The District Secretary is a key role which provides support to the non-uniformed and executive side of Scouting in the District. They support the Chair of the Executive Committee to ensure the smooth functioning and sound administration of the Scout Group or District in accordance with the Policy, Organisation and Rules of The Scouts. The District Secretary is pivotal to making Scouts happen! And we’d like to introduce you to Katie who is our very own District Secretary at Edinburgh North East.
In our ‘Meet the Volunteer’ series we like to showcase a range of volunteer roles from across our Region to give you a flavour of our Scouting family. We are pleased to share Katie’s story. Whether you want to work with young people directly or help behind the scenes, there’s something for everyone at Scouts.
My role in Scouting
As District Secretary I support the District Chair and Executive Committee by attending our regular meetings, writing up meeting minutes and taking part in the decisions made by the Executive. I enjoy meeting with other adult volunteers and getting an overview of what’s going on for us as a District. It’s great to be involved in the issues and actions we can take as an Executive to make a real impact for how the District is run to support both our young people and our adult volunteers.
What is it like being a District Secretary?
We work together as a real team to deliver on projects that will have an impact for all our adult volunteers and young people. A recent example was to decide how we should spend a legacy we kindly received for the benefit of the whole District. It was interesting to hear everyone’s ideas and work through their suggestions to land on a solution that would work for everyone.
What do you like about your Scouting role?
I particularly enjoy being involved in coordinating our Census response. Each year as District Secretary I bring together the information from each Group regarding how many young people we have in each section; the awards they’ve gained during the year and an anonymised overview of ages, gender, nationality, disability etc so we can shape Scouting better to be inclusive for everyone. It’s fascinating to see how the picture changes year on year and provides us with great data as a District about how we can better serve the community to provide Scouting for all.
Has being a Scout volunteer helped you?
Coordinating the Census also helped me in my working life as I had to get a project plan organised for myself to coordinate all the responses; learn about data protection; and navigate various spreadsheets and the online system. All great skills to develop!
Why did you start volunteering with Scouts?
I started volunteering with Scouts over 10 years ago now. At that time of my life, I had a very busy and unpredictable job which involved a lot of travel. I had just moved back to Edinburgh and I was looking for a volunteering role where I could make an impact in my community, but one where I did not have to make a regular weekly commitment.
I was also interested in volunteering with Scouting in particular. Having started out in Guides I moved to become a Venture Scout and had some amazing adventures as a young person myself: completing my Explorer Belt in France; gaining volunteering and hiking experience for my Queen’s Scout, and being fortunate enough to gain a place in a Scottish Scouting Expedition to The Gambia – my first ever trip outside of Europe. I’d had such a valuable and enriching time in Scouting as a young person I wanted to do something that would enable me to give back.
My time in Scouting
My aunt introduced me to her minister, who at that time was the District Appointments Chair. I met her and started out as an Appointments committee member meeting and interviewing new adult volunteers (like me!). When the minister moved to a new area I had settled in; was enjoying the camaraderie of the appointments committee; and decided to take on her role of coordinating the team. At that stage, I was coming along to Executive meetings to make a regular update on our activities and started to get to know the Executive team which led to the opportunity to step up as one of two Deputy District Commissioners. Now I was really getting involved in what was happening!
After some time of enjoying that role things began to be busy again at work, and I spoke to my line manager about other roles where I could still contribute but have less involvement in the day to day activities of the District, which is when I discussed the role of District Secretary.
Would you encourage anyone to volunteer with Scouts?
Volunteering in Scouting and being able to flex my level of commitment as things have changed in my life and work has been fantastic. It’s meant that I’ve been able to contribute according to the free time that I can commit to and have not had to step out of volunteering altogether which might have been the case in another volunteer organisation. I’d recommend volunteering with Scouting to anyone who is unsure about the level of commitment they can make. There are roles to suit everyone and once you are part of this community there are so many chances to learn new skills and meet new people.
Being involved in Scouting has also allowed me to build up a network in Edinburgh. Although my job is based in Edinburgh the colleagues I work with day to day are scattered all over the world. It’s been lovely to connect with people, now friends, in my own community and have a shared interest with my fellow adult volunteers.
I’m glad I made the decision to volunteer with Scouts. I can really see the benefits that the organisation brings to young people and it makes me feel like what I do is making a difference.
There are lots of ways you can get more involved with Scouts as a parent, carer or family member. From helping out occasionally on a family rota or playing a vital role behind the scenes, to stepping up as a leader, our volunteering activities are as varied as you.
We’re talking tidy uppers and tea makers, session planners and Zoom navigators, fundraisers and treasurers, and all round team players to support our young people.
The good news is you shape what you do and the time you have to give. Scouts happens when a lot of us give a little (and no, you don’t have to be a Scout or outdoors expert to volunteer).
Across the Edinburgh North East District, the current vacancies include:
What to expect:
No two weeks are the same, but the impact you make is always great. You can read some role descriptions here to help you decide.
Make a difference, volunteer today
To find out more about helping out, speak to the leader at your local group or use our volunteer enquiry which can be found using the option below. Share your details and a volunteer from your local team will be in touch soon.