What do you think of when you hear the term flexible scouting?
Yes, the first image is Scout leaders of my shape and size doing yoga.
When I really think about flexible scouting, I have always thought about it as being around adults. A way to provide an option that enables adults who work on shifts or can only give their support one weekend a month the opportunity to support the movement.
What I now realise is there is two items flexible volunteering and flexible scouting and I am confusing them
What is the difference you may ask.
Flexible volunteering – means that people do not have to give their life to Scouting to be of great value to us. That occasional volunteering, helping at one meeting a month, being an administrator, helping with the catering, maintaining a HQ etc. are all much needed roles that make the task of section leaders much easier. Leadership teams are a great example of this.
The message here has often been getting leaders to see that doing some form of scouting every night of the week and having 4 or 5 different appointments is not the only way to scout. People can equally provide a significant value by only being there one week in three.
We can often put people off by making them feel their contribution has to be heroic
here we are discussing the provision of scouting, not the adults
Flexible Scouting – means Scouting does not have to take place for 2 hours on the same evening in the same location or event in the same group or unit every week.
Some examples of this could be:
- A sections that meet every other Friday evening,
- A section that meet at weekends
- A section that meet once a monhth for a whole day on a sunday.
- An explorer unit that has 3 location in different village and moves around them each week.
- Multiple groups sharing their programme and young people moving around the groups to access the programme they enjoy.
If we take this to the extreme then you could have an explorer unit that has small groups of young people doing programme in multiple places on multiple days.
e.g. 4 on DofE practice on Sunday, 3 at baths on Monday completing lifeguard qualification, 2 working on their youth shape award with the district on Wednesday, 5 completing a climbing course on Thursday and the remainder meeting up for social and planning at the HQ on Friday.
This is flexible scouting in the wider sense, here we are talking about being flexible in location, style location, leadership even young peoples attendance.
Have you tried it
This style of scouting is about taking the “mountain to Mohammed” and giving young people (and their families) what they want. It is not a style of scouting I have much experience with. I would be interested in hearing from anyone with experience in it.
The things I would like to know are
- How does it work for you?
- Do you find any of the Troop/Unit come to all the different items? e.g. taking up every oportunity to scout.
- Why do you do scout this way?
If you have any comments on this type of scouting would be great to hear from you below.