1st Weybridge (Brooklands Own) Scout Group – November 2017
The 1st Weybridge Scout Group is run in accordance with the Policy, Organisation and Rules (POR) set out by the Scout Association. This document is available for download from the Scout Association website.
In addition, we at 1st Weybridge have agreed to the guidelines set out in the following paragraphs. Our Leaders agree to adhere to these guidelines in all matters relating to the Group and its activities, wherever they take place. Similarly, when a child joins 1st Weybridge we ask that their parents sign a form to confirm that they also agree to these guidelines. This cooperation is essential for the safe and effective running of the Group.
Note: throughout this document, the term “parent” should be taken to include guardians and carers as appropriate.
The main focus of our Group is the delivery of fun, safe and rewarding programmes of activities for children in all three sections. The purpose of this is to contribute to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities.
To succeed, Scouting should be:
Attractive to young people;
Fulfilling to adults;
Trusted by parents;
Valued by society.
These are our aims at all times.
Our Scouts and Cub Scouts make a promise to keep the Scout Law:
A Scout is to be trusted;
A Scout is loyal;
A Scout is friendly and considerate;
A Scout belongs to the worldwide family of Scouts;
A Scout has courage in all difficulties;
A Scout makes good use of time and is careful with possessions and property;
A Scout has self-respect and respect for others.
We expect this of our young people and try to bring these values into everything we do.
The Group is made up of the three sections:
Beaver Scout Colony – ages 6-8yrs, approximately 20 children;
Cub Scout Pack – ages 8-10½yrs, approximately 30 children;
Scout Troop – ages 10½-14yrs, approximately 30 children;
The Group is run by the Group Scout Leader (GSL), supported by the Group Executive Committee. The Group is one of seven that form the Walton & Weybridge District, which is in turn part of Surrey County.
Group Executive Committee
The “Exec” exists to support the GSL in the running of the Group, with fundraising forming a major function. The following positions are held by volunteers:
Head of Fundraising
Waiting list manager
Anyone interested in volunteering for a position on the Exec should contact: GSL@1stWeybridgeScouts.org.uk.
A child may be added to our waiting list at any time after their fourth birthday (by emailing “join@1stWeybridgeScouts.org.uk”). In an ideal world we would provide a place in Beavers for every child who applied to join when they reached their sixth birthday, then guarantee to provide them with places in Cubs and Scouts when they reached the appropriate ages to move up. While we aim to meet the latter objective, there are not enough places available to meet demand (largely due to a lack of adult volunteers).
First priority is given to the children of parents who volunteer as Leaders or members of the Executive Committee (see Parental Participation below). We then offer places based strictly on the date of joining the waiting list. Children who reach the age limit for Beavers are moved onto the Cubs list (and likewise for those reaching Scouts age), if their parents indicate that they remain interested in a place.
Subscriptions and Other Payments
Places within the Group for all children are dependent on the payment of subscriptions at the start of each term. This not only finances the operation of the Group but covers the cost of capitation, payable to the Scout Association for every child to pay for their membership and insurance.
Should a subscription not be paid then the parents of the affected child would be contacted (something which increases the administration workload for our volunteers). Failure to pay subscriptions for two terms will normally result in the child forfeiting their place within the Group. In the event of financial hardship the Executive have agreed that the Group will discuss waiving the subscription on a case-by-case basis.
For many activities and events we ask for a contribution from parents to cover the costs involved. These events will often be subsidised from Group/Section funds in order to minimise the amounts that we need to request.
POR states that “it is the policy of the Scout Association to provide Scouting in a safe manner without risk to health, so far as is reasonably practicable.” We aim to provide activities which are exciting and adventurous without being hazardous. All section activities are run by a minimum of two adults, one of whom will be a warranted Leader (or Assistant Leader). We also ask parents to assist where necessary.
Parents must make the Group aware of any medical issues that their children have at the time of joining, and at any time subsequently in the event that circumstances change.
Special Educational Needs
Parents must make the Group aware of any special needs that their children have:
at the time of joining the Group, either directly or through the waiting list;
when moving up from Beavers to Cubs or from Cubs to Scouts;
at any time subsequently if needs or circumstances change.
We will endeavour to provide support for these needs so that all children are given the opportunity to participate in as many activities as possible. However, we may require that parents provide extra support or resources.
Numbers are limited within the three sections. When a child takes up a place in the Group we ask for a commitment from their parents that their child will attend regularly. If a child fails to attend three or more sessions in any term then we will approach the parents to ascertain if the place should be assigned to somebody on our waiting list. We will of course take into account any genuine reasons for absence.
The Group is run entirely by unpaid volunteers and funded through subscriptions, donations and fundraising events. In order to support our Leaders we ask parents to attend some section meetings and other Group events. These can be one-off requests to support particular activities or more formalised rotas. Parents or guardians who are unable to support the Group in this way, or provide other relatives (usually a spouse or grandparent) in their place, will be treated in the same way as absentee children, using up one of their child's "three strikes" in the process. Without help the sections cannot be run safely and effectively.
Should a parent decide that they enjoy helping at section meetings and wish to do so more regularly then they should contact the GSL to discuss taking on a more formal role: GSL@1stWeybridgeScouts.org.uk.
Most of our volunteers originally became involved through their children’s membership of the Group. If a parent decides to join the team, as either a Leader or a member of the Executive committee, then we ask that they:
Commit to a minimum of two years in the role;
Assist with the recruitment of a replacement when they step down (or move to another role/section);
Carry out a handover to their replacement in order to facilitate a smooth transition.
When a parent or guardian takes up a role within the Group in order to gain a place for their child they must successfully complete the DBS process and complete their Getting Started training before the child's place will be made available.
In recognition of the time that volunteers put into their roles we do not charge subscription fees to full-time volunteers (this applies to a maximum of two children). In the case of "part-time" Leaders who share their role with other volunteers, and most Exec members, we require that they cover the annual Capitation cost for their children, This waiver is only applied once the parent is fully established in their role and while they remain as a volunteer within the Group.
A Leader must be present at every weekly section meeting during term time. The Leadership roles can be shared with other adults in the section in order to “job-share” and reduce the time commitment. There is also some planning time required for each session/activity. Weekend activities (such as camping) are great for the children but clearly can only happen if the Leaders are able to run them. Help with other activities (such as fundraising events) is appreciated but voluntary.
Members of the Executive Committee are expected to attend one meeting each term and the AGM. Any further time that committee members put into the Group is entirely at their discretion, and much appreciated.
The Group’s Commitment to its Volunteers
We welcome our Leaders and Exec members to the team and provide as much support as possible. Official training, as dictated by the Scout Association, is required for many of the roles, so we will provide guidance and support as required. There is also an element of fun, banter and the occasional get-together, but the level of participation is mostly voluntary.
Section meetings and other Group events should be fun for all children participating. In keeping the Scout Law we expect our young members to develop in many ways, including an understanding of the need for discipline, which is important in creating a safe environment.
When a particular young person displays behaviour that disrupts meetings or events then our Leaders are expected to enforce discipline as they see fit, within the guidance set out in POR. If the unacceptable behaviour continues then the Leaders will apply the Yellow/Red Card rules:
A Yellow card is issued by an adult volunteer to a child who exhibits any behaviours not considered appropriate in a Scouting context, such as being repeatedly disruptive despite warnings, swearing or bullying. The child would be removed from the current activity and spoken to about the reasons for the yellow card. The Leader would also inform the child's parents.
A Red card would be issued if a child received their second yellow card in a term, or if they were involved in any incident that endangered safety. The child would be excluded from the rest of the meeting/event and their parents would be contacted and asked to collect them early. They would also be excluded from the next meeting or event and the GSL would be informed of this action..
Were a child to receive two red cards in a term then they would be suspended and not allowed to attend any Scouting event. This triggers a more formal process where the GSL is required to involve the District Commissioner in order to go through a consultation process with the parents, the outcome of which would be one of three options: (a) reinstatement; (b) reinstatement with agreed conditions; (c) dismissal.
Should a parent have any concerns regarding any aspect of Scouting life which they would like to discuss then they should approach their child’s Section Leader, or contact the GSL. In no circumstances should a parent take action to interfere with the running of a Scout activity without consultation with a Warranted Leader, unless this is required in the interests of safety. In this latter case, a Leader must be informed as soon as possible about the actions taken.
Complaints, disagreements and disputes should be resolved informally wherever possible.
If any member of 1st Weybridge, or any parent, wishes to make a complaint regarding a member of the Group then the GSL should be contacted in the first instance at the following email address: GSL@1stWeybridgeScouts.org.uk.
If a complaint, disagreement or dispute cannot be resolved informally then the issue would be formalised and elevated to a more senior, independent official through the Scout Association’s official complaints procedure.
Any questions regarding the Group constitution should be addressed to: GSL@1stWeybridgeScouts.org.uk.