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Thank you for Volunteering

Welcome to Mersey Weaver. Here’s some useful information to get you started

Getting started

We are so pleased that you’ve decided to join us.

01. Making you feel welcome

When you start a new job, someone will tell you about the organisation you have joined, where you fit, what is expected and where you can get the support and skills to do your job.  Taking on a role in Scouting is no different!

This guide is designed to help you through the first few months of your Induction as a new volunteer with Scouting. Your Mentor will also offer you support throughout this time, so if you have any questions about anything in these pages feel free to contact them in the first instance.

If you have not yet been allocated a Mentor within your Group, please speak to your Group Scout Leader/Explorer Scout Commissioner/Manager or District Appointment Secretary to find out more.

Please feel free to either work your way through the pages in order or jump around to different sections. We hope that after reading through these pages you will:

  • feel welcome and comfortable as a new member of Scouting;
  • be excited about our programme;
  • know a bit more about Scouting history and traditions;
  • know how to access training and other learning opportunities;
  • know where to find the resources that can help you along your Scouting Adventure.

Please remember that you are not alone!  The people in your team were new to Scouting once and know exactly how you feel. The Group is your number one resource and support network.  Please do ask lots of questions and let them know if you are having any difficulties finding answers to your queries.

02. What is Scouting?

As Scouts we believe in preparing young people with skills for life.

We encourage young people to do more, learn more and be more. Each week we help over 460,000 young people aged 6-25 enjoy fun and adventure while developing the skills they need to succeed, now and in the future.

We’re talking about teamwork, leadership and resilience – skills that have helped Scouts become everything from teachers and social workers to astronauts and Olympians. We help young people develop and improve key life skills.

We believe in bringing people together. We celebrate diversity and stand against intolerance, always. We’re part of a worldwide movement, creating stronger communities and inspiring positive futures.

Young people in Scouting take part in an exciting programme of activities from kayaking to coding. They develop character skills like resilience, initiative and tenacity; employability skills such as leadership, teamwork and problem solving and practical skills like cooking and first aid.  Research proves it really works.  A 2018 report says Scouts are 17% more likely to show leadership skills and work well in teams. They’re a third more likely to support their communities too.

And all this is made possible by the efforts of our dedicated teams of volunteers –  people just like you!  So thank you.

03. How do we Scout?

There are over 1200 young people involved in Scouting in Mersey Weaver, spread across five age ranges in sections:

Our programme

Our programme describes the diverse and exciting selection of activities and experiences provided in our youth sections for young people aged 6 to 25 years old. It is based around three main themes: outdoor and adventure, world and skills.

The programme should be delivered in a balanced way that incorporates elements from each theme. The programme is designed to progress through the sections to offer young people an appropriate level of challenge.

We can provide lots of support in planning your section’s programme.  In the first instance your Group Scout Leader and Section leaders will be able to offer guidance. Your District team will offer opportunities to share ideas, take part in District events and provide support for activities within your meetings. Your Wood Badge training will also provide you with lots of ideas, resources and peer support.

Badges and Awards

Scouting has a great variety of badges and awards for each section which recognise the efforts of young people.  The wide range of topics and skills means that every interest can be catered for whilst ensuring young people can try new experiences and learn new skills.   The badge requirements are versatile and can usually be completed in various fun, inventive and interesting ways. They can provide a great basic structure to a section programme and are a great way of motivating young people to take part and try as many new activities as possible.

Top Awards for each section are a culmination of the efforts of young people and leaders, providing a high quality, balanced programme.

04. Our structure

Cheshire is one of 160 Scout Counties across the UK. Each Scout County is divided into a number of Scout Districts. Within a Scout District there are a number of Scout Groups, Explorer Scout Units (14 to 18 years) and a Scout Network (18 to 25 years).

Cheshire Scouts supports Scouting in more than one hundred communities providing fun, challenges and adventure for more than 10,000 young people aged 6 to 25.

In Cheshire we have 10 Scout Districts:

  • Alderley
  • Chester
  • Ellesmere Port & Neston
  • Knutsford
  • Macclesfield & Congleton
  • Mersey Weaver
  • Mid Cheshire
  • South West Cheshire
  • Warrington East
  • Warrington West

Scout Groups are made up of our three youngest age groups (we call them Sections) – Beavers (6 to 8 years), Cubs (8 to 10 years) and Scouts (10 to 14 years). 

Our volunteer leaders are responsible for planning and delivering the programme to the young people in their Section. Beaver, Cub and Scout leaders are supported by a Group Scout Leader (GSL).

The Group Scout Leader is the lead volunteer in the Scout Group and is responsible for making sure the Group has a team of suitable adults who are well trained, supported with the resources they need to run amazing programmes.

The District Explorer Scout Commissioner is the lead volunteer and manager for all Explorer Units in the District and is responsible for making sure the District has a team of suitable adults who are well trained, supported with the resources they need to run amazing programmes.

The District Commissioner (DC), is the lead volunteer in the Scout District and is responsible for the provision of Scouting in the area the Scout District covers. The DC supports the GSLs and also leads a District Team which is responsible for supporting the leaders in the Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scout sections. 

The County Commissioner (CC) and County Team provide support on adventurous activities, adult support and training, growth, volunteer recruitment, DofE Scheme, Youth Commissioners and YouShape. They provide programme support to Districts and for international activities,

The Executive Committee: each Group, District and County elects a body of trustees including a Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and a number of Board Members. This group of volunteers is called the Executive Committee. They  make decisions and carry out administrative tasks to ensure that the best quality Scouting can be delivered to young people.

The Group, District or County Executive Committee works with the relevant volunteer manager (GSL, DC or CC), to ensure that the Scout County, District or Group operates in accordance with the Policies, Organisation and Rules of The Scout Association and the rules of the UK Charity Commission.

05. Our values

Part of being a Scout is going on a journey to understand who you are and what you stand for. Everyone is unique, but there are some things all Scouts can agree on. We call these Scout values. They’re at the heart of who we are and what we do. And we think they’re rather important:

Integrity – We act with integrity; we are honest, trustworthy and loyal.
Respect – We have self-respect and respect for others.
Care – We support others and take care of the world in which we live.
Belief – We explore our faiths, beliefs and attitudes.
Co-operation – We make a positive difference; we co-operate with others and make friends.

As a volunteer in Scouting you take an oath to uphold the values and act accordingly in everything you do.

06. Our heritage

Without everyday adventures, the world would certainly be a less interesting place, and if it wasn’t for the talent and originality of one man, the Scout Movement might never have existed at all.

This man was Robert Baden-Powell (1857–1941): a soldier, artist, actor and free-thinker. Best known for his spirited defence of the small South African township of Mafeking during the Boer War, he was propelled to further fame as the Founder of Scouting.

Inspired during the siege of Mafeking by the initiative shown by boys under pressure, Baden-Powell (BP) realised that young people had huge potential that was often left untapped.

“The spirit is there in every boy; it has to be discovered and brought to light.”

 Baden-Powell

Returning home in 1903, he found that he had become a national hero. He also found that the small handbook he had written for soldiers (‘Aids to Scouting’) was being used by youth leaders and teachers all over the country to teach observation and woodcraft.

Already thinking of developing a training programme for young people in Britain, he was encouraged by friends to rewrite his handbook for soldiers (Aids to Scouting) for this younger audience.

The Brownsea Island camp

black and white photo of a man and boys in actionblack and white photo of a man and boys in action
Brownsea Island camp 1907

In 1907 Baden-Powell held a camp on Brownsea Island in Poole, Dorset to try out his ideas and brought together 20 boys from a variety of backgrounds. The success of the camp spurred him on to finish what would become a classic book of the 20th century.    

Image result for scouting for boys bookImage result for scouting for boys book

‘Scouting for Boys’ was published in 1908 in six fortnightly parts at 4d a copy (about 1½p). What had been intended as a training aid for existing organisations became the handbook of a new Movement which secured the royal seal of approval the following year when King Edward VII agreed to the introduction of the King’s Scout Award.

In its first census in 1910, Scouting had almost 108,000 participants; over 100,000 were young people.

Scouting for all ages

It was a global phenomenon. As numbers grew, it soon became clear that young people of all ages and in every country wanted to get involved in Scouting. Wolf Cubs came along for younger Scouts in 1916, followed four years later by Rover Scouts for an older age range.

Girls also wanted to join and and called themselves Girl Scouts. Lady Baden-Powell took this an board and so the Girl Guides were formed. Girls from 16-20 years old were allowed to join the Venture Scouts in 1976. This expanded to all the Association’s programme sections in 1991 and girls now make up 27% of all-age participants.

1920 was also the year of the first World Scout Jamboree. At London’s Olympia, Scouts from across the world gathered to celebrate international unity and the growth of their great Movement.  

Lord Baden-Powell died in 1941 but his legacy continues today. In the 21st Century, Scouting is still synonymous with adventure, integrity and global friendship.

“Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. ‘Be Prepared’ in this way, to live happy and to die happy — stick to your Scout Promise always — even after you have ceased to be a boy — and God help you to do it.”
– Baden Powell.

07. Volunteer roles in Scouting

What does a volunteer in Scouting look like?


We believe everyone has something to offer to Scouting! Our volunteers come from all walks of life. From the Duchess of Cambridge or Chief Scout (TV Adventurer Bear Grylls) to teachers, university students, plumbers, accountants, pharmacists, shop assistants, businessmen/women, there is no such thing as a typical volunteer!

Across Mersey Weaver we have over 500 adult volunteers, but with increasing numbers of young people who want to get involved in Scouting, we need even more.

Scouting provides life-changing opportunities and adventure to both young people and adults. When someone talks to us about volunteering, we look to find a role that fits with their time and skills. We fully support flexible volunteering and if you can offer once a month, once a week, or just occasionally, we will work hard to make your time enjoyable and meaningful for you too.

Over the last few years it has been our mission to make it easier for adults to give as much or as little as they are able. It is how we change our society: “many people doing a little bit.”

Adults in Scouting support the Movement in the following ways:

  • working directly with young people as Leaders, Assistant Leaders, Section Assistants and parent helpers; 
  • supporting other adults as volunteer managers (ie: Group Scout Leaders and Commissioners); 
  • looking after the administrative side of Scouting as Chairs, Secretaries, Administrators and Treasurers, etc;
  • supporting Scouting as members of Scout Active Support Units, Skills Instructors, Activity Advisers, Trainers, etc.

We offer support and training for all of these roles and tasks to ensure you get the most out of your time and learn new skills along the way!

08. The appointment process

When Scouting is at its most successful, it is often because of the skill, commitment and ability of the adults involved.

That is why the appointment of adults into appropriate roles is one of the most important responsibilities in Scouting. To help us do this we have a simple appointments process which is made up of three stages, these are:

Stage 1:  Application

During the application stage you will have a discussion with your lead volunteer, eg: Section Leader, Group Scout Leader (GSL) or District Explorer Scout Commissioner (DESC) as to what tasks/ role you would like to do, what skills you would like to use, and how much time you are able to commit. We are keen to ensure that you are happy with the role/ tasks you are going to undertake and that you are not overstretching yourself in terms of time.

Your Manager will talk you through the training for the role you have agreed and how the appointments process works. You will also receive information on Safeguarding and a copy of the Yellow Card.

Once you have completed an Adult information form and a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service), your details will be put onto our volunteer database (Compass) and you will move to the next stage.

Stage 2:  Approval

Route A: for all roles (except Executive Committee members, Administrators & Scout Active Support members).

Once we have received your cleared DBS check and references we will invite you to a short meeting with our Appointments Advisory Committee. The purpose of this is for the panel members to ensure that all adults applying for a role in Scouting are suitable for the appointment and understand the role/ tasks and training for which they are agreeing. What will happen at the meeting?  Firstly, it’s nothing to worry about!  The meeting will be with three experienced volunteer members of Scouting in your area and will last around 30 minutes.  They will ask you questions to find out if you are aware of the values and policies of The Scout Association and that you understand the requirements of the role to which you have agreed. The committee make a recommendation on your appointment to the District Commissioner. As soon as possible thereafter, you will receive notification of the decision.

Route B: for Executive Committee members, Administrators and Scout Active Support members

For Executive Committee members:  
Your Scout Council (normally at the Annual General Meeting), will approve your election or nomination.

For co-opted members of Executive Committees or Administrators: Your Executive committee will approve your appointment.

For members of Scout Active Support:
Your Scout Active Support Manager will approve your appointment.

A list of the adult roles that do or do not need to attend a meeting with the appropriate Appointments Advisory Committee can be found in the appointments process section of the current edition of The Policy, Organisation and Rules (PO&R) of The Scout Association. This can be found at: www.scouts.org.uk/por

Stage 3:  Appointment

Once your role has been approved (using route A or B), you will then move to the appointment stage of the process.  At this point, your induction will start, you will meet your induction mentor, complete your Getting Started induction training and learn more about training opportunities and ongoing learning. At the end of this stage (within 5 months) you should have completed the process and be ready to fully take on your role with support and guidance from your Group/Unit.

09. Your induction

Congratulations – you are almost through the appointment process and are ready to get stuck into your role!

We know that there is a lot to take in when starting Scouting as an adult either for the first time or when changing roles/Groups/Units and we are keen that you are well supported, particularly through your first few months.  Where to find resources; how to navigate processes and systems; where equipment is kept; and making contacts across your Group/Mersey Weaver; are just some questions you may have.

Mentor

Each new volunteer will be appointed a Mentor. Your Mentor is a friendly face, who is on hand to answer questions; offer advice and guidance; support you with your Getting Started training modules; and signpost you to resources and contacts.

Your Mentor will run through an Induction Checklist with you to ensure you have key areas covered and know where to ask for help.

If at any point you have any queries or concerns, please contact your Induction Mentor or Manager for support.  They will be happy to help you find what you are looking for or explain how Scouting processes work.

Please speak to your Line Manager and/or Appointments Secretary to find out who your Induction Mentor is.

Training Obligations

All our volunteers are required to complete training relevant to their role which includes Getting Started training, this must be completed as soon as possible after starting in your new role and must be done within five months from the date your provisional appointment is issued.

Upon accepting an appointment in the Scout Association you are required to show that you have the skills and knowledge appropriate to your role. For those appointments that require formal adult training, the relevant training modules needed to gain Wood Badge recognition must be completed within a period of three years. If this is not done within three years of the full appointment, then it may be cancelled.  Further information on our Adult Training scheme can be found in the member’s area at www.scouts.org.uk.

10a. Getting Started (training) – Leaders

Module 1 – Essential Information

Essential Information is great training for all adults involved in Scouts as it provides information on Scouts history, our fundamentals such as the Promise and Law, how to keep everyone safe and more about our structure and how Scouts are inclusive. 

This module covers:

  • Understand the basics of Scouts’ volunteer training scheme.
  • Learn about our movement’s history
  • Explore the fundamentals of Scouts and how to bring them to life.
  • Understand the importance of the Safety and Safeguarding policies in keeping people safe while in the Scouts.
  • Learn about our structure, and find out where you fit within Scouts and the support that’s available
  • Understand the Equal Opportunities policy, and how to make sure every member feels included and able to fully participate in Scouts.

Don’t forget to screenshot or save your certificate as a PDF.


Module 2 – Personal Learning Plan

The aim of this module is to create a plan for your learning based on the requirements of the job and your individual needs.

The plan will show the training and the support that you will receive to help you to carry out the responsibilities and fulfil the training requirements for your role. 

There is a workbook available to help you to complete this module:


Module 3 – Tools for the Role

Tools for the Role (Section Leaders) is a mandatory module for Section Leaders, Assistant Section Leaders and Section Assistants. It covers the basic information on the individual’s role or area of responsibility and some practical help to get the individual started in the role. 

Don’t forget to screenshot or save your certificate as a PDF. If you have problems generating the certificate take a screenshot of the results screen.

Note that you’ll need to validate this module with a Training Advisor. 


GDPR Training

GDPR Training is a mandatory module for all appointments. It covers the basic information that individuals need to know in relation to the General Data Protection Regulations, what this means for their role and for Scouting and how to effectively align with it. Topics covered are:

  • Personal Data
  • Individuals’ rights
  • Consent
  • Accountability & Governance

Don’t forget to screenshot or save your certificate as a PDF.


Safety Training

The safety of all our members is of paramount importance, it is essential that we provide up-to-date training so volunteers understand our safety protocols.

It is a requirement for all adults in Scouting to have undertaken safety training at least every five years.

Don’t forget to screenshot or save your certificate as a PDF.


Safeguarding Training

The issues facing adult volunteers in keeping young people safe are changing all the time and it is essential that we provide up-to-date training.

It is a requirement for all adults in Scouting to have undertaken ‘approved safeguarding training’ at least every five years.

Don’t forget to save your certificate as a PDF.


Once you have completed the Getting Started modules your full appointment will be confirmed. Initially your appointment will be in place for one year. When your first year is complete, you will have the opportunity to confirm with your volunteer manager that you are happy to continue, feel supported, and able to access and progress with the training.


Woodbadge and other Training Modules

It is a requirement that Assistant Section Leaders and above complete a Woodbadge within three years of commencing their role. The Woodbadge is a series of essential training modules which equips leaders with the skills and knowledge they need to run a section.

10b. Getting Started (training) – Exec Members

Induction training for Executive Committee members

Getting Started induction training for Executive Committee members, Administrators and supporters involves completing five short online modules.


Essential information

Essential Information is great training for all adults involved in Scouts as it provides information on Scouts history, our fundamentals such as the Promise and Law, how to keep everyone safe and more about our structure and how Scouts are inclusive. 

This module covers:

  • Understand the basics of Scouts’ volunteer training scheme.
  • Learn about our movement’s history
  • Explore the fundamentals of Scouts and how to bring them to life.
  • Understand the importance of the Safety and Safeguarding policies in keeping people safe while in the Scouts.
  • Learn about our structure, and find out where you fit within Scouts and the support that’s available
  • Understand the Equal Opportunities policy, and how to make sure every member feels included and able to fully participate in Scouts.

Don’t forget to screenshot or save your certificate as a PDF.


Trustee Introduction

The aim of this module is to provide the Charity or managing Trustees with information on their legal responsibilities and current regulations enabling them to carry out their role effectively.

By doing this e-learning, you’ll: 

  • Understand Executive Committee and trusteeship in Scouts
  • Understand Scouts’ key policies
  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of Executive Committee members and trustees in Scouts

Don’t forget to screenshot or save your certificate as a PDF.


GDPR module

GDPR training is a mandatory online module for ALL appointments. It covers the basic information that individuals need to know in relation to GDPR, what this means for their role and for Scouting and how to effectively align with it.

Don’t forget to screenshot or save your certificate as a PDF.


Safety Training

The safety of all our members is of paramount importance, it is essential that we provide up-to-date training so volunteers understand our safety protocols.

It is a requirement for all adults in Scouting to have undertaken safety training at least every five years.

Don’t forget to screenshot or save your certificate as a PDF.


Safeguarding Training

The issues facing adult volunteers in keeping young people safe are changing all the time and it is essential that we provide up-to-date training.

It is a requirement for all adults in Scouting to have undertaken ‘approved safeguarding training’ at least every five years.

Don’t forget to screenshot or save your certificate as a PDF.


11. Supporting you

Simply put, without people like you Scouting wouldn’t exist and with this in mind we realise it is important for us to provide you with as much support as we possibly can.

There is a wealth of Scouting experience across Cheshire and the UK that you can tap into, as well as resources and tools that will help you on your adventure. We have compiled some of the best places to find support here:

People

Your first port of call for any queries or concerns during your induction should be your volunteer line manager and/or your mentor. Other members of your Group were all new to Scouting once and will be able to offer advice and information and signpost you to resources.

Mersey Weaver has Assistant District Commissioners (ADCs) dedicated to helping your section and volunteers such as yourself. They usually arrange Quarterly Meetings for section leaders as well as some events to help you run an exciting and varied programme and keep up to date with training and county initiatives and events. Ask your Group Scout Leader (GSL) or District Explorer Scout Commissioner (DESC) for details of Section Support Meetings.

Online

There are a number of resources online which are a source of support:

Online Scout Manager:  a section and Group administrative tool. Please ask your GSL or DESC for login details for your section. There are online help tools and a facebook page with tips.

Compass:  The Scout Association volunteer database. Please keep your personal information up to date and set your communication preferences to ensure you receive the Cheshire Scouts and The Scout Association emails/newsletters. Please ask your GSL for your membership number in order to login.

Scouts Programme Planning Tool:  resource for programme and activity ideas. Compass login is required for access.

Cheshire Scouts website:  explore the website for up to date information on activities and initiatives.

Social media:  The Scout Association, Mersey Weaver and other Scouting Groups have a social media presence that can be really helpful for ideas and information.

Adult ‘Prepared’ handbook:  a helpful resource for all adult volunteers running or supporting a section.

The Scout Association website:  information, ideas, news and updates, including The Scout Association policy, organisation and rules document (POR).

The Brand Centre:  find print and digital resources to support your section.

Scout Shop: In Mersey Weaver we have our own Scout Shop selling badges, uniform and bespoke items. All profits are reinvested back into local Scouting.

12. You’re in!

I promise

For Section Leaders and Assistant Section Leaders you’re now ready to become a member of The Scout Association. To do this you just need to accept our fundamentals and make the Scout Promise. This can be done informally in front of your section by your line manager and, if you wish, in a fun, active, memorable way, or a more traditional ceremony.

Section Assistants only need to be Associate Members and so don’t need to make the Promise, but of course they can if they would like to.


That’s it!

You’ve completed the appointments process, induction, Getting Started training, taken the promise, and are ready to get stuck in! Phew!

Once you are settled into your role, if you are a Section Leader there is further training to enable you to gain your Wood Badge – within three years of your appointment.  Please discuss with your Training Advisor whether training is needed or whether you have prior experience that can be used to validate modules.

We encourage line managers to have regular informal reviews at least once a year with volunteers to check they are ok and happy with their roles. If nobody asks you these questions, please ask if you can have an informal review.

Every five years we do a formal review where we double check you’re happy.


Thank you!

Finally, thank you so much for your commitment, enthusiasm and time! Without volunteers like you, thousands of young people across Mersey Weaver wouldn’t be experiencing the challenge, fun and adventure of Scouting. So from them: THANK YOU!

Have fun!

Your membership record

Once your appointment has been made full it is your responsibility to keep your personal details up to date on the national membership database which is called Compass. This will ensure you are kept up to date and informed of what’s going on. Compass is used to manage your training record as well as any permits or awards.