If the standard model for running a section is for the whole of a section to meet once a week during term time on a weekday with (for the most part) the same leaders then, for the purpose of this exercise, everything else is ‘Alternative’
Some of the alternatives are below and some sections and groups use a combination of them.
- Sections that don’t meet every week
- Sections that meet with other sections
- Sections that meet on the weekend
- Sections that meet for a different length of time
East Sheen Scout Group, Richmond upon Thames District
What’s different? The Cub and Scout section meet alternate weeks. The same leaders are there each week but one week it’s Cubs and the next it’s Scouts. They don’t need different leaders for each section.
Leader Lynn Milner said ‘What is interesting is the reaction of the parents. They are very happy about it and it seems to take the pressure off homework. It seems an ideal solution for a limited leader team and means that as they always meet on the same night the transition from Cubs to Scouts is virtually seamless.’
Sittingbourne District Explorers
What’s different? The Young Leaders Unit meets every half term, alternating from one end of the District to the other and can be held on any day of the week - either during the day or in the evening. The meeting is specifically aimed at young leaders and they work on the Young Leader training modules.
1st Gillingham Scouts, Kent
The troop of 45 meets weekly for 3 hours. Leader and ACC Scouts, Dean Harding, said that they were getting so big they were thinking of splitting in two. However they experimented with a longer session and found that made it easier for the leaders to deliver good Scouting.
7th Sutton Coldfield (235th Birmingham)
What’s different? The Scout section now meet one full Saturday a month as well as the Monday before the meeting for planning and preparation. It means they get out a lot more ‘doing what Scouting is really about’ rather than being in the HQ building. The leaders can both attend on the Saturday and the young leaders have their meeting on Fridays and so get ready for the Saturday’s activities with the Scouts.
Leader Nigel Speakman said ‘Our Scout section was dwindling, I was running it myself and the joy of Scouting was ebbing away. So I rearranged our meetings to one full Saturday a month and we have bounced back’.
Demelza House, Children’s Hospice near Sittingbourne
What’s different? All 3 sections meet together fortnightly on a Saturday. Some of the programme is done jointly and then other activities adapted to the sections. The number of young people is usually quite small and needs a high leader ratio. However this means Scouting can reach young people who might otherwise miss out.
What’s Different? There are two parts to the Group. One meets at the hospital each Wednesday to include all sections and any child on the ward. The other part runs at a special needs school called Clare School. This runs on the second Saturday of the month and is just for Scouts.
1st North Walsham Beavers, Norfolk
There are quite a few Beaver colonies that meet on a Saturday and North Walsham was the first in Norfolk. They already had a thriving group but the Colony was full and had a long waiting list. GSL Buzz Burrell said ‘One point which I think is worth a mention is the new Leaders recruited worked full time and Scouting on Saturdays gave them the opportunity to plan and attend Beavers without rushing home from work, missing meals etc. just to be there on time’. Another advantage for leaders is that they don’t have to find time on the weekend as well as a week night for outings. Buzz gives full credit to the enthusiasm of the leaders who got it going and made waiting lists a thing of the past.