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1 unit F: planning scouts.org.uk/gslsupport 1 Your Virtual Induction GSL Support unit F: planning

2 Introduction Welcome to unit F of Your Virtual Induction. This unit takes a comprehensive look at planning and examining various techniques that may prove helpful in your role as Group Scout Leader (GSL). In Scouting we are always planning, it s the next meeting night, the next camp or the next activity. Often we don t take time out to look at where the Group is as a whole, and where it ought to be. To do this, we need to look at development planning, succession planning and the GSL s responsibility when it comes to programme planning. Baden-Powell (B-P) is often quoted as saying no plans, no progress. Without an idea of where we want to be, we cannot possibly hope to improve or grow. We all want to provide Scouting to as many young people as possible and if we don t take the time to plan it, we won t achieve it. Development planning Whether planning a programme, a camp or your Unit s future, you need simple and realistic targets to ensure the Unit doesn t eventually shrink and close. This toolkit is yours to use, to help you plan the continued success of your Unit. There is also help available in your area and from the HQ Development Service. Be SMART Before we look at how to put a development plan together, let s ensure the targets we reach for are as realistic as possible; this makes the whole process much easier in the long term. Make your targets: Specific Measurable Aligned Relevant Time-bound We need a new Assistant Explorer Leader (YL) S M A R T We will recruit one new adult for the Young Leader Unit. When their CRB check is returned and they have received their appointment, the target is reached. This task is linked to one of the Movement s National Objectives. The new adult will help us meet the future demand of young people, identified by the joining list. We will run this task for eight weeks, with a deadline of XX/XX/XXXX If you use this system for setting targets, you are far more likely to succeed. Because you have clearly identified when the target is reached, you know exactly when to close the task and not waste extra resources by keeping it open for longer than normal. By making it time-bound you also know when to stop if you are not having any success, so the task can be reviewed and a new approach taken. Crucially, you are not pressing on with something that might never work, and wasting your time. (We use this SMART mnemonic in a development context - to encourage the linking of objectives across the whole of Scouting) 2 Your Virtual Induction GSL Support unit F: planning

3 What goes in to a development plan? Development plans do not need to be long, complicated documents that go on for pages and pages. Some of the best and most effective plans are the short and simple ones. Be realistic, what can you achieve this year? There are two main sources that can contribute to a development plan, one is the RAG review, and the other is a SWOT analysis of your Unit. Elements are taken from both, prioritised, and then some items are placed on your development plan. RAG review S W R A G O T SWOT analysis û ü û û Planning matrix Development plan 3 Your Virtual Induction GSL Support unit F: planning

4 First, we need to take a look at where we are right now. We will explore two ways of doing this: using a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and a Red Amber Green (RAG) review. There are many other ways, but we ll concentrate on these two, using an imaginary Group as an example. SWOT analysis A SWOT analysis looks at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to a Group. For example: STRENGTHS 2 Beaver Colonies 2 Cub Packs 1 Scout Troop 1 Explorer Unit in partnership OPPORTUNITIES New school opening More housing being built in the town WEAKNESSES 21 six-year-olds on waiting list Cub Packs full 6 on Scout Troop waiting list THREATS Other local providers of youth activities, attracting potential young people and adults At first glance the example Group featured looks really healthy. They have plenty of adults currently volunteering, and all the sections are full with waiting lists for Beavers and Scouts. The trouble is, they currently have enough Beavers to open a Colony, but if they do that, where will their two full Cub Packs go? Also, the Scout Troop will not be able to offer all of the Cubs a place next year. There is definitely room for growth and that needs to be planned for. Even the most successful Groups can develop. For those struggling it is just as important to plan ahead. RAG review The other tool we have available to us is a RAG Review. The RAG review is a simple set of criteria which you can check your Unit against. There are a number of categories down the left hand side, and each one has three statements next to it. Each statement corresponds to either Red, Amber or Green. Read all three and decide which one is the closest match to your Unit. Put the corresponding colour in your result column. At the end there are some blank areas, giving you the flexibility to add in local, specific issues that may affect your Unit. The last row is for your overall score. This is simply the RAG colour your Unit got the most of. This is not an indication of how good you are as a GSL; it is simply a way for Districts and Counties to coordinate where they should support development. Your District Explorer Scout Commissioner or District Commissioner may ask for your overall score, or a copy of your completed development pack. This will help them build the District development plan or make them aware of local issues. Please note that this is a generic set of criteria and your Unit s particular circumstance may slightly alter the results for one or two elements. If you can t decide which statement is the closest match for your group, try one of the following: Repeat the exercise, either independently or as a group, and find out what the consensus of opinion is. Speak to a member of the local or HQ Development Service. Always err on the side of caution only choose a statement if your Group meets it entirely, or if you could meet it quite quickly. Remember Red isn t a sign of failure, merely an honest opinion of where you are now and a good opportunity for development. Get a copy of The Scout Association s RAG review tool from your relevant Regional Development Team/Country Headquarters (see details at end of this unit). 4 Your Virtual Induction GSL Support unit F: planning

5 Converting assessment into a plan Now that we have had a good hard look at ourselves, we can move forward. We can t measure our success unless we use a tool like this, as we won t know where we started from. We should see this process as an opportunity to improve Be sensible and keep your aspirations at a reasonable level. Look at quick fixes first. What can you do with a short agenda point at a meeting? Our example Group has a good fundraising team who plan events. However, they don t let their Section Leaders know about these events in time to publicise them, so they get a very disappointing turnout. A quick solution would be to let the leadership team know what is going on in plenty of time. Clear lines of communication are vital to ensuring that everyone knows what they have to do in order to make events successful. Planning matrix After dealing with the quick fixes, we must then prioritise the rest of our ideas. One way of doing this is by using a planning matrix. It helps us to focus on what we are doing and when. To begin, write all the development points on post-it notes. The development points are the things that you have decided to do to raise the Group s overall status from one colour to another, from red to amber for example. Our example Group has a couple of sections that are struggling to understand the Balanced Programme. You may decide to arrange a refresher locally with the Section Leaders. This is what you prioritise in the matrix. You look at two things: how urgent it is, and how important it is. Once you have all your post-it notes, draw a window on a large sheet of paper, then sit down with the leaders and the Executive committee and prioritise. Everyone will have different opinions. By using the post-it notes everyone will be able to discuss where each point should go. As you go through all the development points you will find that discussion points link together making one idea which covers several topics. This could alter the priority of the idea. For example, a Group camp could cover several areas: nights away opportunity giving leaders experience towards gaining their own permit improving section links improving communication between sections building teamwork within the leadership team. This one thing covers so many positive aspects that it would be beneficial to prioritise it. Be realistic. Highlighting the need for a Group camp in November will probably mean that it isn t going to happen until the following summer. This makes it really important but not urgent. Start planning now, but accept that it won t be completed any time soon. Ask yourself if there is something else that you could fit in while planning this. There are no right or wrong answers during this process. The main thing is to let everyone have their say and show that their contributions are valued. The plan Having used the planning matrix to prioritise our tasks, we should now have our development plan. Choose the first three or four tasks that you have identified and then place them into an action plan. Make sure that you break down the subject in hand into smaller tasks. Make sure that one person is charged with overseeing the project. This doesn t mean doing it all by themselves. It could mean putting together a team for larger projects. Part of the plan must show when you expect the task/project to be completed, and also show review dates so that you can ensure the action stays on track for completion. It s also a good idea to show an outcomes column so that you can record what worked and what didn t. Review the plan regularly. Short reviews perhaps at every Leaders Meeting will make it a less onerous task and make it easier to keep everything on track. As one activity is completed add the next to the plan, this allows for continued development of the Group. 5 Your Virtual Induction GSL Support unit F: planning

6 Succession planning This kind of planning is about communication and knowing your Group. This knowledge will allow you to anticipate the future needs of your sections. To successfully plan ahead, you will need to be creative and flexible. You will need to look at adults needs as well as the needs of the young people. This will have an impact on the development of the Group and should be reflected in development planning. For example, arranging Group Camp when the Scout Leader is on honeymoon might not be such a good idea if you want them to organise the pioneering activity. Knowing that in 18 months there will be no places at Scouts unless some leave mid-term might mean that you need to start recruiting adults now to support a second Troop. We should not be precious when we re talking about sections and should open and close them as the need arises. The critical mass of a section needs to remain at a certain level to be able to maintain an exciting programme. If we need two Troops this year and only one next year, why not provide that? In order to do this you could run the same programme on two Troop nights. There is more than one solution to every problem and it is only by planning far enough in advance that we can hope to manage the situation. Don t be afraid to think a little differently and ask around the District for advice. Programme planning It is the responsibility of the GSL to ensure that sections are providing a Balanced Programme. There are many tools to enable you to do this and by using one of them you will begin to understand how a programme is built in each section. Resources are there to assist with programme planning and are especially useful for new leaders or for emergency programme ideas. Programmes Online (POL) is an online planning tool available to all adults in Scouting. Users can search for new ideas and submit their own successful activities to share with other leaders. You are also able to create your programme weeks in advance and store it there. Providing a Balanced Programme for young people is one of the most important parts of a leader s role and it is vital that all young people have access to a great programme. One way of recognising a young person s achievement, is by awarding badges. To gain the Chief Scout s Award, a young person has to complete a certain number of Challenge Awards. Each of the Challenges links back to a Programme Zone - this is an excellent way to ensure your leaders are providing a Balanced Programme. It is also important to remember that Scouting can be a great asset to a young person s CV. It can demonstrate a variety of skills and qualities that they have developed over time. Colony/Pack/Troop Essentials The Colony/Pack/Troop Programme The Colony/Pack/Troop Programme Plus (volumes 1&2) Available from IMPORTANCE HIGH LOW IN THE BIN! DO IT NOW! FS310607: How to Prioritise F LOW HIGH URGENCY [Adapted from the Stephen Covey time management matrix] 6 Your Virtual Induction GSL Support unit F: planning

7 Notes Although in some parts of the British Isles, Scout Counties are known as Areas or Islands and in one case Bailiwick for ease of reading this resource simply refers to County/Counties. In Scotland there is no direct equivalent to County or Area. In Scotland Scouting is organised into Districts and Regions, each with distinct responsibilities. Some County functions are the responsibility of Scottish Regions, whilst others lie with Scottish Districts. The focus of responsibility is outlined in Scottish Variations from POR. Further support Support is always available from the Scout Information Centre; they can be contacted by phone, or by post: t: e: p: The Information Centre Gilwell Park Chingford London E4 7QW For insurance enquiries, please contact Unity Insurance Services at Support is also available from the Regional Development Service (England), who can be contacted through the Information Centre or by e: In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales contact the Country Headquarters at: e: e: e: 7 Your Virtual Induction GSL Support unit F: planning

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