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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Stage 5 - Opening and support

Stage 5 - Opening and support

Your new Scouts section or group should be just about ready to launch! But before you dive in, it’s still really important to make sure that the new volunteers are supported and happy in their new roles. They should feel confident they can run their weekly sessions and part of the wider team.

Decide a way forward together

Hold a meeting with volunteers from your District. Invite new volunteers along to discuss the next steps in opening the new section/group together. Having a say will make them feel more energised and engaged. You can find a suggested agenda for the meeting and other supporting tools to download at the bottom of the page.

Some questions you might want to ask together include:

  • What will the group be called?
  • How much time is each volunteer able to contribute?
  • Who will train and support them?
  • What’s the budget going to be?
  • What colour would everyone like the group scarf to be?
  • Is everyone comfortable with what’s being asked of them? Do they have any further questions or ideas? 

At the end of the meeting, you should:

  • Have a timeline and list of actions for the next term, including getting new volunteers appointed, and having a party to celebrate what you’ve all achieved.
  • Agreed on who’ll support the new volunteers going forward.
  • Agreed on how the executive functions of the group will be supported. 

Suggested meeting schedule for a new Scout group

Regular meetings help us make sure everyone gets to make an impact, that information is shared and that plans are in place.

A suggested diary plan could look like this, or you could design your own based on the group’s needs. However you decide to organise a meeting, letting people know about them in advance – and communicating what they might expect to discuss at each one – will be key to making sure everyone has a chance to contribute.  

  • Trustee meetings – September, December, March, June
  • Section meetings – October, January, April, July
  • Leadership team meetings – November, February, May

Trustee Board meetings are an opportunity to discuss the group’s needs, including how the group is governed and run and how fundraising is managed. 

They’re usually attended by the Group’s:

  • Section Leaders
  • Chairman
  • Treasurer 
  • Group Scout leader
  • Parent representatives from each section
  • Young leaders, if possible. 

In an executive meeting, you might go over the:

  • GSL report – getting an update on training, chatting through the last and next three months or looking at what sort of opportunities are arising
  • Treasurer report – looking at the health of your current finances and costs coming in and out
  • Section leader’s report – chatting through the last and next three months, flagging if and when any young people moving on and going over any future support needed
  • Young leader’s report – looking at how youth-shaped the group is being at the moment and how it could do even better 
  • Parent rep’s report – looking through feedback from members parents
  • Health and safety of the group

For more information, take a look at our Trustee Board Meeting agenda prompts.

Section meetings are an opportunity to get together as a section to discuss a variety of things – and make a variety of decisions – together. 

They’re usually attended by the section’s:

  • Leaders
  • Assistant leaders
  • Section assistants
  • Young leaders who want to come along

In a section meeting, you might go over:

  • The last three months, including the best bits and the challenges
  • The activities you have planned, or would like to plan in the future 
  • Any upcoming camps
  • Who’s doing what in all of these areas

Leadership team meetings are a great opportunity for section leaders, young leaders and GSLs to come together to review the programme, make plans and take the group forward.

In a leadership meeting, you might go over:

  • Group feedback and updates from the GSL
  • Sections' reports – chatting through the last and next three months
  • Any opportunities for the sections or the whole group to link together
  • How you can bring more young people and/or adults into Scouts
  • How the actions of the sections and group can be even more shaped by young people

Keep supporting new volunteers

Every new volunteer should be guided through their time at Scouts, just like they would be if they were starting a new job.  

Build their confidence by:

  • Introducing them to other people, groups and sections – including to those who work behind the scenes at Scouts – so they get to see how it’s done and make friends 
  • Giving them a welcome pack, full of essential information and contacts
  • Working with them to create a good programme outline for the next 6-12 months
  • Making sure they have a plan for their first camp – where will they get equipment from? Who’ll support them. Could they camp with a buddy group or at a District event?
  • Creating a support plan for the first six months, so they know who to talk to if they have questions 
  • Briefing your group and district teams so they know what support is needed

Well done!

We know it’s been hard work. But you’ve helped loads of new young people to access Scouts for the first time and left a legacy that will change lives with for years to come. Don’t forget to celebrate your success and shout about what you’ve done.