Skill set development

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Many lodges, packs, patrols and groups would not be able to hold their meetings without the input of the dozens of young and adult leaders who willing give up their free time.

Following last week’s column when we appealed for volunteers I thought it would be good just to give a bit of an overview of what it takes to be a leader.

Across Falkirk District hundreds of volunteers from all walks of life and of varying ages are already giving their time every week.

Some do it to continue their involvement in the movement; others to give something back; and then there are those of us who start helping occasionally when their youngster joins the Beavers and then, as if by magic, suddenly find they are making their promise, completing a raft of modules and taking on a leadership role.

But having said that, all adult leaders receive support through a comprehensive training programme which helps develop their current skills and learn new ones.

One example is Bert Mackenzie who is proof that no matter how long or varied your time has been with the movement it’s never too late to learn something new.

The veteran leader, who also doubles up as the badge secretary, was backed by the district to gain his T1 authorisation after taking a group of Scouts from the 15th Grangemouth to the top of Dumyat.

Training such as this can help towards the achievement of external qualifications, while there are also awards which recognise dedication to training and outstanding service within the movement.

The district is responsible for making sure training is available and a willing band of volunteer trainers spend many evenings and weekends putting dozens of people through their paces.

Training is offered in two distinct stages.

Initially it’s entitled Getting Started and gives an overview of the movement, highlighting the need for operating within the association’s key policies. It also signposts the new leader to the further training they may require.

Training is then offered in a range of ways: Residential, small group, e-learning or workbooks. Leaders undertaking training are supported by a more experienced leader who operates as a coach/mentor.

Some of the modules will have been covered with your life experience while others are an enjoyable day spent relearning things you thought you already knew.

Once the leader’s personal training has been completed and they have demonstrated that they are putting their training into practice, then they can be awarded the Wood Badge.

The Wood Badge recognises the commitment to the values and ethos of the movement by leaders who have undertaken training.

Working alongside the adult leaders are Explorer scouts who help with the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.

And although they are still Explorers they are encouraged to take part in the balanced programme provided by the district.