Thursday, 2 June 2011


I've not posted on here about Scouts before (except maybe in passing), though volunteering for The Scout Association takes up a good deal of my time.  So here goes, I'll interview myself:

What do you do in Scouts?
I'm Assistant District Commissioner - Adult Training (ADC AT), which means that I make sure that all the adult volunteers in my District get the training that they need to do their role well.  I also encourage them to do the training on offer, and cajole them to do the bits that they have to do.

How long have you been in the Scouts?
I joined as a Venture Scout (Venture Scouting is a Section that was replaced in 2001) at the age of 15, back in 1994.  

Why do you volunteer for this organisation?
Until I joined the Venture Scouts I was a shy and quite boring teenager who spent weekends doing my homework.  Through Scouting I have made loads of friends, I went camping, kayaking, parascending, climbing and to the Alps.  I wanted to carry on in this great big family, and I wanted to give something back to an organisation that gave me so much, and help to give other young people those same opportunities.  But it isn't just about giving back, because as a volunteer I have developed leadership and team-working skills, I've been to on a team running an International event for 20,000 young people, I've developed and had the chance to hone and practise writing skills, I've been part of a team developing resources for the World Scout Bureau, I've been part of a UK team, I've made friends.  In short, I've had fun.  Now that I've been doing it for longer, I can see the bits of the organisation that are a bit rough around the edges, and so I choose roles that will make a difference, and try to make things even better.

How much time do you spend?
Actually I don't know.  There was a time (when I was single) when I worked out that I was spending at least 20 hours a week on Scouting.  That was when I was an Explorer Scout Leader, Assistant County Commissioner for Explorer Scouts, on the National Commissioner for Explorer Scouts' Support Team, and writing and editing the Explorer Scout Supplement of Scouting Magazine.  
Now my priorities have changed and family (and sanity) comes first.  I limit myself to a maximum of one evening a week and one weekend a month out at Scout meetings.  Time spent on the computer in the evenings depends on what time I have available, though I would like to say I limit that to a couple of hours a week (as if!) - if Little Sister is awake through the evenings then Scouts waits.  If not, well there's my current role - planning courses, keeping the database up to date, supporting people by newsletter, e-mail and so on; I'm also on the District Appointments Advisory Committee, the District Executive, the Search Party for the new District Commissioner, the work group looking at developing Youth Representation throughout Scouting in Scotland... hmmm... and this is all after deciding that I was going to take a break from Scouting until Little Sister was 6 months old.... ooopps!  

Do you recommend volunteering in The Scout Association?
Yes!  There are so many different roles, to fit with your interests, the time available and your skills.  You could be a treasurer, an occasional helper, a regular Leader with one of the youth Sections, an adult trainer, a skills trainer, a secretary or administrator, a commissioner (manager), a media/PR person... you name it, we've got the role for you (provided the District Commissioner is imaginative enough to use your strengths and agree to stick within whatever time you have to offer - and some haven't got the hang of this yet!).  Training is available too.  Basically, the more people volunteer for an organisation, the less everybody has to do.  Also, more and better volunteers mean more and better Scouting for more young people, and that can only be a good thing.

I'm gay / ethnic minority / disabled / old /  young / special needs / poor - can I still volunteer with The Scout Association?
Absolutely.  Scouting still has the image of being a white middle class organisation.  In fact, in many places it still is, but that isn't what we are or want to be.  The Scout Association very much wants to be representative of our society, to be more diverse and to give what Scouting has to offer to everybody.  The more diversity we get on board with our adult volunteers, the more we will be able to bridge the divide between what we are (or are perceived to be) and what we are aiming to be.

How do I sign up?
Here's The Scout Association website: - there's a button right there.

While I'm at it, here's my District website too.

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