Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 375 total)
  • Beaver/Cub/Scout Volunteering
  • bigginge
    Full Member

    LittleGinge has been going along to Beavers for a little while now and seems to be very much enjoying it. Unfortunately his group/colony leader is going to be moving on soon so there is the probable need for some more volunteers to help out and keep things running on a regular basis.

    Am I daft in thinking about signing up to help out with this? Does anyone else here already do this? If so can you give any idea of how much of you time it takes up and how you’ve found it’s been working out for you and your family?

    Poopscoop
    Full Member

    I volunteered for a good few years as a parent helper with cubs/ scouts. It was great but I basically ended up doing *everything* (at Cubs) all the financies, planning camps, all the work to get the badges, you name it. However, its *not* meant to be like that and was due to exceptional circumstances.

    Basically, it was fantastic. My son was with the pack and I have many happy memories of the adventures we and the pack got up to.

    Some of the parents are bloody hard work mind you.😁

    There are some actual Leaders on here I believe, they will clue you up. Covid hit the scouting movement hard and even before that it could be a challenge to get parents to engage and help. You’ll be making a genuinely precious time of life for kids even more special.

    I say go for it.👍

    kimbers
    Full Member

    Well

    I’m a cub leader for the last 2 years (tho I previously was an assistant leader many years ago & had been through cubs, scouts, venture scouts etc)
    Am in it because my district has a 1000 child waiting list & we wanted our kids in, so I have started a new group.

    I’ve just come back from a programme planning night, with the pack we’ve spun off a new one from and that’s really helpful

    We are struggling because the parent who started with me didn’t last long, and I have 20 cubs, 3 of whom have adhd 😱😱😱

    We use this to organise the parent rota. https://volunteersignup.org/. Or I wouldn’t be able to do it

    There’s a few hours of online training and a morning of first aid training to start

    Hours per week is 1.5 for cubs itself plus an hour or so admin, plus ordering stuff we might need for a night
    Online scout manager takes a bit of getting used to but is useful once you get it

    Plus 2 weekends a year on camp

    It’s certainly a commitment and for sure some nights it’s hard to get motivated, buts it’s always fun & rewarding, what I would say is find out if the group has good support from the GSL etc and if there any young leaders /older scouts who want to help out.

    The other leaders in the group are strong moral support and decent people that want to put something back into the community.

    (30 years later I still think St George’s/ remembrance day parade is a ballache!)

    gecko76
    Full Member

    Similar to Kimbers. What I would say is find a local group and offer to help. The alternative is to approach the District but they may land you with a struggling group and no support. Ask me how I know. I share a pack with another Leader now plus a good Young Leader, a new Assistant leader and we run a parent rota so that’s two extra adults each week which is about right for 30 kids.

    OSM is great once you get on top of it. The kids all go to different schools but you wouldn’t know it as they all just muck in with each other. Parents are very appreciative and I’m always actively cultivating one or two to go into uniform, but there’s no pressure. The training is a bit of a burden but mostly very good. Plus you get to go places and do things you never would. We’ve got curling and trip to the local anaerobic digester coming up.

    retrorick
    Full Member

    I help out at the cub and scout group that I attended as a kid. I did a solid 5 years then tapered off as work and life got in the way. I did my training and now just do enough to keep me in ticket.
    I need to make more of an effort to turn up when I’m able to.

    defblade
    Free Member

    Scout/Explorer Scout Leader here, 26 years leading (and Cub/Scout/Venture myself beforehand).
    I’ll keep it short unless any specific questions come up…

    First up, if you’re looking at being a Leader rather than just a parent helper, there’s a lot more training that requires a bit more effort than there used to be… a good thing overall, but it is a commitment.
    Talking of commitment, that’s exactly what being a Leader (or even helper, if Leader numbers are low) is – if you’re the sort of person who finds they have to re-arrange stuff last minute because “something came up” a lot, it’s probably not for you as there’s a bunch of kids relying on you to turn up!

    The (slightly joking) tag line has always been “just 2 hours a week”. You certainly can do it on just 2 hours a week (plus training, to start with) especially as a helper or Assistant Leader. But putting in a little more time will help you and the Scouts get a lot more out, in my experience. I do mean just a little more, usually – 10 minutes planning on WhatsApp with the other leaders sometime in the week makes a much better evening; a night at the pub with some books and a calendar 3 or 6 times a year makes a much better term/half-term.

    I’m a bit unusual in that I went through as a youth and came back almost straight away after uni; most of the Leaders started off to support their own children… some go when their kids do, but many stay on, so there must be something good in it.

    Thanks in advance, by the way, for even considering stepping up. There aren’t so many parents who do… and on that note, if you find yourself not enjoying it, don’t be (emotionally) blackmailed into carrying on just because no-one else will take over – I think it’s well worth having that in your mind before you start, although it sounds negative – it’s volunteering, not a job, if you’re not getting anything out of it then it’s hopeless. But it will certainly all fall apart if no-one has a go!

    As to the family side – depends a bit on your set-up, obviously. I’ve simply always done it. My daughter went to Brownies rather than Cubs and tried Explorers with me but she’s not an outdoorsy/practical type. My wife has never minded me being out once a week regularly, and odd evenings/weekends; she just treats it as quiet/”me” time for herself (and an evening she can eat stinky fish without me complaining!). Work is more of an issue for me these days as I work most Saturdays and so that makes weekend activities very difficult.

    The priority list is always:
    Family
    Work
    Scouts

    As in any organisation, there are some less than nice people, although the ratio is happily low in Scouting… anyone who tells you to bump Scouting up that order, or who says anyone who doesn’t isn’t a “real” Scout, is one to avoid/ignore.

    Hope this helps!

    benos
    Full Member

    I volunteer once a week as a section assistant. I wasn’t a scout as a kid (I thought it was pretty naff back then) but my kids wanted to join and the local group needed helpers.

    I always dread it a bit beforehand because I’m bastard busy with my job and it feels like it’s taking up too much of my time. Then each week I go, and I get to see my two children enjoying themselves and growing, and I get to work with a group of (mostly) really nice kids. I always come away glad to be part of it.

    They need more help than I can give, but I do what I can, and I’ve ended up feeling really lucky to be a part of my children’s lives in way that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

    So I say do it!

    duncancallum
    Full Member

    Did air cadets for a while.

    Some one needs to volunteer. Do it. It’s very rewarding and can be infuriating.

    el_boufador
    Full Member

    I’m a beavers leader of 10 years. Soon to be an ex beavers leader this is my last year!

    I originally started as an assistant but took on the leader role when the previous leader left – would have folded otherwise and my kids wouldn’t easily have been able to join another group.

    In general the kids are great (although there is the odd one who is a nightmare!) and the sessions themselves can be great fun.
    Often it is really fantastic to see how much the kids are getting out of it – even simple things they would never usually do (e.g. a night hike) is so exciting for them and you see them grow as people. Very rewarding.
    So long as the group planning is good and you have a few like-minded volunteers to run activities the work can be shared out and not be over burdening.

    What is not so enjoyable is all the admin that goes along with it, stuff like chasing parents again and again, emailing comms out, sorting out all the badges, dealing with waiting lists.
    Also we are a church group and some of the expectations that come along with that (e.g. church parade every month) really do my head in. I really do not think some of the scout association and /or church have a bloody clue how pressured most people are for time.

    Also another majorly annoying thing is if you do not have a decent base of leaders who you get on with, or leaders who won’t do their fair share of work or are just useless and disorganised.

    What’s killed it for me in the end is the amount of admin, compounded by the useless of some of the other leaders which meant I ended up having to do a huge amount of work last year to put right a camp plan that somebody else took responsibility for but was going to turn into a disaster.

    So in summary my advice would be to go for it, they will really appreciate your help and it will make a real difference to many kids. But be careful that the group is well run already by good people, and also be very very clear about the boundaries of what you will and won’t do (e.g. I will help at meetings/won’t do admin/won’t do church parade).

    dyna-ti
    Full Member

    I notice that the leaders and volunteers are trying to lure you in… DON’T DO IT.

    Scariest groups in the UK. The Parachute regiment, the SAS, the Royal Marines, The Cubs (not necessarily in that order)

    FB-ATB
    Full Member

    Been an assistant scout leader for 5 years & occasional helper at cubs for a couple years before.

    My son has cerebral palsy so had to help on some nights. When he moved to scouts, I went on his first weekend camp with them as he had just moved up and they were getting to know him (speech as well as mobility affected). I got on well with the leaders and seeing how they were including him led to me joining. Scouting is the only mainstream activity that would accept our son.

    My wife became a cub leader for the same reason so it can be a bit hectic juggling time- I’m out on a course this weekend to get my archery instructor permit for example.

    Section leaders have the biggest workload with planning etc but there’s nothing to stop that being shared out. After my wife moved from assistant to cub leader and I saw the admin involved I picked up some bits from my Scout Leader that I wasn’t aware were being done in the background.

    Our group is pretty supportive- we have two scout nights and quite often we’ll mix up if one night is short of leaders, or even help beavers & cubs if they are down on leaders.

    I can instruct air rifle shooting & tomahawk throwing so that’s another demand on time as that can be for other groups or at events.

    Give it a go- aside from the shooting activities I’ve been coasteering & paddleboarding on camp and up in a microlight as our county owns its own aircraft.

    FB-ATB
    Full Member

    Scariest groups in the UK. The Parachute regiment, the SAS, the Royal Marines, The Cubs (not necessarily in that order)

    Nah not cubs it’s the turquoise ninjas you have to watch out for

    thestabiliser
    Free Member

    Do it if you’ve got capacity, you’ll be helping to shape young lives in a good way

    Can’t commit the time myself but am a parent helper, do that if you’re busy elsewhere, the leaders need all the help they can get

    TheFlyingOx
    Full Member

    Not a great deal of personal experience to add in terms of long term commitment but my eldest has gone through Beavers and is currently in Cubs. I’ve been on numerous occasions as a parent helper and it’s great but I’m not able to commit regularly due to work. If you have the time available, we have the same guy as leader of both the Beaver and Cub packs and I don’t think I’ve ever met a more fulfilled and happy person. If you have some enthusiasm for it then crack on.

    bfw
    Full Member

    kimbers
    20 cubs, 3 of whom have adhd

    Only 3? I would say most of my sons group are ASD/ADHD/etc 🙂

    I volunteer but only outdoor stuff and van help, plus our Christmas Tree collection and disposal service which brings in £10k for the Scouts. You see I dont like other peoples kids, mine are cool, but others are mostly a bit bonkers and they dont like me shouting at them :-)))

    FB-ATB
    Full Member

    Christmas Tree collection and disposal service which brings in £10k for the Scouts.

    £10k for scouts uk wide or just your group. And we thought we did well getting £1.5k at our jumble sale a couple of weeks ago!

    MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    If you enjoy it, do it. Leaders are incredible, selfless, valuable people who can transform young lives.

    I started as a parent helper when Jnr started at Beavers, there was a parent rota to help at Cubs, and I carried on helping out on hikes and cycling activities through Scouts.

    I’m not great with kids, I’ll be honest, especially younger ones, and didn’t enjoy the weekly meetings, and because of that I never went on to be a unit leader. MrsMC was running a Guide unit singlehandedly for most of that time as well, so fitting a regular commitment for me as well would be tough.

    However, there’s a host of “behind the scenes” roles that are just as valuable – finance, planning, fundraising, building maintenance, quartermasters, website and social media. I’m on the group Exec committee, District Exec committee, and chair the District finance and appointment committees, which is maybe a couple of evenings a month. If we can take some of the domestics and logistics away from the unit leaders, it’s a huge help to them.

    One of my happiest Scouting memories was the first day of the Peak 2015 Jamboree, 4000 Scouts and Guides from around the world assembling at Chatsworth for a week of activities and I heard one lad say “This is going to be so much fun!” Which is the point.

    Picked up a Scout commendation for service the other week, my first Scout badge in 37 years!

    Jnr has gone right through Scouting, done the World Scout Jamboree, picks up his Queen’s Scout award next April and is an adult helper himself now when he’s home from uni, as well as the District social media person. Those experiences have shaped him and have proven just as important as his academic achievements when he’s been interviewed and assessed for uni and job placements.

    TL:DR – Scouting (and Guiding) are incredibly valuable, if challenging, and if you can support in any way, please give it a go.

    Yak
    Full Member

    I was a section assistant at cubs and scouts for 5 or so years. So the lowest level of uniformed adult helping out. I enjoyed it. Camps were the best. Scout camps are far easier than cub camps as the scouts can do far more, although both are rewarding.

    So it’s very rewarding, sometimes hard work, but mostly fun and if you do a lot of camps then you’ll get the most out of an it.

    ransos
    Free Member

    My kids are at cubs and scouts. My wife is now treasurer and I’ve just done my DBS check so I can help on a cubs camping weekend. Wish me luck!

    bigginge
    Full Member

    Thanks for all that.

    It sounds a bit like I was expecting (I think) and probably within the bounds of being manageable even with a young family. I guess I’ll be giving it a go to see how it pans out for me/us.

    MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    I guess I’ll be giving it a go to see how it pans out for me/us.

    That’s all you can do. Go in with your eyes open, be realistic, don’t be be guilted into doing more than you can take on.

    If this role isn’t for you, there may be others that are a better fit.

    csb
    Full Member

    There was a near identical thread last year I think?

    I’m a trustee of a beaver/cub/scout group with about 100 members so I see ALL the background stuff needed to run the front end meetings and camps etc.

    It’s unbelivable how much work is involved. I was once a treasurer of a tennis club with premises and 200 members and it wasn’t as hard as running Scouts.

    As above, very fulfilling.

    jeffl
    Full Member

    I helped at the local beaver group when my kids went. Also helped out at cubs and scouts sometimes. Had to stop as I just didn’t have time and when my kids stopped going Friday nights were a struggle as we, as a family, went away quite a few weekends a month. TBF Fri night was/is a silly night to do it in that respect.

    I found the older kids more fun as you could do more interesting activities but even the beaver age kids were ok. Nice seeing them progress.

    One thing that was nice/fun was that it was a good way to bookend the week, forget about work and focus on something that’s not work.

    Did a bit of admin, mostly finances and a leaders meeting every term to plan activities. Lots of focus on fund raising which was annoying but a necessary evil.

    Favourite thing was always camps as the kids get loads out of it. Even that time one of the kids puked in their tent with a built in groundsheet which I ended up effectively bailing out 😂

    neilnevill
    Free Member

    Absolute hats off and immense gratitude to the leaders and helpers, thank you!

    After a bit of a struggle ( some of you may have advised when I posted) my eldest (7) is now in a brownie pack (struggling for brownies but she loves it) and a really active beaver pack which is just 5 mins walk away and superb, plus both my girls (the younger is 5) do girls brigade at the end of the street, numbers are more than brownies but not beavers. Youngest also down to start rainbows in April.

    I can see the fun they have and even the struggling brownies is great for her socialising and her confidence is really improving. The stuff she’s learning at beavers is fabulous.

    Thank you to those that give their time to make it possible, thank you thank you thank you.

    If I had some time to go give I’d like to think I would, but with a 2yo as well the moments when one or both the girls are out for an hour+ allows a bit of focused time with the younger ones. Maybe/hopefully in the future I’ll be able to do a bit of patent helper stuff.

    MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    I can see the fun they have and even the struggling brownies is great for her socialising and her confidence is really improving

    My daughter has gone Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Rangers, and rather reluctantly became a Young Leader at a new Rainbow unit as the volunteering part of her DofE.

    She comes back buzzing, seeing the little ones gain confidence, friends and starting to gain skills. Done wonders for my daughter and her own confidence as well.

    Harry_the_Spider
    Full Member

    Cub/Scout Leader. Been doing it for 8 years.

    The pack was just re-starting when I joined as the previous leaders all left. I used to drop my lad off and was getting asked if I could stay as the ratio of adults to kids wasn’t right. This meant that I had to get a DBS and the training, so before I knew it I was a leader.

    If you get in with the right bunch of leaders it is an absolute hoot. At Cubs I didn’t get on with the GSL, so I changed to Scouts where I am much happier. Both my kids are there. The eldest is and Explorer and the youngest in scouts.

    It van be very rewarding. Give it a go!

    Also, whilst there are Scout Leaders on… I can recommend Escape Ramsbottom. https://www.brscouts.org.uk/blog/2022/04/30/can-you-escape-rammy/

    Superb event!

    Kelliesheros
    Free Member

    If you want your kids to experience things, most of the time it is down to volunteers. Not Scouts but my daughter loves playing football. Team went through a rough patch, lost the coach, then another. Team was going to fold, so I stepped up. It is as equally frustrating as rewarding. However my daughter still gets to play football with her friends, and watching her enjoy that is worth it.

    lesgrandepotato
    Full Member

    GSL of 1st Grange and Cartmel here. We have 5 sections, about 100 or so kiddos learning skills for life.

    I have between 30&40 volunteers. If you want to do one night a month, or just the odd camp. I treasure your volunteering. Many hands makes light work and that’s how scouts works best.

    What we do makes a difference. Is it sometimes a pita yes. Is the training occasionally a pita, yes, do we get more out more than we put in. Yes.

    Dive in, your group will appreciate it.

    antigee
    Full Member

    was a Beaver Leader for a few years and would echo much said above…very rewarding did it as a “job share” which took out (sort of) 50% of the planning/admin stuff as it does take more than the 2hrs a week

    Looking at the OP’s post the one thing I’d say is as a Leader having regular volunteers you can count on and having volunteers you know can call on and they are willing to turn up when someone else drops out is really very helpful

    supernova
    Full Member

    I’d like to do this – I was a cub, scout, venture scout etc., but as a man who’s kids are past that age I don’t think I could ever bring myself to offer my services for fear of suspicion of bad intentions. I realise of course that people have to be checked, but I don’t want to be even briefly thought about in those terms. Stupid I know, but I suspect that holds a lot of people back.

    csb
    Full Member

    There are other jobs apart from running the actual activities that need doing to keep the group going. Formal exec roles (finance, chairman, trustee), quartermaster (sorting the tents!) etc.

    MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    I’d like to do this – I was a cub, scout, venture scout etc., but as a man who’s kids are past that age I don’t think I could ever bring myself to offer my services for fear of suspicion of bad intentions. I realise of course that people have to be checked, but I don’t want to be even briefly thought about in those terms. Stupid I know, but I suspect that holds a lot of people back.

    While you still need a check, there’s lots of roles where you don’t have to deal with kids.

    But seriously, no one does a check thinking you have ulterior motives. They do a check to confirm their belief you aren’t a risk.

    (Accepting that a clean check just means you haven’t been caught yet)

    lesgrandepotato
    Full Member

    I’d like to do this – I was a cub, scout, venture scout etc., but as a man who’s kids are past that age I don’t think I could ever bring myself to offer my services for fear of suspicion of bad intentions. I realise of course that people have to be checked, but I don’t want to be even briefly thought about in those terms. Stupid I know, but I suspect that holds a lot of people back.

    Don’t be daft, crack on and find a group and jump on in. People will just be welcome for the help.

    Harry_the_Spider
    Full Member

    Anyone else camping this weekend?

    We’re in the Lavvus at Bispham Hall. Got a 10m parachute too. Most of the kids already have their “Sub Zero” badge but the ones who have joined us since last winter are in for a bit of a shock/adventure.

    My daughter is already referring to it as The Camp of Fire and Ice.

    MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    My daughter is already referring to it as The Camp of Fire and Ice.

    Love it!

    lesgrandepotato
    Full Member

    Awesome, my cubs were camping last weekend. Would have been fab in the snow!

    Eddiethegent
    Full Member

    Mrs ETG is an Explorer leader. I get to watch crap sci-fi and eat curry on the sofa once a week when she’s dib dobing. She recons Explorers are the best fun. They aren’t cute like beavers and cubs, and yes they are hormonal and stinky. But they are by far the most interesting to lead. Last week we took them to a trail centre and had great time. Bike packing with them later this year.

    Harry_the_Spider
    Full Member

    Sat under a parachute with a fire blazing listening to bad heavy metal with a few of the older scouts including my daughter. Pissing down outside. Piss funny in here!

    Harry_the_Spider
    Full Member

    Is anyone doing Shelterbox in Liverpool this year? We’ve got three teams in, 2x Scouts 1x Explorers.

    http://www.nwscoutsglobal.org.uk/

    Also, Escape Ramsbottom will be along soon and that is a great event.

    Can you escape Rammy?

    IHN
    Full Member

    I’ll have a look at the Shelterbox thing, although the website doesn’t seem to want to work

    We’ve got an ‘expedition’ this weekend – two teams walking from our hut to a nearby-ish hut with their kit. sleep over there, and then back again on Sunday, navigating themselves along routes they planned last night. It’s only about 6/7miles each way, but should be interesting, given that their map reading skills are pretty rudimentary at best… Ah well, as long as more make it back than don’t 🙂

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