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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

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Structure and staffing

Structure and staffing

Any camp depends on the quality and to some degree, quantity of the staff involved in bringing the programme and services to the participants. They are the human face of the event and a key function of the camp organisers will be to establish their own teams. It must be stressed that, in keeping with the policies of The Scout Association, all unknown Leaders and adults who are going to be working with young people are checked out using the CRB procedure through the Records Office at Gilwell Park.

There can be no exceptions to this policy and those unwilling to agree cannot offer their services. Additionally there are differing opinions on the use of Explorer Scouts as staff, especially if there are Explorer Scout participants in the camp. If Explorer Scouts are used, then it's useful to establish a Staff sub-camp to give the necessary privacy to staff and ensure that differing standards can be accommodated.

Without exception, all existing International Camps are split into sub-camps. This helps to make the organisation of the camp more easily manageable. The sub-camp may be used for:

  • Maintenance of camping standards
  • Sub-camp activities
  • Spare time activities
  • First aid/first response
  • Catering

Most camps have a large programme team, which is further sub divided into teams for individual activities, such as water activities.

  • It's probably best to allow activity leaders to recruit their own staff and to offer the appropriate training
  • Be careful that outside helpers comply with Scout Association policy and rules
  • There should be adequate ratios of staff to participants
  • Good recruitment will result in staff knowing what is expected of them, possibly through the provision of a job description, and utilising the skills available

The staff will be drawn from a range of sources:

  • Leaders from within the County/Area
  • Leaders from other Counties/Areas
  • Explorer Scouts
  • Overseas Leaders
  • Specialist adults not directly connected to Scouting
  • Staff from commercial and other partners

There are a number of approaches of utilising the Leaders from the participating groups:

  • The booking policy should indicate an ideal ‘Leader to youth ratio’ to ensure there is less boredom of those Leaders
  • Participating group Leaders can be enrolled as staff, in advance of the camp
  • Use of International patrols and good sub-camp scheme frees up Leaders for other duties
  • Establish a ‘Job Market’ to allocate tasks
  • Provide skills training sessions for visiting Leaders
  • Don’t ask visiting Leaders to do the jobs that no one else wants to do

Many camps rely on specialists for aspects of their camps. It should be emphasised to all such staff that the camp is a Scout event, and activities and program should be conducted in keeping with Scout Association policies and rules.

  • It's useful to have serving police officers on security staff
  • First aid facilities are often better provided by experts in the field such as Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance. Otherwise doctors and nurses who are Scout Leaders will be more sensitive to the need of the camp
  • Serving fire-fighters have the knowledge and the expertise to cope with the many potential dangers on a camp and may have access to equipment which may be lent to the camp
  • Commercial catering staff will be more aware of the need for hygiene, otherwise
    careful attention needs to be paid to appropriate training for new staff

To get the most out of your staff here are some useful tips:

  • Provide a crèche facility
  • Try to include at least one day off
  • On a rotation basis, offer some activities to staff and Leaders’ Staff club

Most camps provide a separate facility for staff and Leaders so that they can have some time to themselves. Some points to consider here are:

  • The area should be out of bounds to youth participants
  • The area should be removed from the main camp area to avoid undue noise
  • Care should be taken over underage drinking (one system is different coloured identity cards)