MX News – September 2020

Date: 3rd Sep 2020 Author: Richard Williams

Welcome to this latest edition of MX News for September 2020. In this edition:

  • Restarting Scouting
  • The Winners of our Virtual Race Across Europe
  • Updates to Risk Assessment
  • Some Great Scouting During Lockdown
  • Mandatory Training Updates
  • Woodbadge Training for the Future
  • An “Amazing Autumn Programme” with a Badge
  • County Media & Communications Manager

Restarting Scouting

Welcome back to Scouting after the most unusual of Summers for all of us. I hope that you have been able to take some time to recharge your batteries by taking a break in some way. Weather that has been on a short break away or “staycationing” at home, welcome back. We find ourselves in a new and interesting hybrid environment where we can begin to combine the new skills and techniques we have learned since March in the virtual world with a gradual return to face to face Scouting.

Scouting has continued during the Summer for some, with leaders testing out the new approaches and opportunities that a “small group”, face to face version of Scouting has brought out. Many of you have been taking advantage of the Activity Days that we have been able to open up at our Scout Campsite at PACCAR, Chalfont Heights. These, have proved to be very popular as people get back to doing some of the outdoor and adventurous things we all like to do. Fire pits at many of our Scout HQs have been getting a clear out and a good test as the multiple pictures of campfires appearing on Facebook pages can demonstrate. And, Scouting in the online world of Zoom meetings continues too. We are likely to see a mix of these different approaches for some time yet.

Keeping the Restart Safe

With the start of the new term, many of you will be approaching the new process for getting your Section up and running on a face to face basis for the first time. The Scout Association has mapped out a detailed Risk Assessment and Approval process for section leaders to get their activities going. The detail can be found here on the TSA website.

The latest guidance published on 3rd September includes more detail on getting some indoor sessions restarted and clarifying the numbers of young people and adults who can attend. You can see the details of this here. It will be important to keep referring to this page on the Scout website for each of these updates as they are presented.

As each update comes along, we will need to adjust our Covid-19 risk assessments to keep them aligned. In some cases, this will mean a small tweak to your local copy of your risk assessment. For larger changes, the Risk Assessment will need to be reapproved. For example,

  • A Group/section who’ve already had an approved risk assessment for meeting outdoors, but want to increase their numbers and reduce social distancing for Beavers and Cubs, say, should note this as a change on their local copy. This would not need to be re-approved as there are no new COVID-19 risks identified.
  • A Group/section who’ve already had an approved risk assessment for meeting outdoors and who now want to meet indoors would need to consider what new COVID-19 risks exist. They would need to amend their risk assessment and submit it for re-approval.
  • A Group/section who haven’t yet submitted a risk assessment now have the opportunity to include outdoor and indoor options on a single risk assessment.

As a reminder, the Scouts Framework is aligned with Government-approved guidance for the Youth Sector developed by the National Youth Agency. This framework will apply in every nation within UK Scouting and walks through:

  • the permissions process for restarting any face to face activity
  • the key considerations to be ready to restart face-to-face activities and how these will be phased
  • Legal and liability conditions
  • Key control measures for everyone to follow

You can read more about the Scouts Framework here.

The brief detail of the framework is that, in line with government-approved Youth Sector Guidance, we can expect to see a phased approach to returning to face-to-face Scout meetings and activities. This is broken down by four levels: Red; Amber; Yellow; and, Green. As the effects of the pandemic ebb and flow, we can expect the readiness level to move up or down in line with any easing or reinstatement of local lockdown conditions. At the moment we are at the Amber level where small group sessions of up to 15 young people can take place outdoors or indoors while larger group activities should remain in the “Virtual Scouting World”. To prepare ourselves we must work to follow The COVID Code of key control measures.

The Risk Assessment that you prepare for each location and set of activities will need to be prepared by working together with your GSL and Group Executive Committee. Once complete, it will need to be approved by your designated District approvers (which may be your DC, District Executive members or others selected by the District team).

While this may seem a daunting process at first, there are many people available to support you through it at District and County level so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have a question.

Making sure we Bring Everyone Back to Scouting

So as we begin to walk back to the Scouting we know and love, we need to get back in touch with all of our young people and their parents to let them know how to get involved again. There have been many examples of parents seeing the working of Scouting with a new understanding as they have helped in online meetings during the lockdown period. Their enthusiasm for Scouting has grown too. This will be a valuable source of help in our real world meetings as everyone returns. Be sure to ask for their help.

I am looking forward to being able to join you again at a live Scout meeting near you very soon. In the interim, a huge thank you for all that you are doing to get us started again.

Richard Williams – GLMW County Commissioner

The Winners – GLMW Virtual Race Across Europe

During the Summer some of our Scout troops in GLMW have been taking part in a virtual Race Across Europe. Working in teams of up to 12 people, they have been walking, running, Cycling and swimming to keep fit and participate in the race. Counting their distances achieved each week as a team, they have been accumulating a total distance for their team which we have been plotting as a measured distance between our Campsite at PACCAR, Chalfont Heights and the Kandersteg International Scout Centre in Switzerland. To complete the race, the teams had to complete the equivalent of the distance there and back again, a total of 2,156 kilometres.

Starting in mid-July, every team completed over 500km with the winning team reaching the finish line in just under 4 weeks. By week 5, the third placed team had crossed the finishing line. The first three places went to:

  1. 1st Ealing North
  2. 12th Hayes
  3. 7th Hanwell

The trophy and medals for these teams will be presented very soon and a competition badge will be awarded to all of the participants from every team that took part. Congratulations to everyone who set out on our Virtual Race Across Europe. It was a tremendous achievement by everyone who took part and we’re looking forward to seeing an even more exciting race in 2021 when we reveal the next virtual world race destination.

Howard Branley – ACC (Scouts)

Updates to risk assessment

Following the consultation which took place in July 2020, we’re all now required to undertake and document risk assessments in writing for all activities in Scouts. We’d encourage you to start doing this as soon as possible, but you have until 1 January 2021 to change your processes locally. You can read the full details on this change and the support available to help you here.

There is nothing new with the need to undertake risk assessments. I am sure that many leaders will have carried out risk assessments but through familiarity tended to not write things down. This is the key difference and we now need to ensure that all our risk assessments are in written form and shared with all those involved in a particular activity. A good starting point is to listen the commentary and view the slides in the “What’s Changing” section here.

Geoff Vanderplank – DCC (Activities)

Lockdown Community Action by Scouts

During the long weeks of the Lockdown, 1st/6th Edgware Scouts have been spreading positivity within their community and really living with the Scouting spirit.

Given the lockdown situation, it has been difficult for some to find motivation for work, socialising and even Scouts. This is why the Scouts of 1st/6th Edgware decided that they would go out around the local area spreading cheer, many while wearing their scarfs as a demonstration of togetherness. Not to be outdone, other Scouts would hear about their friends doing amazing things and want to do the same. This spontaneous self-organised action on the part of the Scouts themselves was entirely independent of their leaders. Here are just a few things the Scouts got up to:

  • Making face masks
  • Collecting and delivering food to Harrow Food Bank
  • Cooking and delivering meals to hospitals, care homes and homeless shelters (one even did this on their birthday)
  • All reached out to the vulnerable within their families and communities
  • Many played instruments and made the best out of the minute clap for carers

The leaders at the group are all immensely proud of their achievements

Scott McCreeth

Mandatory Training Updates

Keeping young people safe is our number one priority and training plays a big part in this. There is a new online Mandatory Safety training module, which includes the latest information on risk assessments. You only need to complete the new module if haven’t done any safety training yet or if your safety training’s out of date or about to be out of date, but you will need to validate your training by sending your certificates to your local Training Advisor, Line Manager or the central HQ validation team.

From September, Safety and Safeguarding training must be completed every three years with more of our Adult supporters and members required to complete the training. You can check to see if your role is one that needs to complete these modules by looking at table 2 in the Appointments process Chapter of POR. The training will be online only and everyone who is required to complete the training must be up to date at all times. New joiners will have up to 5 months at the start of their role to complete these training modules. Anyone who is not in date after that period will be asked to take a short break from their Scouting role to enable them to complete the training. At the time of writing, approximately 95% of those roles where the training is required, were up to date with their training in GLMW. A huge thank you to everyone who has completed the training to date.

Our Current Approach to Woodbadge Modules Training

Our training calendar contains links to all our upcoming training opportunities. In the near term, and at least until the end of November, all our training opportunities will be through a remote format using zoom. There are a variety of modules available over the coming few months in this format, these complement others which are available as eLearning or via a workbook.

For the moment those needing to undertake the learning for Module 5 (Fundamentals of Scouting) and 12A (Delivering a Quality Programme) should complete the eLearning modules for these modules which are linked from here. There are workbooks available for modules 6, 11, 13, 14, 15, and 17

Validation conversations can still happen over the phone or via video call, so if you are working on your wood badge please use this time to complete some training and validation. If you have any questions, please talk to your local training manager, your TA or send me an email.

Philip Power – DCC (Volunteer Journey)

Be Amazing this Autumn!

Scouting may look a little different than we are used to but that doesn’t mean that the fun has to stop!

We have put together 12 activities for you to complete during the next term with your young people. Complete them all and earn an ‘I’ve had an Amazing Autumn’ badge. All of the activities are flexible enough to be completed within the current restrictions or virtually should you need to. They can be used as part of any badge work that you are doing or maybe to inspire young people to try other similar projects. Accompanying the challenge is a workbook with details of everything needed for the activity and how to do them. We have also put together instructional videos which we will publish on our YouTube channel and Facebook page. You really can have an Amazing Autumn however you’re keeping in touch with your sections!

The Amazing Autumn booklets will be live for everybody on the GLMW website from 4th September but if you would prefer printed and bound workbooks to give young people so that they can keep track of their own progress, you are able to order through me at a cost of £2.50 each. If you would like to be included in the order, please contact me by 18th September.

Karen Tempest – Development Team Lead Officer

GLMW Media and Communications Manager – A New Role for You

We are recruiting to find our new Media and Communications Manager for the County.

Would you like to help us improve the way we communicate with our members right across the County and help us to reach a wider audience with our #SkillsforLife message about great Scouting in GLMW?

The role will include helping us to keep our website content current, publishing our regular news updates and keeping everyone up to date with the amazing Scouting that is happening all across GLMW.

If you are interested in helping us in this role, please email Richard Williams to get the conversation about your new role started.

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls