This is one of the hottest topics being dealt with by our National Council Office Services these days... and with good reason. At the present time, there are a number of specific situations related to Scouting activities that are being carefully considered by Scouts Canada.
While some of these situations may be of a somewhat trivial nature, others are far from being insignificant in terms of the potential financial liability to our organization. One recent suit involved an aircraft hangar that was burned down!
Do we hear the smug comments of local Scouters saying "This could never happen to my Group!" The reality is that this kind of thing can happen to any of us if we do not take adequate precautions, and even then the unexpected can, and often does, happen.
Consider, for example, a group of Scouts hiking in the mountains of Western Canada a couple of years ago who found the trail took them longer than expected and were forced to camp out overnight. They even had the foresight to take a cell phone, only to discover that they were behind a mountain and out of range of the receiving station. Other than being somewhat cold and uncomfortable, the Troop was safe and in no immediate danger. However, without proper Leader training and good clothing and equipment, the outcome may have been very different.
One example of Scouting's practices which are consistent with effective risk management is that all volunteers in Scouting, Leaders and Group Committees alike, annually complete an Application for Membership and Appointment of Adults. Our National Screening Process and the new requirement that all adult members submit to police record checks is another example where our National Council and all other Councils across Canada have taken steps to reduce the chance that persons unsuited to leadership in Scouting are recruited and installed in positions of influence or trust.
It is certainly the role and responsibility of the Section leadership team to plan their program, but the role and responsibility of the Group Committee in overall supervision of the Group must also be acknowledged.
Leaders and Group Committees, thinking about the needs of their Scouting family, need to employ this same approach. As a natural step of planning any event or activity, go through the following basic steps of risk management.
Risk Identification - Think about and discuss the realistically possible outcomes of the activity. For example, if a Group of Leaders and Cubs are travelling together downtown on the subway, is it possible that they could get separated.
Risk Evaluation - Determine the potential for loss or injury and the impact that this will have.
Risk Control - generally speaking, two options exist - eliminate the risk by not conducting the activity, or better yet take steps to ensure that the risk is minimized. Ask yourselves questions like:
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Groups planning trips need to consult with their Area's Activities Advisor and complete an Activity Plan Review Guide. Call your Area Commissioner if you need the name and number. Other measures for general activities might include ensuring that designated first aider with current certification is included in the leadership team.
Furthermore, and in keeping with our Regional policy with respect to training, we need to ensure that all Leaders participate in at least Part I training for the Section in which they are involved.
Some Group activities involve outside service providers such as kayaking, climbing, river rafting, etc. In many instances, the company requires participants to sign a form waiving their right, and that of their immediate family, to take legal action in the event of any perceived negligence. The effect of this action is that Scouts Canada now assumes the liability, and the resulting financial risk, should a mishap occur. National Council has made it quite clear that this is not an acceptable practice. Scouts Canada insures its members and accepts responsibility for their actions when performed during authorized Scouting activities. We also expect other organizations to do the same. Parents who waive the rights of their child are not doing so at the request or advice of Scouts Canada and are not protected by Scouts Canada insurance.
The intent of this is not to deprive our members of the legitimate enjoyment of activities that may well be physically or mentally challenging or stimulating. The intent is to ensure that participation in such activities is done without undue financial risk being undertaken by Scouts Canada. To do so is unfair to other members and at worst shows poor leadership and judgement.
A copy of a nationally approved Indemnification Agreement which is Scouting's answer to waiver forms is available from your Field Executive. It is strongly suggested and provides an equitable sharing of risk between service providers and Scouting users. Its use should be negotiated with firms offering activities to local Groups.
If the unfortunate occurs and an accident befalls a Scouting member, after ensuring that are appropriate medical attention is received, you need to contact your Field Executive and report the situation. It is very important that accidents and incidents be reported as quickly as possible.
There are clearly many facets to risk management. It is incumbent upon all members of Scouts Canada to ensure that they personally take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety and well being of our members, other persons and the communities in which we live and carry out our activities. Failure to adequately manage risk will result in increased membership fees to pay for the additional liability insurance premiums that will ensue as a result of legal action to pay for damage to people or property. This will affect everyone. especially those most vulnerable and most in need of Scouting and the skills and experiences that it can provide.
Our hope is that Scouting Groups will continue to engage in the kinds of activities that challenge and stimulate our youth to grow and develop as together we work to achieve our Mission. Good Scouting!
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A successful Scouting program is like a mosaic or jigsaw puzzle with many pieces. All the components are important to the picture, and when a piece - especially a big one - is missing, it's usually easy to spot the gap. During 1998 the Ontario Provincial Executive Board reminded its regions of some important elements:
Leaders who care about their youth make them feel unique, special, and valued as individuals. This caring can take many forms such as greeting youth by name, positive recognition, fairness, and adjustment to individuals unique challenges and capabilities. At the same time, avoidance of certain negatives is also helpful: for example, shouting, threatening and singling individuals for public criticism do not encourage youth to remain in a Group.
Leaders who are knowledgeable are more comfortable with the range of their Section's program opportunities. The depth and variety such Leaders provide helps ensure that youth develop and maintain a high level of interest. Knowledge can come from many sources: personal experiences, reading and TV, outings to places like the zoo or conservation areas, and the many Scouting training courses offered throughout the year.
Enthusiasm rubs off on our youth. It's a big part of the Scouting Spirit. Be careful, though, because it is highly contagious. Enthusiasm can be expressed in a smile, a cheer, how announcements are made and recognition given, in any introduction of a special guest, and in many other ways at camp or in a meeting. You may not always feel enthusiastic after a long day or week of other activities, but making the effort will provide so much positive feedback, that your energy and spirits may soon be fully restored.
Youth remain in their Section, and link to the next Section more readily when the program satisfies their individual needs and expectations. How can we satisfy each youth's needs when there may be 10, 20 or more others in the Section?
First, we all have many needs in common, such as safety, respect and development of our full potential, which can be provided by caring Leaders in a balanced, planned program. Variety helps ensure each event has something for everyone. And everyone wants to have fun!
Second, we can adapt to meet individual needs and challenges. The extra initial effort to ask and understand pays off well, as all concerned - Leaders and youth - learn and grow through giving, caring and sharing.
Developing these skills and practices will help you develop a positive, rewarding relationship with all the youth in your Section.
The Part I training courses offered by GTR and its Areas are a great place to start or continue this process.
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|GTR Training Calendar|
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This particular insignia consists of six sections of achievement, as listed below, and when all have been earned the completed crest has the Scout emblem in the centre.
Spirituality - The golden thread that runs through all of our Section programs and is one of the elements in our Mission Statement. A one evening workship assists us in making sure the golden thread is there.
How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk. - A means of developing greater confidence and self-esteem in our youth and to better handle those awkward situations in communication that will occur from time to time. This workship consists of three 3 ½ hour sessions.
Cultural Awareness - Canada is home to people from all around the world. Scouting has developed - with the input of numerous new Canadians - a program to assist us in understanding the cultures and needs of the many communities that make up our greater Scouting family. This is a one evening workshop.
Scout Craft - The outdoor camping skills so very essential to Scouting. The skills learned on this week-end course will help us when we go camping as well as at our regular meetings.
First Aid - St. Johns or Red Cross courses enable us to better serve our youth, particularly in camping, but also at any time of infury or illness. Obtain an up-to-date card of successful completion of one of the above courses and this section of the badge will be awarded to you.
Project wild - This is a one day course on how to best use the outdoors as an aid to learning and to assist us in developing interesting programs.
The Scouter Achievement Badge in comjunction with Part I and Part II wood Badge Training, is the measure of a well trained Leader in all aspects of Scouting.
We hope to see many Scouter Achievement Badges on campfire blankets, jackets or wherever we keep our collection.
Further information is available by contacting Jenevie Austin at 490-6364, extension 237; Training Dpartment at Scout Office.
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About 1918, Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting decided that he wanted to recognize Leaders who had taken and achieved a level of leadership proficiency. He took beads from a necklace that Dinizulu had given him, added an old bootlace and created the Wood Badge. In addition, Wood Badge consists of a distinctive neckerchief with the McLaren tartan on the apex and a parchment certificate. The training that B-P started has today developed into leadership training that is recognized world wide as an achievement of leadership skills.
Wood Badge training has been split into two parts. Part I is a weekend or equivalent of training for new Leaders or a Leader new to the Section. This training covers the basic requirements and needs for a new Leader to that Section. Once a Leader with Part I has gained some experience in the Section they may take Part II training. This training represents 50 to 60 hours of training and is usually held on 2-3 weekends plus some evenings, or alternatively a full week in an outdoor setting. In Part II training, the focus of the training shifts to the candidates sharing their experiences and doing a lot of hands on training.
Wood Badge training is much more than just learning how to do the job. It also provides and opportunity for Scouters to enjoy Scouting fellowship. Campfire, Scouts Own, meal times, and spare time activities all foster this comradeship that Scouters feel for each other during training courses.
Information on dates for Wood Badge and other training courses offered by Greater Toronto Region is located elsewhere in Scoutin News or on our web page at www.scoutgtr.org.
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Keats once wrote that "extensive knowledge is needful to thinking people - for it takes away the heat and fever." Scouters are thinking people, and even though from time to time even the best of us can get fevered and hot when not aware of why certain policies exist, we deserve as much knowledge as possible.
In an effort to give Scouters greater awareness of the payment policies for our Regional camps (while keeping temperatures to a healthy 98.60F) the following is a review of our Camping Payment Policies and a brief explanation of why they exist.
To assist your Group in its financial dealings, a $100 deposit is required within 30 days of making the reservation for camps in the next Scouting year. The balance is due October 1 of that year. In other words, if in February, 1999, you make a reservation for May, 2000, $100 is requested in March, 1999, and the balance by October 1, 1999. This helps to insure that the youth who pay for the camp are the ones attending the camp.
Area Bookings - We make an exception for Area events. Deposits of $ 100 are required one month prior to the date of the camp, the balance is payable by the date of camping. This gives Areas the opportunity to collect fees from various Groups before the camp fee is due.
Refunds - Here again, we must remember the youth in other Groups that would have liked to camp on a particular weekend, but perhaps nothing was available when their Leader called to reserve a site. Keep in mind if you book a camp and cancel at the last minute or don't use it, somebody else probably would have liked to camp there. If you must cancel, call us. With one month's notice, Camping will refund your fee, but only if another Group books that facility. If the facility is not used, no refund will be made.
There are exceptions to some rules (not to "every rule"), however, and we are human (or at least like to think so). From December 1 to March 31, we will give you a credit for use solely at our camps for sites cancelled with one month's notice. Also, if during the winter months, a Group is unable to reach the camp because of weather conditions which are deemed extreme, one half of the fee will be refunded.
Booking for 1999 & 2000 - The Camping Department takes reservations based on the Calendar year. You can book now for next year - 1999. As of December 1, 1998 we will take booking from GTR Groups for the year 2000. (Yes, we have the technology) This is a distinct advantage we give to our own Regional Groups. Groups outside of GTR cannot book until January 1, 1999 for the year 2000.
Plan a winter camp in a village - 50% off on villages and sites from November 1 until April 15 and July 1 until September 15. This is a great opportunity for Scouts, Venturers & Rovers to enjoy the fun, challenge and satisfaction of camping in the snow. (Not available to Colonies and Packs)
Take a Hike! - 1 day hikes are free and we'll provide site or village if booked 2 weeks in advance (conditional on availability)
How about 3 days for the price of 2? - On long weekends (3 day weekends) the fee remains the same as regular weekends!
Training - Area or Regional Training courses receive 50% off Sites and Villages for outdoor courses. (unfortunately, this is not applicable to training at the Haliburton Scout Reserve.)
Here are a few things you may wish to make note of in planning your personal & Scouting calendars;
Deposti Refunds for HSR - Since your Group's plans to camp at HSR no doubt hinge on a number of factors (time off work, family vacations, etc.) which are not always firm until the new year or even later, the following schedule for refunds is provided:
We hope that this information clarifies some of our camp policies and why we have them. We are here to assist you and insure that your Groups get the camping experience that is an essential to a full Scouting program. We don't expect you to remember all of these details mentioned here but trust that the knowledge of why the policies exist gives you the understanding that it is Scouting we seek to serve. Should you wish to make a camp reservation, or are seeking further clarification of camp policies please contact the Camping Department at (416) 490-6364 Ext.233.
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Participants broke off into small Groups and brainstormed the many roles, tasks and jobs which were required. It was noted that many of the items listed in the brainstorming portion could be shared with their team members. After filling many pages of flipchart paper, each Group was asked to come up with their "Top Ten List".
The Groups then reconvened and shared their lists. The larger Group developed a smaller list of the most important and common items. The Commissioners and Forum Chairs agreed at the end of the exercise to adopt this final list as their Focus for the 1998-1999 Scouting year.
Here are the Lists:
Area Forum Chairs
The Commissioners and Chairs will be putting their teams through a similar exercise and every Group would benefit from setting their priorities for the upcoming year. By focusing our energies:
And most importantly...
This exercise will help us all "Focus For Our Youth."
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From Regional Commissioner Doug Gough...
Due to the number of available courses being limited and the great need for Part I Training by GTR's Leaders, The October 31, 1998 deadline for completing Part I Training in the Leader's Section has been extended.
All Leaders without Part I in their Section are urged to plan now to receive the training they need. For assistance in planning how you'll receive training in your Section, contact your Service Scouter.
To contribute to the development of young people in
achieving their full physical, intellectual, social and spiri-
tual potential as individuals, as responsible citizens and
as members of their local, national and international
communities through the application of our Principles
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