GSL Briefing Note

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1         What’s the Background?

Many adults in scouting have personally experienced the immense value of the work we do with young people.  As a movement this has led us to want to provide the best quality scouting to the greatest number of young people.  Group Scout Leaders are crucial to making this happen since they lead the Scout Groups where most scouting is delivered.

Nationally, the Scout Association has recognised its responsibility for providing the environment and leadership within which growth can take place and national strategic plans have been regularly updated.  The latest incarnation of the strategy is the Vision towards 2018 which was widely consulted on before adoption in 2010. 


2         What’s the Vision?

Scouting in 2018 will:
• Make a positive impact in our communities
• Prepare young people to be active citizens
• Embrace and contribute to social change

Scouting in 2018 will be:
• Shaped by young people in partnership with adults
• Enjoyed by more young people and more adult volunteers
• As diverse as the communities in which we live

Members of Scouting in 2018 will feel:
• Empowered
• Valued
• Proud


3         What’s that got to do with Scouting in Groups?

GSLs are still responsible to their DC for planning and leading development in their Groups taking account of local needs and circumstances.

But the 2018 Vision sets out the priorities nationally and the direction in which the movement as a whole wants to move.

In other words GSLs, along with other volunteer managers, are still responsible for providing better scouting for more young people.  The Vision helps to define what we mean by better scouting.


4         How are we going to make the Vision real?

We have already done some work on defining what the vision means to us in the County.  The output of this is provided as an appendix to this note.  But to make it happen, managers across the County need to consider what the vision means within their area of responsibility. So we have also developed a list of questions which need to be considered within Scout Groups. 

With the support of the District Commissioners and their teams we are asking each GSL to consider the questions and identify a number of things they could do to contribute to achieving the vision.  However, we do not want to see Group plans with tens or hundreds of actions.  Experience shows that these never get implemented.  So the next step will be to slim the actions down to give a plan consisting of 3-5 key priorities which the Group can work on over the next one or two years.  As these actions are achieved the plan can be reviewed.


5         So how is the District going to help?

As part of the recent County restructure the new Districts were set up with Deputy and Assistant District Commissioners for Group Support.  They provide a range of support, particularly to GSLs but a key role is supporting development within the Group.  

Ideally the key supporter to the Group would be the assigned ADC(GS).  However, the District’s Group Support Teams are not currently up to strength so the DCs have agreed to set up project teams based around the ADCs(GS) but including other individuals with appropriate skills to make sure that all the Groups are supported.  (In this note they will all be referred to as ADCs for simplicity.)

The precise level of involvement in each Group will be agreed between the GSL and ADC.  However the ADC will be acting as a facilitator, helping the Group to establish its own priorities and not seeking to impose actions on the Group.  Once the key development priorities have been established, the ADC will also be the point of contact for District support, providing help and resources to make the plan happen.


6         What happens after that?

The Districts have already started to set up programmes of one to one meetings between GSLs and their ADCs(GS). 

These will provide the opportunity to review progress on the plans and identify what support the District can provide to make them happen.




This page was last updated on 29 April 2014 by Mike Jackson