Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Event based recruitment - Generating leads

I visited an event this weekend, it was a two day local show/festival but I was unfortunately not available to attend the Saturday only the Sunday.  On the first day there was around 6 volunteers on the "recruitment stand" and and another 10-15 volunteers scattered across 4 other stands selling everything from ice-cream to books and candy to sideshows and penny arcade games to raise funds for their local groups.  

On the Sunday the volunteers managed to get only one person to put their name to paper to receive a call/email etc. about volunteering with scouting.   On the Sunday, alone I got 24 people to do the same thing (and 13 youth, though that wasn't what I was "fishing" for).   

I was asked at the end of the day, HOW?   How did I get TWENTY FOUR to their ONE?   The day's were similar, the weather lightly worse in fact. But at the time I couldn't exactly put into words any guidance for the volunteer in charge. Since then I have thought about it and below is a first attempt to jot down some guiding notes.
  • a)      Representing scouting – be neatly dressed.   Full uniform can be a little intimidating, try the new iScout colourful T-Shirts or polo’s – scouting is fun, we should look like a fun organisation.
  • b)      Be brave, be confident -  do not be afraid to approach people.  Just think, do you have fun in Scouting?  Has it made a difference or impact on your life?  Then just think of that when you go to speak to anyone else and remember that your offering a chance for scouting to do the same for them, their child or their family.
  • c)       Open and friendly - Smile, make eye contact, stand straight, step forward with confidence  to engage passers-by.
  • d)      Don’t apologise – many people start a conversation – sorry to bother you – but …  Be proud of scouting, we have a great offering and you should know many people love scouts even if they don’t know it yet (wink).
  • e)      Ask questions to build rapport -  Hi, have you ever been a scout?  OR    Hi, is your daughter/son in scouts?   
  • f)       DO NOT attempt to explain - roles, locations, hours, commitment, training, meeting times etc. etc. unless specifically asked, even then keep it short and to the point.   Many times I see volunteers convincing leads NOT to sign up.   We need to give the DC or specifically trained development staffers or volunteer development champion the maximum opportunity to get this lead to engage in scouting as a volunteer.  To do this we need to have that lead attend either a 1-2-1 meeting or presentation about adult volunteering where all their questions will be answered OR better still to attend a local group and meet the group where they could potentially find friends and see scouting in action.  
  • g)      Are they showing interest? Try - Putting pen to paper techniques -  I usually ask “Have you ever done any volunteering?”  always asking straight after if they would consider volunteering for scouts?  This seems obvious but many volunteers simply don’t ask properly and seems to want leads to ask them “can I  volunteer?”.   Mostly the line I use is something to the effect “Can I send you some info about volunteering roles that you might find interesting?  Maybe invite you to visit a group and see the kind of fun we have?”  No?  - No problem, thanks for speaking to me, enjoy the rest of your day.   Yes?  Great, if I can just get your postcode and email address then I will send you something.
  • h)      More info. – Asking for just a postcode and email is a very easy and low commitment way for us to get what we need (some info. on them).   I have a small form designed to assist at events in guiding some questions to generate even more information from the lead at this point including: what is their interest in volunteering? Working with youth or more of an administrative, support or management role?  How often etc. (email me and I can send you the form).
  • i)        Even more info – Most people, once they are handed a form with the usual, name, address, postcode, email etc. will fill out the bulk of the form automatically.  If they don’t want to give you some information, don’t pressure them, a nice request like “ it would be great if you put your name down, so I know who I was speaking to and then I can also address it to you on the email.  Or Is this email the best or can I have your phone number as well just in case I can’t get you?
  • j)        Is it readable?  -  I have lots LOADS of leads just because of poor handwriting.  I would suggest that you read their email address, name and phone number back to them so you both know its right.  I am working on an small iPad application that will capture lead info into an online database (with an automatic email thanking them for their enquiry) to prevent many of these simple mistakes.
  • k)      Setting an expectation – I usually finish with setting an expectation for the lead.  Something like “ So, thanks for that, I will be sending you an email, as you requested, with some information of scouting in the area, and one of our volunteers will give you a call, probably this week to invite you to something fun and they can answer any questions you might have, is that OK?“  99.9% of people say YES.   I always finish with “ So lastly as I mentioned Scouting is a volunteer lead program so the person who calls you will be volunteering their time so if maybe they don’t get a chance to ring you later this week it should be early next week OK?  You know, sometimes life, family, work and stuff just gets in the way of the fun stuff.  But you will have my email, with my contact details if you need to speak to someone quickly”. 
  • l)        THANKS leaving them happy –   We need to appreciate the lead and set them up with a warm fuzzy feeling before they walk away.  I usually say something along the lines of - “thanks for offering to find out more about scouting, obviously I love the program and I hope that it will be fun for you to, thanks again, and enjoy the rest of your day”  

Any and all of these sample scripts can work for you but to get the best effect you have to either practise them a lot until they are natural or adapt them a little to your own personal style.  Being comfortable, natural and having an easy conversation is crucial to success.  If the interaction sounds too scripted then you will come across as a salesman and that of course has negative connotations we don't want associated wit the scouting movement. 

This is a small but important part of making a successful recruitment event possible.   Preplanning, training, marketing, stand design, activity/attractions design, buyer motivators, site location and many more things contribute to a recruitment events success.   Feel free to email me if you want more info.  I hope you next event if a big success. 

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Event based recruitment - Attract Vs. distract

I recently saw a post asking "Has anyone done a stall at a local event and had helpful insights into how to get the most out of such an event? I know some have hired climbing walls but that isn't an option for us at such short notice."

Event based - Attraction Vs Distraction
Event based recruitment is a great way to advertise and attract members and volunteers to our local groups. While I agree with the suggestions of many of my colleges that a great way to run an event stand is to have some form of attraction.  The truth is, this is really a distraction for the kids so you can speak to adults.  But the problem I see again and again with using a DISTRACTION like Climbing walls, bouncy castles, or stall games like a coconut shie, is that adults are in no way engaged.  Look carefully the next time you go to a show at adult lining up with their kids for an activity.  They are usually, bored, frequently annoyed if the waiting time is long and more often than not just want to entertain their child and have not interest whatsoever in what you are doing.  The alternative is to imagine some activities that both engage the interest of the adults and of the youth.  Activities that challenge their preconceived notions of what you are offering and inform and excites them.  I always look for ways to offer them some kind of benefit, education or experience.

Who & Why?
But I think we may even be getting ahead of ourselves there is more to consider before we start to create our “attraction”. Firstly what is the purpose of your attendance at the event? Who are your target market?   If you just said “everyone” then you’re already heading down the wrong track I am afraid.  The best marketing is TARGETED, try and please everybody and you will frequently please nobody.  Ask any marketing professional and they will tell you that the absolute best way to have effective marketing (and yes that what we are doing, marketing – trying to educate/attract and engage the public), the best way is to have  clear proposition (what we want) and a clear market (Who – age rage, likes, dislikes)  
If its to grow scouting youth membership then I would encourage you to incorporate some activity that showcases the youth and some possible activity that the new members would be able to participate in and/or get excited about.  Consider your audience, what will draw big crowds or teens will probably be repellent to parents with small children and vice versa.
I have an event coming up next week at a major show in the area.  With a few phone calls to the organisers I have managed to convince them to co-locate us (not too close but close enough) beside a small stage that will feature some local entertainment.  Also I managed to get us right beside a local radio station that will be broadcasting live from the event.  Some further calls and I have a number of Scout explorers and network members that are willing to perform on the stage a couple of times, and do some live radio interviews and assist  the radio station in delivering them some great fun stuff on the day.   Obviously we have chosen to pursue young adult volunteers and older range membership at this event.  But the benefits are clear, in addition to the public seeing scouts in action in a whole new way that they expect (aka a climbing wall or in tents) the scouts should get a much broader audience involved and thinking about scouting, not just at the show but also further afield.
Next time your planning an event, look for opportunity, co-locate with some local YOU groups (youth organisations in Uniform), maybe see if the local council is setting up a big stand (especially if it’s the Volunteer centre), maybe there is some charities that you could work well with? The options and hence the opportunities are endless, you just need to be creative.

(These are provided free if you could please email me any success stories or disappointment’s to so I can fine tune them and share best practise)
A scouting activity showcase could be put together like this: Ask around your groups and see what skills are available.  Potential members that are interested in scouting are also interested in scout activity so showcase some of the skills and activity that they might get to see and do. 
A bush-craft display e.g. stacking wood correctly to make a fire, how to light a fire with no matches, making a snare to catch game,  maybe top local plants and which are edible, dangerous or useful. 
There is a host of “pioneering projects” that are easy to do like a swing boat , call the Scout assoc. for more info or hit the web.
Beaver ghost stories – get a big tent and a fake fire (maybe some marshmallow’s on sticks?), all the parents and their kids can sit around and listen to some ghost stories or excerpts from the jungle book.  Maybe some mother goose stories, these are great because they have moral lesson attached.
Most of these suggestions cost very little or nothing and take up little space. 
Another idea that takes up even less space encourages maybe more adults and older participants to visit your stand.  A picture wall gets lots of attention in the right event/location - get 2-3 office style divider screens, 6ft high and 6-8 feet wide usually, and pin up a whole host of pictures, candid snaps are best, of youth in action at various events.  People love looking at photos. This type of thing really draws people in because they need to be close to see the pics.  I would probably recommend that you run a mini competition, maybe "vote for the best action shot of the year".  The public can vote and you can award a small prize to the group providing you with the most popular picture. External recognition to the groups is good and the public feedback should encourage more groups to provide better resource material year on year for your display to grow and improve free of charge.  

These are just a few of many ideas I am sure you can come up with for a dynamic and engaging scouting display. Please don't just do what every other person does and have a couple of popup banners, some brochures and maybe a climbing wall with some volunteers standing around.  Remember that Joe Public makes a split second decision upon seeing your stand, if he thinks he has seen it before then you have already lost him.  – email me any ideas you have, I would happily give you my opinion and share the best ones with all my readers and colleges across the county.

Look out for another post soonish (I am flat out with events at the moment but as soon as I can) on Event based recruitment - brand marketing, training, and engagement strategies.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Blogger: Dashboard

Power of a good turn - The Story of the Unknown Scout

One day in 1909 in London, England, An American Visitor, William D. Boyce, lost his way in a dense fog. He stopped under a street lamp and tried to figure out where he was. A boy approached him and asked if he could be of help.

"You certainly can," said Boyce. He told the boy that he wanted to find a certain business office in the centre of the city.

"I'll take you there," said the boy.

When they got to the destination, Mr Boyce reached into his pocket for a tip. But the boy stopped him.

"No thank you, sir. I am a Scout. I won't take anything for helping."

"A Scout? And what might that be?" asked Boyce.

The boy told the American about himself and about his brother scouts. Boyce became very interested. After finishing his errand, he had the boy take him to the British Scouting office.

At the office, Boyce met Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the famous British general who had founded the Scouting movement in Great Britain. Boyce was so impressed with what he learned that he decided to bring Scouting home with him.

On February 8, 1910, Boyce and a group of outstanding leaders founded the Boy Scouts of America. From that day forth, Scouts have celebrated February 8 as the birthday of Scouting in the United States.

What happened to the boy who helped Mr.Boyce find his way in the fog? No one knows. He had neither asked for money nor given his name, but he will never be forgotten. His Good Turn helped take the scouting movement international. The Boy Scout movement swiftly established itself throughout the British Empire soon after the publication of Scouting for Boys. The first recognized overseas unit was chartered in Gibraltar in 1908, followed quickly by a unit in Malta. Canada became the first overseas dominion with a sanctioned Boy Scout program, followed by Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Chile was the first country outside the British dominions to have a recognized Scouting program. The first Scout rally, held in 1909 at The Crystal Palace in London, attracted 10,000 boys and girls. By 1910, Argentina, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Malaya, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and of course the United States.

In the Scout Training Centre at Gilwell Park, London, Scouts from the United States erected a statue of an American Buffalo in honour of this unknown scout. One Good Turn to one man became a Good Turn to millions of children in American, and over 30 million others across the globe.

So, if you’re a Scout (even if you’re not) think about the fact that one good deed has changed the world for millions. Maybe you could do a few and see what happens?

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Scouting for Jobs: A guide to impress employers

Demonstrating the right attitude and skill set to get ahead – by M.Black

Young people have had a lot of bad press recently. Not only are they facing one of the most competitive job markets in a generation – with nearly 70 applications for every graduate vacancy - they must also a barrage of claims from employers that they don’t have the necessary skills to get ahead in the workplace.

The education system is under attack from budget cuts leading to bigger class sizes and more children leaving with poor results.  Last year, Sir Terry Leahy, the outgoing chief executive of Tesco, famously denounced the UK for having “woefully low” education standards. And, it’s not just schools that have faced criticism, university courses too are becoming too detached from developing the skills that employers actually need or want.

Employers across the country are complaining that candidates commonly lack the life skills and attributes that employers are looking for.  But, while our education system is failing in developing these “soft skills” Scouting is accelerating with more projects, opportunities, refined training, more young people & adults joining the program every year.

Just in case you’re not clear what “Soft skills” are, here is a little more explanation. 
Soft skills are sometimes broken down into personal attributes, such as:
Optimism, common sense, responsibility, a sense of humour, integrity,
time-management, motivation.
and interpersonal abilities, such as:
Empathy, leadership, communication, good manners, sociability,
the ability to teach others.

It's often said that hard skills (qualifications or practical experience) will get you into an interview but you need soft skills to get, and keep, the job you want.

A number of the training courses we offer our volunteers are able to be accredited under The National Open College Network (NOCN), the UK's foremost provider of accreditation services for adult learning.  You can then apply for up to two full awards:
- Providing Voluntary Youth Services: aimed at Section Leaders and those working directly with Young People and is a full award at Level 2
- Managing Voluntary Youth Services: aimed at those in management roles in Scouting such as Commissioners and Group Scout Leaders. Also a full award at Level 2.

Training in Scouting can also allow you to receive further external recognition like membership to:

Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (ITOL): the professional body which recognises those specialising in training, development and occupational learning.

Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM): The Institute of Leadership and Management is a professional body for managers.

Employers’ number one complaint is that young people lack practical experience. Joining scouting as an adult volunteer gives you the opportunity (even while you still study) to get the practical experience that you lack at the weekends, after hours, anytime you can or a willing to take part.  This flexible volunteering, coupled with the chance to be part of a variety of projects (Administration, events, local or international expeditions, strategic planning, IT, marketing and more) is a great way of preparing your CV ready for interviews. Oh, and you might even have some fun while you’re doing it.

The first step is for you to take some level of personal responsibility, register on the national site  An experienced local volunteer will call you.  Give them an idea of what you’re looking for, and be open to trying something new or a little different. 

Here’s a quick list of what our volunteers have told us they got out of volunteering:

Practical skills
a) Ability to plan systematically
b) Appreciation of the importance of safety and procedures you use to ensure the safety of yourself and others
c) Knowledge of First Aid and any formal training in this field.

Working as a team
a) Working in a variety of teams e.g. Sections, Groups, Districts, Counties
b) Supporting others in their role, knowing the value of teamwork
c) Valuing others for their skills and abilities and supporting those with Special Needs.

Management skills
a) Leadership skills, knowing how to lead teams, supervise the group and individuals to get the job done
b) Being able to monitor, evaluate, and review performance
c) Being able to manage large projects and often large groups of people.

a) Being effective in meetings, taking minutes, putting your view across and representing others
b) Writing plans, programmes, reports and newsletters.

a) Budgeting, keeping accounts
b) Securing funding from outside bodies and fundraising.

You will not only receive training and mentoring from experienced volunteers but you may be able to join our training team to deliver some of that training. 

We have “facilitators and “train the trainers” courses and fully documented modular training processes that could give any future academic or teacher a real advantage in their future career.

Some of the skills listed above you may already have, some of them you may gain as part of your role in Scouting. Either way it is important to remember the skills you can pick up while having a laugh, hiking, climbing, camping or whatever you do in Scouting are going to make you stand out in a crowd, and could make the difference in getting the job you want.

CV Aid - The wider implications of Scouting Item Code FS 500004 Nov/03 Edition no 1

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Brand Management

Hi Scouters,


If like me you have had trouble sourcing all the fonts etc. to conform to the Scouting associations BRAND guide, help is at hand.  I have compiled all the Section and Association Fonts into one place. (see the end of this blog for the download link).  But before you rush off downloading and applying time and effort into conforming to the Scout Associations design I thought I would take a little time to inquire WHY?


Brands have become increasingly important in today's competitive world both for competitors and for consumers of products.  The Scout brand is part of our Intellectual Property.   It has been developed by the millions of scouts around the world over the last 100+ years and needs to be protected and nurtured.  The Dictionary of Business and Management defines a brand as: "A name, sign or symbol used to identify items or services of the seller(s) and to differentiate them from goods of competitors." However a brand is more than a mere visual element of design. It is a collection of perceptions in the mind of the public. It a symbol, if you like it’s the embodiment of all we are and all we do..


The Scout Association and world scouting body invest heavily into managing consumers perception of the scout brand.  Also they invested heavily in the initial positioning in the market so as to distinguish it from other competing brands. Brand Management begins with a branding strategy. Brand management involves building an emotional brand strategy. This is because people have a tendency to build a strong attachment to a brand. Brands evoke emotion and a good brand management strategy can increase brand loyalty among consumers. The perceptions in the minds of the consumers are in some ways more important than the products themselves. Another critical part of a brand management strategy is building trust in the brand. This can be achieved by delivering high quality products and also by creating products with an appealing design. A good brand management strategy involves making sure that the logo of the brand depicted on various products appeals to consumers.


Scouting is a strong recognisable brand with clear emotional attachments and this makes it attractive to external groups for co-branding, sub-branding and hybrid branding. These are all techniques that help companies reach out to new customers and leverage their own brands, thereby earning them more revenue. Our Brand managers are constantly striving to ensure that Scouting’s brand is not misused or commercialised. But we must all be conscious of not intentionally or unintentionally dilute and tarnish the brand image or knowingly allow others to do the same.


For brand management to be successful, it is also important to possess the right attitude. Brands must be constantly monitored and violations effectively enforced.  So help us ensure that Scouting and all the hard work of the generations of Scouts an Volunteers around the world doesn’t go to waste, be a strong supporter of Brand management.  Educate and police brand application and commercialisation in your Group, District, County or Region.




Yours in Scouting,


Matthew Black,
Development Officer GLMW


Thursday, 3 June 2010

Scouting Email, eZine's, eNews tips and tricks

Do you send a lot of email or publish an eZine or eNews for your scout district or county?

After sending a load of emails of to various people, I thought how much easier it is to communicate today. I can email any documents to my Leaders that they may need in a fraction of a second. I can also send information to multiple people in one go. Isn’t it great?

However, I have to remember I can’t just rely on email. Not only do some of our Leaders not have access but many don’t check it as often.  There is also the trap of spam filters and even just plain getting lost in the crowd.  I and not alone in receiving around 30-80 emails a day.  So if I am particularly busy with appointments for a week or two so I can find anywhere from 200-1000 unread email in my box. 

So, my advice to all you busy technophiles don’t just send email, grab the phone sometimes it is in most cases still the best way to communicate.

Oh, also another tip, read receipts for email will let you know if that important message got through but don’t over use it (I hate them on non-important stuff it costs me time and energy).  For  eNews or eZine add link tracking, I use tinyURL to publish eNews headlines with a little added content to entice the reader.  This will give you a  quick and dirty way of reporting on how many of those thousands of email newsletters you sent out were actually read.  AND what parts were interesting enough to get users to “click-through” to your website to read the whole post.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Use experts

If you can afford it use a professional to do the critical tasks in your organization.  You may have a great volunteer that has put himself forward to do the county website but for the small extra cost of a professional you can have 100X's better results. The Scout association provides a lot of great generic support for example branding and consistency support for messaging.  In GLMW we could benefit from a redesigned ITC infrastructure.  Further, a coordinated rollout to the districts for a communications overhaul  that centralises all contact data and volunteer opportunities for example would be a much more effective system than the disparate system that exists in most areas.

Matthew Black - ZQ6ZAZQDJ97S

Friday, 14 May 2010

Scouting and Mosaic piece together plan for more Muslim Scout volunteers

Before I get into the head office piece I have in by county an excellent representation of Muslims in our membership, that said unfortunately the actual members are very separate and don’t integrate well with the rest of the district or county.  I have not yet had time but tis on my to-do list to see if this is just another solo group (we have a number) or its religious or cultural reasons they aren’t integrating.  Still Kudos for scouting and mosaic to get some action together. 

For my part I already have a meeting scheduled with a mosaic member and he is looking to become one of our senior county leadership.  Hopefully this is the first of a lot of cultural integration and breaking up the still persistent but sometimes true perception that scouting is the domain of the white middleclass. 

For GLMW we are definitely not “the domain of the white middleclass” we have great diversity even if at times we struggle with enthusiasm and brotherhood.

The Scout Association today launched a campaign with Mosaic, a charity founded by HRH The Prince of Wales, to encourage more members of Muslim communities to become Scouts volunteers.
The campaign aims to open more opportunities for young community leaders to experience the adventure of Scouting and help address the urgent need for adult volunteers to meet Scouting’s 33,500 joining list. More than 200 leading members of the Muslim community will attend the London launch event this evening.
Mosaic believes that the best way to promote higher levels of civic engagement is by encouraging people to become Scout volunteers. Like Scouting, it aims to provide opportunities and positive role models for young people. 

Community charity
This is the first time that the Association has partnered with a community charity championed by Muslims in the London region in such a way. Having the ability to access Mosaic’s network which covers London, South East England, North West England, Yorkshire and the Midlands is particularly exciting. The Movement receives regular requests from faith-based groups for new Scout Groups - highlighting the need for leaders and the difference that this support could make to communities. There are currently 29 UK Scout Groups which have predominantly Muslim membership.
The initiative is the first annual volunteering campaign run by Mosaic and marks a departure from its usual focus on mentoring. Mosaic is the first Muslim-led organisation to promote Muslim communities’ involvement in Scouting.
To launch the campaign, Mosaic is holding a networking event for 200 of its mentors and volunteers this evening at the Royal Commonwealth Society, where it will publicly promote the Scouts' volunteering campaign for the first time. The charity’s network includes many of the UK’s most successful young Muslim professionals whose skills it hopes to harness for the benefit of young people through Scouting.
Muslim volunteers

Moadh Kheriji, Chairman of The Scout Association's Muslim Scouts Fellowship, said: 'In launching this campaign and promoting volunteering in Scouting, Mosaic has responded to a very urgent need for new volunteers in the UK.'
Jonathan Freeman, National Operations Director UK, Mosaic, added: 'Scouting is a well-loved British institution that teaches young people valuable lessons and develops key skills that will help them through life. Mosaic’s purpose is to provide inspiration and role models to young people. It seems only natural that we urge more people to take up a leadership role and inspire the thousands of children that are currently without a leader and therefore unable to take part.'

Bear Grylls is also supportive of the campaign: 'As UK Chief Scout, my aim is to encourage masses of adults in the UK to volunteer with the Scouts. Mosaic’s work to engage Muslim communities in Scouts volunteering is a fantastic idea. I would encourage Mosaic’s supporters to put themselves forward for an adventure that can make such a positive difference.'
Tonight guests will hear from John May, a member of the World Scout Committee and Chief Executive of Young Enterprise UK Scout Association. Ten young Scout ambassadors from across the UK will also attend to discuss their experience of Scouting first-hand. 
More information

Find out more about Mosaic and how you can join the adventure of Scouting.

Yours in Scouting,
Matthew Black,

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Rant alert on Growing the Scouting movement and lack luster volunteers

If I can’t have a rant in my own Blog I don’t know where I can….so.


After yet another lack lustre comment from my Leadership over new initiatives to grow scouting.  I am incensed and taking it out on my (currently one lol) loyal readership.


I am firm believer (and have proven that it works) that every child comes with a leader in waiting, it's simply our job to create a role that that parent wants to step into.


The Scouting movement must grow.  Historically scouting in the UK used to be much higher in density, other countries have ridiculously higher penetration/population.  On the world stage I think the UK is #15 or so.


I think that there is tons of scope for growth, new groups, new sections and more diverse ways of delivering scouting like community units, home based units business based units.  All of which I have started in the US and none of which I am aware exist in this county. 


Honestly I am a bit sick of leadership complaining about the lack of volunteers. All this negativity while, at exactly the same time, the parents of all the children in the program, children on waiting lists etc. are constantly being fed into a system that has a "childcare mentality" of what scouting is.  I see almost all the parents of our scouting participants “dropping off” their children.  To me Scouting (for the parents) is simply one step away from putting the kids in front of the TV or Xbox.


For me the scouting program is about, at is core, involvement.   


I have seen and hear tons of hard evidence and millions of stories all about the fantastic difference in the lives of youth the scouting program has made.  The fantastic impact that their scout leader has had in their life.  The fantastic experience it has been for long time scouters to deliver the program.  But at the same time as we KNOW how great it is I have to fight with entrenched leadership to open new units. Fight with existing leaders about giving parents one of the greatest gifts they could get in their adult life - a chance to know their child in a whole new way, to be their child hero and role model.  In my opinion the problem, well the biggest problem, to having loads of volunteers is the existing culture and insular attitude of our current volunteers.


I have created a set of resources, funded vehicles for growing the movement and challenging the attitudes and entrenched resignation to volunteer recruitment.  BUT ultimately my opinion, informed and supported as it may be, counts for almost nothing.  As a volunteer lead organisation I cannot make one tiny iota of difference if there isn't some leadership and engagement to any initiatives I suggest.


Still, I have meet all my District Commissioners and I try to encourage and support them in trying something new.  It must be something new because everyone knows that " business as usual" is simply going to give us exactly the same result i.e. Last year we had negative growth.


Thanks for reading my first and hopefully last rant in my blog.. lol I feel better already J

Young adults want more from a Scouting program

A brief inquiry into Scouting and its value to young adults

Scouting loses massive amounts of kids from the movement (our future leaders) once they move to secondary school and college.  As a “product” we as the scouting movement “sell” scouting as Fun & Adventure. That is fine for a younger audience but I would contest that it is enough for the young adult in today’s world.  So, what are young adults looking for that scouting isn’t providing?

I think there is a case to have our experts at the Scouting HQ to invest some time and money into having a much stronger “value propositions” for young adults and their parents on the topic of Career value from scouting.  In Hong Kong the scouting program is almost ESSENTIAL to getting a top job of university placement.  The proven values and skills young adults get out of their quality program is a valued commodity within this ultra-competitive job market.  The US has a similar regard for their eagle scouts, other organisations around the world also have similar cultural attitude to scouting as a value to careers.


Adecco the world’s largest human resources company has invested millions in cold hard CASH into the World Scouting Organisation to forward the movement.  When quizzed on their support the VP said that he recognised that scouting delivered the soft skills like leadership or confidence that was missing from conventional education curriculums.  Their customers (most of the largest corporations in the world) were seriously looking for these skills in their future employees.  The clear message for me is that we clearly have something to offer young adults and their education/career focused parents apart from “come along to scouts for a good time”.  But is the UK scouting movement even capable of turning out the kind of program countries like Thailand, Japan, Denmark, Hong Kong, and the US deliver to their participants that makes them so in demand from top employers? – any comments?


I am working on a document/project that is a study into the application of the Dept. of Children, schools and Families and their 14-18 reform initiative. Basically they are looking to Industry to provide a step up to workplace training program they loosely refer to as "the diploma" and they are seeking organisation to use existing resource for on the job training and experience.  This is a GREAT way for us to "sell" our Explorer and especially young leaders program to youth and parents. 


The premise is as follows: We already provide leadership, confidence etc. (the attributes of the scouting program to youth) but with only a tiny bit of extra effort we could incorporate a "training program" that basically consists of the existing young leaders program, 1 1/2 hrs. per week unit volunteer work and another 1-2 days training on a more specific subject that interests the participant e.g. charity administration, event organisation, camp management etc.  This would then open the doors to thousands of kids who are actively seeking practical work experience to put in their resume, from a world recognised organisation, with definite practical benefits to those looking for any job in volunteer management, charity or personnel management careers.  For the Scouting association it’s a little paperwork, a tiny bit of management for an LDO and Voila' we have multiple mini leaders assisting leadership all over the county.   Potential members, PLUS they will open the doors for us to their schools, colleges, and social networks for further recruitment opportunities.


Anyway this mini project of mine is just a bit of exploration into a concept from scout, explorer, and network participant feedback that they are looking for not just a good time anymore, kids and their parents are looking for VALUE from all their activities.  Scout explorer programs can offer it, if we want to put that extra little bit of effort in for them to achieve it.


Oh , almost forgot there is also a whole thing about accreditation for training that we provide (and the “on the job” experience this could offer explorers would also qualify) being put into the new education credit scheme.  This basically means that if you do accredited training then you can take that and apply it to a registered course e.g. Scouting for 1 year might get you 50% of a diploma in child welfare work.


Please feel free to contact me if this is something you are also interested in and I will see if we can collaborate on this potential discussion paper.


Yours in Scouting,

Matthew Black

Development Officer GLMW