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s u Foc teer for volunti e in z a g g a m The in Scou n10 managers/M 0 2 arch February

Axe to grind Why do we struggle to pass on our Scouting skills?

Juggling act Single parents in Scouting speak up

R U O Y S ’ ? E R WHAT U T N E V D A Y A D Y R couting S E e l b i V s s E e c c for a iring ideas Insp

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Your Adult Support Team Mark Flexman, UK Adviser for Adults in Scouting, Ben Storrar, Programme and Development Adviser (Adults in Scouting) Contact them at: focus@scout.org.uk adult.support@scout.org.uk appointment.process@scout.org.uk Adult Support Team The Scout Association, Gilwell Park, Chingford; London E4 7QW; Tel: 0845 300 1818 ADVERTISING Richard Ellacott richard.ellacott@ thinkpublishing.co.uk Tel: 020 8962 1258 County: 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 publication 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.

Welcome

The challenge ahead Focus would like to challenge all of you to make your imaginations stretch as far as possible in the ways you manage your individual areas

Even the most experienced manager in Scouting will tell you how important it is to change and take on new ideas. Just as the Movement changes, we need to change with it. This issue, UK Chief Commissioner Wayne Bulpitt challenges you to think differently about your AGM and make it something that fits with everything we stand for as an Association. Meanwhile, Natalie Tomlinson takes us through the ways you can use Scouting’s positive message to market and recruit in your area.

Engaging parents We also look at the challenges facing parents in Scouting and some of the key things to remember when recruiting adults. On page 10 the Adult Training Team offers advice on ways to share knowledge of traditional Scouting skills. We hear more about the transition to Scout Active Support on page 12. Not to be outdone, our Diversity Team looks at how managers can make Scouting accessible for all. The only limit to possibilities in Scouting is ourselves, and as Henry David Thoreau said: ‘the world is but a canvas to our imaginations.’ Need more adult volunteers?

Encourage your Groups to involve parents in their camps and activity days this summer. Find out more at www.scouts.org.uk/thebigadventure

Keep me up to date As always, I want to hear about your experiences at focus@scout.org.uk For news, and information for managers in Scouting, please visit www.scouts.org.uk

In Focus 4 Feet on the ground Try this trusted adult recruitment method

6 Access all areas Accessibility is about more than just special needs says Sheridan Allman and Claire Welch

8 Mum’s the word We hear from two single parents in Scouting

10 Why Scouting Skills matter Are practical skills a dying art in Scouting? We show how Counties and District are reversing the trend

12 Making the change We report on Bedford’s transition to Scout Active Support

14 Coming of age Clarification on the upper age limit for Explorer Scouts

15 Can AGMs be an everyday adventure? Yes! says Wayne Bulpitt

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Feet on the g Six steps to success

Whilst the thought of approaching someone about volunteering may be daunting, this six step approach to adult recruitment offers a good starting point:

1

Define the job that needs to be done

If you are asking someone to help you, ensure you actually have something for them to do. People need a role; they don’t want to be used as just another pair of hands when someone remembers they are there.

When it comes to recruitment, many leaders automatically think of young people and instantly dismiss the need as their Group is full. However, it is once again the recruitment of adults that is a top priority for Scouting in 2010.

2

Identify the skills needed

3

Generate a list of those who can do the job

4

Target the best choice

Much of the help you might need may not necessarily need a particular skill, just a willing and enthusiastic person. For example, this could be the person who makes the squash, cuts the grass, drives the mini bus and so on. However, there will be times you will need someone with more specialist skills, such as accounting, writing a press release or leading on specific badge work.

If you ask parents and others who are close to the Group for their occupation and hobbies, you will have a good idea of who to approach for particular tasks.

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he principle is simple. By recruiting more adult volunteers, we can bring the 30,000 young people on our joining lists into Scouting and start to open more Groups across the country. There are many ways which Gilwell Park can support you in your recruitment work, from leaflets, flyers and posters to events and practical advice on how to talk to people about helping out.

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It may be that you have a number of people who you feel could fulfil the role, or just one or two. Whichever it is, consider external factors that may impact on them. For example, if you are expecting someone to help out over a weekend, do you know whether they do shift work or have other young children to care for?

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Ask someone to help you

When asking for help, you need to be specific and realistic. Do not say something will only take an hour when it could take much longer.

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Offer support and welcome them into Scouting

Make their experience an enjoyable one and hopefully they will come back for more!

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Recruitment

e ground Think about your approach Quite often, someone will be happy to help out but may want to test the water first. One leader said that he had approached someone to become the social secretary but they said no. However, when asked if they would organise the summer barbeque they agreed and, when this was successful, they then organised the Christmas party. Often giving a person a job title scares them off but if you ask them to help on a project-by-project basis the likelihood is that they will say yes. The best examples of effective recruitment come about when people have thought about their approach and followed the steps on the opposite page – keep your approach personal and relevant.

How we can help Events such as The Big Adventure (www.scouts.org.uk/ thebigadventure) have proved a success. They have shown that the most effective way of turning adults on the edge of the Group into volunteers is to give them an active role in the planning and running of a residential experience. Ensure your Group takes part from 1 May to 31 August this year to see how effective the method is for yourself. The No-Nonsense Parents’

Guide to Scouting is a free resource that has proven to be extremely popular in encouraging parents to help out. You can also order a No-Nonsense Leaders’ Guide to Working with Parents which gives you all the tools and information necessary to work efficiently with parents. The new Communications Centre, available at www.scouts.org/brand is a great new resource which enables you to download or order a number of different recruitment materials. Enter your details into a fixed template and simply print off. See page 68 of this issue of Scouting for more information. Take a look at www.scouts.org.uk/recruit which provides a variety of ways in which you can plan and implement an effective recruitment campaign or event. For each method, you will find a brief overview and where possible, case studies, support material and web links for further information. Good luck and remember to share your success stories at focus@scout.org.uk

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Sheridan Allman, UK Adviser for Diversity, and Claire Welch look at what accessibility really means for managers in Scouting

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Diversity

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ttracting volunteers and then keeping them in Scouting is a challenge for all volunteer managers. To be successful, we need to make sure that we remove any barriers that could put them off or act as a hindrance to undertaking their role effectively. This is why we need to do all we can to make individuals feel welcome, valued and supported.

Accessibility means so much more than ‘special needs’. It includes our ability to gain access to anything or anyone that we want, such as a service, a Jamboree, an event, a website or written materials. Creating an open, welcoming and comfortable atmosphere for anyone to operate in regardless of their gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, faith, social status or ability is important to The Scout Association. This is essential if we are to develop as a diverse organisation. Challenging, where needed, the attitudes of those we manage is vital if Scouting is to continue to evolve as a relevant, diverse and dynamic youth movement in the 21st Century. Environment plays a big part in accessibility. We all know that Scouting operates in both old and new buildings and in buildings that are not always Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant. However, what is important is how hard we try to make our environment accessible to as many people we can. There are grants that support this both from Headquarters and external funders. Social as well as the formal interaction we have in Scouting should be true to the accessibility principle. Social networking sites and other more modern

technologies have increased people’s access to one another. Sensitivity is very important in this area but it should not become a barrier. We all need to feel comfortable asking questions to help us become more aware and to remove any obstacles that prevent people from accessing Scouting. Individual needs should inform planning and delivery at all times and in all places and at all events. Be prepared to step up to the challenge of raising awareness around accessibility with those you manage. Information to support accessibility is widely available from The Scout Association. There are a number of factsheets that are downloadable from the website. Furthermore, the Scout Information Centre can point you in the right direction. Legal compliance should not be the main driver for inclusion, as we know the fundamental values of Scouting underpin this area of work – we have a duty to others Inclusion is built on asking questions, not making assumptions or acting on stereotypes. Think hard, think creatively, think you can! Yes, you do need to review your systems and ways of working to enhance access for all.

more info Accessibility Guidelines for Written Resources (FS250062) Disabled Access to Buildings (FS270002) Please contact adult.support@scout.org.uk with any further queries

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What’s it like to be a parent in Scouting? Louise Coates and Vix Wallis share their experiences, pressures and expectations

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Flexible Scouting

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he support of parents is vital if Scouting is to work locally. Recruiting parents to Scouting roles is a key task for managers in Scouting. And as parents have a large number of additional pressures, flexibility is essential. Thinking about what parents have the time and skills to do is as important as recruiting people in the first place.

with weekly meetings, for example summer camp organiser, or fundraiser? • Do you have appropriate facilities at your buildings? Is there a baby change unit or a room for feeding or a larger toilet that a pram/pushchair could be taken into? • Make sure that single parents can take part in all activities, including nights out with other leaders.

Vix Wallis, Explorer Scout Leader, Fenham Explorers

Louise Coates, ABSL, 5th Leek (St Mary’s R.C)

As a single parent my circumstances are quite unusual. I was involved in Scouting for nearly 20 years before I became pregnant with my first child. I had no intention of giving up Scouting. However, I realised the difficulties of being not only a parent in Scouting, but a single parent too. Many asked why I continue with Scouting under such difficult circumstances, especially when Scarlett was a baby, but Scouting is the only social support structure I have in the absence of family. The help and support of friends in Scouting is invaluable.

As a lone parent, I’ve had quite a challenging experience in Scouting. I’ve encountered issues such as being told I can’t go to the County international camp as my two year old would be too much trouble. If crèches are not suitable for the event in question allow leaders (or even young people with children) to take an extra adult with them purely to look after their child while they go off and do their Scouting. But please make sure that the leader is not charged for this if possible. Hopefully the people organising the event can afford to fund these people attending as we need to support all parents in Scouting. More recently I have had issues trying to separate my life as a Beaver Scout Leader from that of a Cub Scout parent. It’s important to let them get on with running the Pack and for me to stand back. Lone parents have a big commitment to their children but it doesn’t mean their enthusiasm for Scouting is less than that of any other leader. If all lone parents quit we would be very short of leaders indeed!

Simple way to support parents • Single parents often struggle financially. Does the Group/District have spare equipment or other essential things Scout leaders may need? • Encourage provision for single parents (crèches, job sharing etc.) at large organised events (including national events). • Take over the occasional weekly unit night, or run a programme for a few weeks • Ensure that new single mothers have support when their baby is new born. Could you provide maternity cover or a babysitter? • Have flexible meetings (think about location and timings). • Make training easy and accessible – does it have to be a weekend? Could you ask a Network member or another leader to run some activities for the children of single parents? Some Scout leaders are trained nursery workers – could they be persuaded to help? • Offer to carry out simple tasks to help with activities (do the shopping for camp – shopping takes a long time with a toddler, or maybe go the night before to put up some tents). • Do your meetings have to take place weekly, or does every leader have to be there every week? Is there the possibility of job share? Could you offer a different role with less time commitment if someone is struggling

more info Although parents face many challenges, support from their Group, District or County can help them to be fully involved in Scouting. For more information read the No-Nonsense Parents’ Guide to Scouting available at www.scouts.org.uk/parents

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Flexible Scouting

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he support of parents is vital if Scouting is to work locally. Recruiting parents to Scouting roles is a key task for managers in Scouting. And as parents have a large number of additional pressures, flexibility is essential. Thinking about what parents have the time and skills to do is as important as recruiting people in the first place.

with weekly meetings, for example summer camp organiser, or fundraiser? • Do you have appropriate facilities at your buildings? Is there a baby change unit or a room for feeding or a larger toilet that a pram/pushchair could be taken into? • Make sure that single parents can take part in all activities, including nights out with other leaders.

Vix Wallis, Explorer Scout Leader, Fenham Explorers

Louise Coates, ABSL, 5th Leek (St Mary’s R.C)

As a single parent my circumstances are quite unusual. I was involved in Scouting for nearly 20 years before I became pregnant with my first child. I had no intention of giving up Scouting. However, I realised the difficulties of being not only a parent in Scouting, but a single parent too. Many asked why I continue with Scouting under such difficult circumstances, especially when Scarlett was a baby, but Scouting is the only social support structure I have in the absence of family. The help and support of friends in Scouting is invaluable.

As a lone parent, I’ve had quite a challenging experience in Scouting. I’ve encountered issues such as being told I can’t go to the County international camp as my two year old would be too much trouble. If crèches are not suitable for the event in question allow leaders (or even young people with children) to take an extra adult with them purely to look after their child while they go off and do their Scouting. But please make sure that the leader is not charged for this if possible. Hopefully the people organising the event can afford to fund these people attending as we need to support all parents in Scouting. More recently I have had issues trying to separate my life as a Beaver Scout Leader from that of a Cub Scout parent. It’s important to let them get on with running the Pack and for me to stand back. Lone parents have a big commitment to their children but it doesn’t mean their enthusiasm for Scouting is less than that of any other leader. If all lone parents quit we would be very short of leaders indeed!

Simple way to support parents • Single parents often struggle financially. Does the Group/District have spare equipment or other essential things Scout leaders may need? • Encourage provision for single parents (crèches, job sharing etc.) at large organised events (including national events). • Take over the occasional weekly unit night, or run a programme for a few weeks • Ensure that new single mothers have support when their baby is new born. Could you provide maternity cover or a babysitter? • Have flexible meetings (think about location and timings). • Make training easy and accessible – does it have to be a weekend? Could you ask a Network member or another leader to run some activities for the children of single parents? Some Scout leaders are trained nursery workers, or other child care worker – could they be persuaded to help? • Offer to carry out simple tasks to help with activities (do the shopping for camp – shopping takes a long time with a toddler, or maybe go the night before to put up some tents). • Do your meetings have to take place weekly, or does every leader have to be there every week? Is there the possibility of job share? Could you offer a different role with less time commitment if someone is struggling

more info Although parents face many challenges, support from their Group, District or County can help them to be fully involved in Scouting. For more information read the No-Nonsense Parents’ Guide to Scouting available at www.scouts.org.uk/parents

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g n i t u o c S y h W r e t t a m s l l i Sk

Adults thinking of volunteering often feel they do not have the necessary practical skills. If they can’t use a compass or hold an axe in the right way, how can they become a leader? The Adult Training Team suggests how you as a manager can support the process of passing on these skills and training new adults

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Scouting skills

‘I

want kids to learn to start fires without matches, build camps and climb mountains,’ our Chief Scout said last year. ‘Our ancestors had these skills for generations and now we are in danger of losing them.’ None of this is possible however, unless we have well trained leaders who feel confident about teaching these skills. Training teams across the country are therefore looking at how they can work together with other District and County teams to pass on those Scouting practical skills to a new generation.

County and District skills days Many Counties and Districts are now running skills days as an annual or bi-annual events. Greater London North East for example, had a Go For It Day; Humberside have a Dabble Day and Surrey and Carmarthenshire have both held similar skills days. Each welcomed over 100 leaders who wanted to develop their skills. But who is best placed to lead these events? Experts are often older leaders, supporters, and specialist training teams. A successful format is to run ‘drop-in’ sessions where leaders can try their hand at learning a new skill, or hone their existing skills. In Croydon they back up the learning with their own skills book which the leaders can dip into as part of running their section. There is also a new book: A Complete Guide to Scouting Skills published in March and available from www.scouts.org.uk/shop

Building a team Again, we are hearing that Counties are now recruiting a team of people with specialist skills to be instructors. Some are also appointing County Advisers for Skills, so that the development of practical skills becomes part of the County’s plan.

Choosing the format Some teams, such as West Lancashire’s, are running adult Scouting skills courses (West Lancashire call theirs ‘Get Knotted, Get Lost, Get Stuffed and Get Me Out Of Here!’)

to teach and refresh some basic knotting, map reading and backwoods cooking. Many Districts also arrange workshops as part of District’s ‘skills and chills’ weekends for adults. Most County teams, including Lincolnshire, are incorporating practical skills into sectional training courses. Often this involves having dedicated trainers for modules covering practical skills, nights away and activities outdoors. In Maidstone East, the passing on of skills has evolved over time. A couple of years ago they started with a practical skills stall outside training courses and offered things like mini pioneering, stoves, lamps, knots, whippings, maps and compass work. Six months later they offered a practical skills workshop, and they have now run a practical skills day.

Joint events with young people In Greenford District they run courses aimed at the young people but leaders also attend to develop their skills too. Courses include, camping, pioneering, water activities, hiking, map and compass, hand, axe and knife, shooting, archery as well as expedition training. By running them with the young people and adults, the leadership gains the knowledge on how to pass on the information to young people as well as learning the skills themselves. Many District camps now include practical skills within their programme, making it a learning experience for adults and young people alike. In some Districts they also try to incorporate a practical skills session at their monthly District meeting.

Passing it on We are all clear about the value of Scouting skills, so that our leaders can in turn pass them on to our young people. As managers in Scouting please try to incorporate it into your development plans, encourage your leaders to develop their experience and use the skills of the teams around you to make it a reality.

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g n i k a M e g n a h c n e p p a h e move from Have you made th t Active Fellowship to Scou avies (Scout Support? Peter D anager) Active Support M ord made explains how Bedf d provides the transition an e about useful tips for thos to do the same

Committee. Given that there was no Chairman but an active Fellowship, the decision was relatively easy – a brief exchange of emails saw an agreement to ‘go for it’ and the job of District Scout Active Support Manager was added to my existing ADC (General Duties) appointment.

B

Getting things moving

edford has had an extremely active and very supportive Scout Fellowship for many years. It supported the District in three distinct ways - as the Service Crew for our District Campsite; running our District Scout Shop and supporting District events such as St George’s Day and our annual sponsored Bridge Walk. Inevitably, there is a crossover of personnel between the three activities, however the Fellowship has always provided consistent support for the District, and continues to do so as a Scout Active Support Unit.

A meeting of the Fellowship Executive Committee was scheduled for a few days after my appointment. Having briefed the members I went along to the meeting where the Executive Committee eagerly agreed to the change happening straight away. The only administrative task was for the Executive to pass a resolution agreeing to pass its funds to the District and close its own Bank Account. I left the meeting with a cheque which was passed on to the District Treasurer to be ring-fenced in the District Accounts as Scout Active Support Unit funds.

Starting off

Continued areas of support

At the last Fellowship AGM the Chairman decided to retire and a successor had not been put in place. Graeme Watt, the District Commissioner, and as ADC (General Duties) I had agreed that development of the Fellowship would be on our list of priorities, and we agreed that this would be added to my responsibilities. Then came the launch of Scout Active Support and this gave us a much more flexible way forward. Responsibility for Scout Active Support now rests with the District Commissioner rather than an elected

The three strands of support provided by the Unit continue and I am currently looking to appoint Active Support Coordinators for the Service Crew and the Scout Shop elements. The Executive Committee act as the Coordinators for our events and social activities. Our District Appointments Secretary meanwhile keeps all the membership records. One issue that we were able to address easily was the status of our supporters – people who supported the Fellowship by taking part in social and fundraising activities but for whatever reason were neither

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Scout Active Support

Members nor Associate Members. It was felt that it would be most appropriate for them to be registered as District Occasional Helpers, thereby reducing paperwork and not running the risk of losing anybody! All in all, the transition has been totally seamless. I was keen initially to keep the word ‘Fellowship’ in the Unit’s title. However the Members were so taken with the whole idea of moving things forward that once 31 December 2010 comes around we will officially become Bedford District Scout Active Support Unit.

at the moment to find a volunteer to take on a Coordinator role to recruit 18-25 year old members. If you have a story worth sharing with others, please let us know at active.support@scout.org.uk more info Peter Davies is ADC(GD) and Active Support Manager for Bedford District Scout Council.

What happens next? I will be working with our District Explorer Scout Administrator and our local Network. We’ll be identifying Explorers coming up to 18 who may be interested in joining the Scout Active Support Unit in addition to the Network. I am also trying

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Coming of age From July 2010 Explorer Scouts will be required to move on from the section on or before their 18th birthday. Gemma Veitch provides the background

O

ver the past few years we have received feedback from the Movement showing the current age flexibility, up to 18½ years old, causes confusion in the Explorer Scout section. This is particularly in relation to: • lack of clarity as to the need for a CRB/Access Northern Ireland disclosure*SV at 18 years old • whether an individual can hold an adult appointment and be an Explorer Scout at the same time – giving rise to conflicting responsibilities and confusion about their status • confusion surrounding sleeping arrangements for someone aged 18 to 18½ years old when on an Explorer Scout event with fellow Explorers aged between 14 and 18 years old • the fact that The Scout Association’s Permit Scheme applies to those aged 18 years old and over • uncertainty regarding the position of Explorer Scout Young Leaders aged between 18 and 18½ years old. With the implementation of this change from July 2010 the above issues will be clarified.

How does this effect you? Although this change does not take effect until July 2010 it is worth thinking about it now and use the opportunity to produce a strategy for moving Explorer Scouts on. It is important that everyone takes on the responsibility to ensure that these Members are supported and have full understanding of the opportunities they have within the Movement. *SV Note: The legislation regarding the availability and applicability of disclosure checks is different in Scotland. For further details please contact Scottish Headquarters on 01383 419073 or shq@scouts-scotland.org.uk

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more info For more information please refer to www.scouts.org.uk/vbs or contact the Programme Team via the Scout Information Centre on 0845 300 1818 or programme@scout.org.uk

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News

Can AGMs be an everyday adventure? Just how do you turn an Annual General Meeting into an everyday adventure? With a little imagination, youth input and by inspiring people across your community. UK Chief Commissioner Wayne Bulpitt challenges us to think differently

O

n my travels around the UK I have seen many examples of successful Annual General Meetings. The best conduct the business quickly and efficiently and then use the opportunity to showcase the adventure of Scouting.

The most successful meetings keep the business brief and feature lots of input from young people highlighting their achievements over the past year and plans for the future.

Focus on achievement

As Scouting’s Everyday Adventure brand becomes ever more recognised and associated with us, we need to keep talking about it and bringing it to life in our planning, activities and promotional work. Don’t forget when planning your weekly and termly programmes to ensure that they are also packed with everyday adventure. Moreover, ensure that your contact with parents and members of your local community at whatever level also reflect this. Let’s use Annual General Meetings to celebrate our great adventures!

For a Group, this is an ideal opportunity for you to engage with parents, perhaps by involving their children in the meeting and by celebrating your activities throughout the year. I would suggest that the more successful recruitment is done discreetly by talking with participants rather than making waspish remarks about lack of volunteers from the top table. This is very embarrassing to sit through and puts people off attending. For Districts, and Counties your target audience should be decision makers and influencers within your community. In addition to the ‘chain gang’ (mayors and dignitaries) why not be a little more creative? Invite along members from other parts of your communities that you wish to influence, including donors and potential donors.

Talking adventure

more info To find out more about bringing everyday adventure to life where you are, visit www.scouts.org.uk/brand

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Focus - The magazine for volunteer managers in Scouting Februaru/March 2010