

Therefore, we thought it important to provide an update to all our members on what this means for Scouting in South East Scotland.

Within South East Scotland the majority of our districts are current under Tier 3 regulations with one, Borders, under Tier 2 – although as with everything at the moment, these are subject to continual review and may change. If you are not sure what tier you are currently in, you can use the Scottish Government’s postcode checker
 
It is important to note that as none of the Region is within Tier 4, all Districts within South East Scotland remain at Yellow readiness level at the current time and thus face to face Scouting, both indoors and outdoors, can be undertaken subject to an appropriate risk assessment being approved. However, the latest guidance does require some additional areas to be considered. 

As we have said throughout the pandemic, we want to be clear that there is no pressure to return to face to face Scouting until you want to. You know your young people, your adult volunteers and the other aspects that they have to consider and you know the limitations of your meeting place so we recognise that the decision on whether or not to meet face to face has to be made at the local level  (usually Group/Unit) and reflect what is best for member’s health and wellbeing. 

Scouting in all Tiers

For those groups which are meeting indoors, the guidance has been updated to specify that face coverings should be worn by people of all ages where they are moving about in corridors, confined communal areas (including toilets), and other areas of buildings where physical distancing is particularly difficult to maintain. Whilst they are not required in meeting spaces, they should be worn in any situation, indoors or outdoors, where social distancing of 2m cannot be maintained between adults, adults and all young people and between young people aged 12+.

Scouting in Tier 3

For those groups within Tier 3 who are meeting face to face, a fully blended model should be in place combining face to face and virtual meetings and the programme being run should be reviewed in detail to ensure that this is the case. To help us to Keep on Scouting we have pulled together some programme ideas which can be run virtually or socially distanced.

Whilst the maximum numbers remain at 30 (including young people and adults) you should consider what numbers are most appropriate for a section meeting and also consider reducing the length of meetings.

Travelling Between Tiers

 

We have had a few questions about adult volunteers moving between tiers for the purposes of delivering Scouting. Under the latest YouthLink Scotland guidance, as an essential part of the education system in Scotland, travel to and from Scouting youthwork activity is permitted to take place, even if it involves moving between local authority areas and tiers.

However, groups and sections are asked to limit travel for meetings and activities which involves moving between areas that have different protection levels. So, for example, we would ask that sections in the Borders do not travel to Bonaly Scout Centre for a meeting as this currently involves moving from Tier 2 to Tier 3.

Risk Assessments

The UK Framework for face to face activities remains unchanged and should continue to be followed for groups and sections looking to meet face to face. In particular, risk assessments should continue to be completed and submitted for approval to the relevant commissioner.

It is also important to remember that existing Risk Assessments should be regularly reviewed to ensure that they meet the current situation. They do not need to be resubmitted unless significant changes are made.

Further guidance on completing risk assessments including a model risk assessment can be found on the Getting Everyone Back Together Safely page of the Region’s website and Mike Treanor, our Scouting Support Officer, is also happy to help any members looking for guidance or support with the risk assessment process. Our upcoming November Newsletter will also have an article on Risk Assessments which covers the requirements in more detail.

We expect there to be further updates next week and ongoing as the situation develops so please look out for these from Scouts Scotland and SES Region.

Finally, in the current challenging times, we both hope that you and your families remain safe and want to take this opportunity to thank you all for everything that you have done and continue to do for Scouting in South East Scotland.

Simon Cocker and Martin Elliot, Acting Regional Commissioners
Email: rc@sesscouts.org.uk