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Managing joining lists

Scouting has become so popular that there are thousands of people waiting to join. We must be focused on offering a place at the earliest opportunity, once a young person has reached the correct age.

Scouting has become so popular that there are over 30,000 young people waiting to join. We must be focused on offering a place at the earliest opportunity, once a young person has reached the correct age.

It's a good idea to review your records at the start of each term so that you have an accurate picture of future vacancies, and of times when you are likely to be oversubscribed. It is important to keep your District informed so that they can offer the appropriate support.

A ‘register of interest’ includes anyone under the core age range who wants to join the section when they are old enough and a ‘joining list’ includes anyone who has already reached the core age of their section and is waiting for a place to become available.

District run lists

Both the register of interest and the joining list should be held at District level to allow an overview of the development of the District. This way the district can manage:

  • All sections being the maximum size.
  • Each section having the appropriate number of adults.
  • Names only appearing once on the lists.
  • Plans either to recruit new members (adults or young people) or to deal with expanding lists.
  • Transfers of young people to the District, ensuring a place is found for them as quickly as possible.

Recording the details

When a parent contacts you, you should collect:

  • The name of the young person.
  • Date of birth.
  • Parent/carer’s name, address, phone number and email address.
  • Details of preferred Group.
  • If their siblings already take part and in which Group.
  • If they are children of leaders, and which Group/Unit they are leaders in.

When recording personal details you must adhere to the Data Protection Act.

Setting the size of your section

Firstly, consider the recommended maximum size for the sections outlined in Policy, Organisation and Rules:

  • Beaver Scouts: 24
  • Cub Scouts: 36
  • Scouts, Explorer Scouts and Scout Network: no recommended maximum size

Secondly, consider the number of adults available in the section. The appointed leader should ensure there are the correct number of adults present at every meeting, as outlined in POR.

Finally, consider the size of the meeting place and the size of the next section. If the Groups and Districts are working together then an important part of the plan will be to increase capacity in all sections.

Some useful approaches

  • If the limiting factor is the amount of adult helpers, your focus will be the recruitment of more adult support. Use the six step approach to ensure you are recruiting the type of adults you and the section need.
  • Be flexible and consider all your options. Considering a parent rota, having several Section Assistants to alternate at meetings or look at seeking help from your local Scout Active Support Unit.
  • To double capacity, try running back-to-back meetings or having a different set of young people every other week. Only one programme and leadership team would be needed. A different person could assume the role of ‘the leader’ at each meeting to spread the work load.
  • Some Districts will run District sections for those young people who are on a joining list. Those young people will move to Group based sections as space appears.
  • Some Groups and Districts are able to run temporary sections to reduce the numbers on the joining lists. These young people will move into the main section as space appears.