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The notes below suggest how you can use the Vision for 2018 to benefit the young people in your Group:


1         What’s Vision 2018 got to do with us?

This exercise is intended to help you provide better Scouting for more young people in your Scout Group.  That has always been top of the Group Scout Leader’s list of responsibilities so nothing has changed there.

However, the Vision for 2018 describes how the movement across the United Kingdom wants to develop over the next few years.  So it can be seen as a description of what we mean by “better Scouting”, and since it includes more young people being involved if we move towards the Vision we will be “providing better Scouting for more young people”.


2          Before you start:

It’s important to remember that this is not about putting right what’s not working – we are building on our current successes to make things even better.  So this approach will work with all Groups, whether they are already successful or going through difficult periods, whether long-established or newly formed.

The work will be more effective if a team of people is involved.  So at the very least try to get a team of 3-4 people to work on it.  It would be even better to get representatives from across the Group.  These could include leaders, key members of the Group Executive Committee, parents and of course the young people.  (Sometimes the best ideas come from those who haven’t yet learnt what doesn’t work.)  If you have an Explorer Scout Unit associated with your Group you could get them involved as well – many of them will have been through the younger sections and will have valuable ideas on how things can be made better.  You may also find it useful to include your ADC (Group Support) or someone else from outside the Group to give you a more detached view.

However, if you have more than about 12 people directly involved it may be difficult for everyone to have their say.


3          Exploring Possibilities:

We have already done some work on trying to understand what 2018 means to our County: in other words what the County needs to be like to achieve the vision.

The results of that work are available on the 2018 - What it means to GLSE page.

We then went on to develop questions which would help explore possible ways of moving towards the vision.

They are available on the 2018 - Questions to Consider page.

There are also specific actions for Groups, Sections and individual youth members in the Scout Association 2014-2108 Strategic Plan.  These have also been included in the 2018 - Questions to Consider page.

You now need to get your team together and think about the Streategic Plan actions and the questions.  This will give you suggestions of things you can do to move towards the Vision.

At this stage just collect possible actions and do not try to prioritise them.


4          Your own Group Vision 

This stage involves looking at the results of the previous stage to try to create a description of what the Group should look like in – say - five years’ time.

You could think about issues such as:

A clear picture of where you are going can be very motivating and the process of defining the future can be a great help to getting you there.

However, this approach does not work for everyone and if you find you are not getting anywhere with it do not be discouraged – just move on to the next stage.


5          Prioritising

As a result of the previous two stages you should now have a picture of where you are going and a list of possible changes that will help you to get there.

But you could have 20 to 30 actions to develop the Group and you need to ensure that you are not distracted from the normal day to day delivery of high quality Scouting to young people.

So you need to identify the top three which will make the greatest difference  (If you have any Strategic Plan actions to complete they would normally be at the top of the list).  You can then focus your efforts on these to ensure that you are using volunteer time as effectively as possible.

This can be done in a number of ways.  You could pick what looks like the top one and debate whether any of the others should be higher, you could get people to put their top three on post it notes and see which get the greatest number of “votes” or come up with any other method which suits your team.

It is important thing to end up with a limited number of actions which will make a difference.  Do not worry that you may have identified the wrong three.  There is no “correct” answer and however you have gone about the prioritisation your three will be near the top.

It’s also important not to be tempted to work on too many actions.  Many Groups, Districts and Counties have produced development plans with hundreds of actions but often few of these get implemented.  If you can reduce your plan to three actions (or at the very most five) everyone will know what’s important and it is far more likely that valuable changes will be made.


6          Preparing to Implement:

A plan has no value unless it is implemented.  So there are still two things to do.    

First ensure that the plan (ie the three top priorities) is communicated to everyone in the Group.  If everyone knows what you are trying to do they may spot opportunities for moving towards your goals which could otherwise be overlooked.

Then you need to identify someone to lead and do the detailed planning on each of the actions.  As a general rule it is better to look for someone with the right skills and resources (time, contacts or whatever) rather than trying to identify whose job description the task falls into.


7          Action:

Do what you have planned.  Don’t forget that the District and County are there to help.   Also given that this work represents the Group Scout Leader’s top priority it would seem appropriate that monitoring and reporting on it should appear near the top of the Group Executive Committee’s agendas.


8          Review and Next Steps:

When each key action is achieved it will be worth reviewing the process to establish any lessons for the future.

But each action completed also provides the opportunity to add another to the list.  It may be appropriate to just revisit the prioritisation stage, but it’s also worth bearing in mind that circumstances change so from time to time it would be worth repeating the whole exercise.

Finally these notes are written to help Group Scout Leaders.  If you find they can be improved in any way, for example if you have found a better way of doing something, let us know and we can make your experience available across the County.


This page was last updated on 20 June 2014 by Mike Jackson