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How much work is it being a Leader at Beavers?

(12 Posts)
Squirrelfruitandnutkin Wed 22-Mar-17 11:08:39

Ds's group is struggling to find a new leader and will have to fold if they can't get one.

I'm just wondering how much work it is. Obviously there's the session itself but I'm sure there's lots of other stuff.
I'm very wary of taking on too much - I got out of teaching partly because of the way it ate into days off/ family time. I also work 4 days a week so have plenty to think about already.

But it would be such as shame if the group folded.

Can you tell me how much work it really is?

KingLooieCatz Wed 22-Mar-17 12:50:07

As in they have no leader at all? Or they don't have enough leaders to share the burden?

I helped at Beavers, the main leader only expected me to turn up and get involved during the session itself, nothing else. To be honest I think she should have shared the burden more as it was a bit chaotic sometimes but I think she found it easier to do it all herself after struggling on for a long time.

If they need a main leader I'd think you would get support from District or whatever they call it. We moved and DS is in Boys' Brigade now. Found myself helping at that one too.

purplegreen99 Wed 22-Mar-17 12:58:49

DH is a Scout leader which is similar though I guess there would be more emphasis on caring from/protecting young children with Beavers and maybe less on things like managing camps and expeditions. As King says it depends on whether you are the main leader or an assistant but generally if you are an official leader of some kind you're expected to do some training, even if it's just basic stuff like safeguarding and understanding the aims of scouting. Main leaders would need to do more. I think there are different modules to do with working with adults, children, children with additional needs, etc and also activity-based ones like programme planning and running off-site and overnight activities. I'd suggest finding out who runs the district Scouts and speak to them. The district committee are there to support all the Scout/Cub/Beaver groups in the district and ensure that they get training and follow Scout procedures, etc, so they are the people to talk to regarding what would be expected.

moonbells Wed 22-Mar-17 13:14:41

Squirrel if I were you I'd go and look at the Scouts website. will show you all the answers you need, from the training requirements to who to talk to, to how to do programmes...

The banner on the left of the linked page shows all the categories and there's a lot of reading in there. I didn't volunteer until after I'd read a lot of stuff, so that I knew what I was letting myself in for! (I'm mid-training for assistant leader and having lots of fun as well as being challenged.)

Beavers definitely do hikes, sleepovers and camps!!!

Talk to your Group Scout Leader (GSL) about the Colony needs. They should know.

Squirrelfruitandnutkin Wed 22-Mar-17 15:20:36

They will have no leader as the current one is leaving soon. So I guess if I volunteered I'd be a main leader

The only other people involved in the sessions other than the current leader are young leaders (teens) and a couple of mums who help.

moonbells Thu 23-Mar-17 15:17:12


OK then!
Training. if your County's like mine, there will be centralised training, probably at a campsite or a large Hut, which covers most of the training needed for a Section leader post. If you don’t have one already you’ll need an enhanced DBS before you do anything. Then Getting Started (Modules 1 and 3) and probably First Response (10) and Safeguarding. The others may be done in blocks and you have a few years to get them done and validated.
My county does the majority of these in three weekends. You also need at least 5 hours of Ongoing training a year.

Takes about one evening a term to plan a balanced programme which gets at least a couple of badges, with a Log Chew somewhere in there so you get feedback from the Beavers and ideas what they’d like to do next, as the partnership aspect is key. Also some reserve meeting ideas for when you can’t do the planned activity! (Rain and Night Hikes…)

We usually turn up half an hour before the meeting start, and probably leave 15 minutes after depending on the amount of clearing needed. So a regular couple of hours a week.

I don’t get to see most of this; I suspect the BSL does quite a lot on OSM, making sure badges are ordered when completed, and that we keep track of when someone’s really close to completing their Bronze Chief Scout Award and needs a couple of challenge badges that will finish it off before they move on. I bet they do an hour a week, especially when you include popping to shops for things that aren’t in the Hut, or printing out instructions for something or other.

As I said, I'm mid-training and haven't been doing it that long, so I've probably missed some bits, but it'll give you an idea.

Squirrelfruitandnutkin Thu 23-Mar-17 17:35:54

Hmmm. Think it would be a pretty large commitment to run the group. Not something I feel I can realistically fit in with work, my own kids and life in general at the minute.

Really hope they can find someone who can commit to it though.

QueenofLouisiana Thu 23-Mar-17 21:42:00

Yes, it is a big commitment- don't believe the 90 minutes a week

I spend about 45mins before the meeting organising things- letters, emails, resources, risk assessments. Arrive 15 mins before meeting.
90 mins of meeting.
15- 25mins afterwards tidying and sorting out the hut.
During the week- 30 mins or so replying to emails-especially the "when will you have space" ones. Some parents become very insistent that you must have space- but no, they can't help out to enable you to take in more kids... A few more minutes on badge records and checking a balanced programme is in place.

So about 3hrs a week; then training, group meetings, parades, sleepovers, days out on top of that.

I've been doing it for about 5 years. It wasn't what I planned to do, but there's very little chance of finding anyone else to take the group on. There are so many more children who want to be Beavers than adults willing to lead unfortunately.

tinyterrors Mon 27-Mar-17 11:16:57

I'm an assistant leader and its definitely more than an hour a week and I don't have to do all the admin.

Main leaders and assistant leaders do pretty much the same training, some can be done online, some with another leader or at a training day.

Our leader does all the admin and about half of the planning of meetings/badges and I do the other half so deciding on a badge to work towards and planning activities related to it.

Beavers absolutely do sleepovers/camps though we don't do the longer hikes that cubs and scouts do. It depends on your group but we have a couple of group camps a year with the beavers, cubs, scouts and explorers in our group and then a big district sleepover/camp with all the beaver colonies from the district. For th group camps its usually our GSL who does most of the organising with the other leaders chipping in with their jobs eg cooking, cleaning, putting tents up, running activities etc.

Most of our leaders work full time and manage the workload but their dcs are in cubs and older.

It's probably about the time that Queen says, once the training is out of the way, but all of our sections have to least one assistant leader to help with planning and prep, plus at least one junior leader.

budgiegirl Thu 30-Mar-17 00:01:23

It is quite a commitment to be honest. I'm a cub leader, and I'd say I spend about 2.5 hours per week at the meeting, at least 1 hour for prepping the meeting (planning and sorting the activities for the meeting), at least one more hour per week doing admin, answering emails, sending messages etc.

On top of this, there's planning other activities (camps, trips etc), training, exec meetings, planning meetings, district meetings etc. Then fundraising events as well. You don't have to attend all the meetings, but it does help if you can.

I love doing it, but it is quite time consuming.

BackforGood Thu 30-Mar-17 00:22:22

It is quite a commitment, but it sounds as if you already have 4 or more other bodies there with you( if you take it on) ? - The YLs and the parent helpers.
You could offer, on the condition that someone else agrees to do X or Y or whatever, to help out - so, one parent who will collect the subs / keep the accounts...... one who will come into the room at the end and put chairs / tables away, sweep up or whatever. Lots of little things that people are often willing to do whilst not wanting to take on a full role.
When you first commit, there is a commitment to do the training. As both a teacher and a parent you will understand the importance of ensuring Leaders have a knowledge of safeguarding, basic planning, keeping accounts, risk assessment, etc., but of the training will not have to be attended, if you can demonstrate you have the skills already (which, as a teacher, you may well do) - you just have to have this 'validated'. Those modules you do attend, you have 5 years to complete (5 months for the first ones, but they can be done in one evening).
There isn't an ongoing training requirement once you've completed your training, except renewing the safeguarding and first aid certificates every few years.
How long you spend prepping, will depend to some extent on what you can run without too much effort - again, the teaching experience will come in here, and how good the other helpers are.
My dd is a YL and the YLs often run nights or a series of nights over a term, for the dc in their pack. You might find a parent who is happy to come in and do a creative activity once a half term with them, and so forth. You have to be prepared to ask for help.
There are a lot of programmes already written out, on line, you can steal too of course, and if you do decide to do a badge, it will run over several sessions sometimes, you don't need a new thing every week.
It is a commitment, but it is also fun and rewarding.

lakesstu Mon 10-Jul-17 13:18:51

As a Leader or Assistant Leader, the training will consist of 19 modules that can be spread over 3 years. Many of these can be done online or as downloadable workbooks, but some cant. I would plan for at least 4 days of courses during your main training. You will need to schedule time with your training advisor to actually validate the training based on the experience you gain running the colony.

You also need to renew your First Response training every 3 years where at all possible, which is a day in itself.

One thing that is worth considering is events that take place outside of your regular weekly meeting. For example, all Beavers need to be given at least one opportunity to spend a night away each year. There are also district events that you may well be expected to attend (most districts run a yearly sleepover that you can attend instead of running one yourself) and these can number quite a few weekends each year depending on how many your are able to do.

You may also find yourself taking your Beavers out on your own trips on the weekends to give them the best programme you possibly can. In my experience, activities on a regular meeting night are great, but even at 6 years old they crave adventure and need to get out and about.

You might also be expected to attend district meetings, about every three months in my experience.

Admin can take quite a bit of time, and it is not always easy to delegate as much of it needs to be done by someone with a leadership role due to needing access to personal information and finances etc.

It is worth remembering that you will be able to get support with most of this though.

On balance, it is a big commitment, and it will certainly eat into your family time. However, it is so rewarding and enjoyable that you may well be able to find a good balance.

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