If you are new to Scouting, either as a parent, guardian or an adult volunteer it can all seem a bit overwhelming, with the inevitable acronyms that come with any organisation. We have put together a few lines here to try to take some of the mystery out of those first few weeks.
Hampshire is UK Scouting’s largest county with over 25,000 members. It is headed up by a County Commissioner (CC) who has a team of assistants (ACC) specializing in areas of Scouting, such as International events, adult training and the five Scout Sections. A small administration team provide professional support from the County Office at Ferny Crofts Activity Centre in the New Forest. Twenty seven Districts, led by District Commissioners (DC) divide the County, with Eling Sea Scouts being in New Forest North District. A small number of Groups make up each District, and these are led by a Group Scout Leader (GSL). Each of the Scouting sections will have a Leader (Scout Leader (SL), Beaver Leader (BL) etc) with assistants who help run meetings and events.
The County, each District and Group have an Executive Committee. The Group Executive Committee assists the GSL with the management of the Group, concentrating on such things as accommodation, fundraising, compliance with legislation and financial management. Groups are run as Charities; some are registered with the Charity Commission (our number is 302268) and have to comply with Commission rules, including returning annual accounts. At the Annual General Meeting reports on the Group’s activities and financial status are presented and officers are elected to the committee.
While Section Leaders wear uniforms, Groups will rely on any number of non-uniformed volunteer helpers, who may look after equipment, help with fundraising, building maintenance or provide specialist training skills, such as climbing or sailing. Adult volunteers will be required to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and basic child protection training at the start. Training for volunteers both Uniformed and non-Uniformed is provided through Hampshire Scouts and is free to volunteers. Much of it relates to leading activities, such as boating, camping (nights away), mountaineering, but training is also given in skills such as how to run safe activities, working with adults, leadership skills, instructing and working on the Executive Committee.
Safety of the young members and the adult volunteers is paramount. Hence the focus on training for volunteers (currently 38 modules are listed), ensuring that everyone remains safe during section meetings as well as any outdoor activities. As a Sea Scout Group we have to assess the lake for its suitability for the type of boating sessions we run. Leaders and volunteers are regularly assessed to ensure they have appropriate and current skills to deliver the boating programme, residential and camping events as well as hikes and other activities.