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Posted on February 01, 2017 by Jack

#YouShape Month 2017 – 5 ways you can get involved….!

 It’s been a long time coming but it’s finally February, and that means it’s #YouShape month. Obviously Youth Shaped Scouting is about everyday Scouting all year round, but #YouShape month is focusing really both young people and volunteers to embed this traditional part of Scouting into what we do and celebrate what are already good examples of Youth Shaped Scouting. So, here are 5 easy ways you can get involved throughout the month…

Check out the Activity Inspiration Pack!

 The Activity Inspiration pack has loads of resources to help you plan your own #YouShape activities. Remember, #YouShape is more than just a month, and these resources can be used at any point in the year. There are resources for all sections, to make it even easier! It might be that your leader hasn’t seen the pack, so show them at your next meeting! Here’s a link; http://scouts.org.uk/media/797268/ACTIVITY-INSPIRATIONS-Final.pdf

Wear their Necker

 To encourage Young People to take up adult volunteer positions in the future, for #YouShape month the ‘wear their necker’ project has been launched. This is all about getting Young People to shadow Leaders to see what the role involves and understand how they could do the role.!

Ideas for this could be anything from a Patrol leader running an evening, to an explorer spending a day shadowing the County Commissioner. Here is some more information to see how to get involved; http://scouts.org.uk/media/797271/WTN_Factsheet.pdf

Share what you’re doing on Social Media!

Please do share with us what you are doing during the month! Use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to let us know what’s happening. Use the #YouShape so we can see what you are doing and share it with other people!

Summit 17, Beyond 2018 Consultation

 What does the future hold in store for Scouting? It’s a really exciting time for Scouting as we look to the future and plan Scouting’s future beyond 2018. Young people should shape that future! As part of #YouShape we’re asking young people to answer four simple questions using the Beyond 2018 activity resource. For more information… http://scouts.org.uk/media/802270/Beyond-2018-National-Consultation-.pdf

Have fun, make a pledge for the future

You can find pledge forms for your section at scouts.org.uk/youshape and also get in touch to request your section’s certificate for taking part.

And don’t forget to get you YouShape Badges, which are available from your District Badge Secretary, or HERE from Scout Shops.

Our focus in West Lancashire is on ensuring as many sections as possible give young people opportunities to Take The Lead and shape their scouting adventure regularly, so please get involved with #YouShape, and let us know the great things you’re up to!

 

AND REMEMBER, YOUTH SHAPED SCOUTING IS FOR LIFE, NOT JUST FOR FEBRUARY!

#TakeTheLead

A BLOG POST WRITTEN BY EXPLORERS, FOR EXPLORERS.

“You can do anything if you put your mind to it”

Pip, Chorley

So what’s this all about? Take the lead was held this weekend by West Lancs Scouts to help Explorer Scouts like us learn new skills so they can take the lead in their Scouting! It was a fantastic weekend where we met new people, learnt useful new skills and got to karate chop our DESCom! Planning our own Beaver/Cub fun day has helped us grow in confidence as leaders and proved that you can do anything if you put your mind to it!

 

“#takethelead has been inspiring and motivational!”

Adam, Lonsdale

On the Friday night after some exciting icebreakers we talked with some of the members of West Lancs Network about what it was all about. Network is the section after Explorers and it seems like a great opportunity! We are looking forward to when we are old enough to join, and hopefully the Network refresh will make Network even more exciting than it already is!

 

“I learnt lots about leadership and planning which I can use in both my Explorer unit and Cub pack”

Olivia, Preston

Our first session on Saturday was led by our Assistant County Commissioner for Cubs, Ann-Marie; planning-sessionand was called ‘Major event planning’. Ann-Marie started off by talking us though how she planned events and what sort of paperwork she used and what ‘skill sets’ you should look for when forming a team for an event. Then she gave us different scenarios about different events to plan. Towards the end of the session we played a game highlighting the difficulties of planning an event! It was stressful and hectic, but a great and funny experience!

 

“An amazing way of meeting new people and developing leadership skills”

Chris – Ormskirk

After the event planning session we had a session on leadership from our County Youth Commissioner, Ollie. It was a great chance to develop my leadership skills and we will use the points and examples Ollie talked about to do that. We also set ourselves objectives to improve our skills and put them to the test in the future! Some of the most important skills we learnt were to listen to people when leading; and to do what we can to develop the skills of those in our team too!

 

“Great weekend with plenty of skills learnt as well as time for making new mates”

Adam – South Ribble

In the afternoon we had a session on Youth Shaped Scouting with Ollie and Jack. The session was influential to us in making us think about what should be on the programme and how we would go about adding it into our programmes. We believe that Youth Shaped Scouting is an important step in creating a better movement, a movement that is shaped and influenced by young people. It will be good because we know what we want to see and what we’d like to do!’

wakeup

“I had a great time sharing views and experiences with Leaders and Explorers from other districts”

Elise-Marie – Fylde

After the Youth Shaped sessions we split into our Districts to plan an event! Our event in Fylde is a survival camp based on TV shows like ‘I’m a celebrity’ and ‘Lost’. We spent time planning details like the budget, location and what the camp would include. We had fun planning this as it gave us the independence and skills to organise our own events that we wanted to do. We can now go back to our own units, and plan our event further to ensure it happens in the next two years .The skills we have learnt will also come in handy later in life if we ever need to run an event in the future.

 

“This weekend has encouraged me to take on the role of a Young Leader”

Patrick – Blackpool

On the #takethelead weekend we planned a linking event between Scouts and Explorers to try and promote Explorers to the Scouts, called Linked-in. We thoroughly enjoyed planning our very own event! Blackpool doesn’t have one like it so we think it’s worthwhile. We can’t wait to get it going, and maybe carry it on every year. Planning this event has also opened our eyes to helping plan and lead other events.

 

“I will feel more confident when leading a team in the future”

Emily – Wyre

So why should you go on the next #takethelead? It’s a great way to meet new people and learn new skills; it’s full of information and really helpful tips to use for the future! We will all feel more confident when leading a group or event in the future. Overall the weekend was so fun and exciting, so I recommend it to anyone who wants to Take the Lead in West Lancs!

 

Thank you to the Explorers participating in the weekend for writing this Blog!takethelead-selfie-21

The next Take The Lead event is expected to be held on the weekend of 26-28th February! Keep checking Facebook for more details!

And finally; don’t forget to follow the following social media accounts to keep up to date with every opportunity available in our County!

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/WLSOllieWood        www.facebook.com/WLSJackBullon

www.facebook.com/WestLancsExplorerScouts | www.facebook.com/WestLancsScouts

Twitter: @OllieScouts | @JackBullon | @WLSExplorers | @WestLancsScouts

 

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5 Ways for Young Leaders to take the lead in the next few months…

So this is blog post number three, packed with ideas for Young Leaders to use in their sections! As a Young Leader it can be difficult to know where to start and how to get in involved and use your skills. Hopefully this blog will give you some ideas to work with and help you involved.

As a Young Leader you are a really important part of the leadership team and it’s up to you to step up and take the lead to improve your skills and play a key role in the running of the section! Let your leader know you’re keen to get involved by volunteering and asking to do things, don’t just wait to be asked. In West Lancs we’re really lucky to have around 400 Young Leaders; if all 400 of you take the lead it would make a real difference! It can sometimes be a challenge and difficult to organise events, but help is always at hand, and as Scouts we’re always up for a challenge!

So here are five ideas…

  • Plan and Run your section Christmas Party/Outing

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and also a chance for you to make your section’s Christmas party the best it’s ever been. Perhaps posters will need designing? What food and drink will you have? What games does everyone want to play? And a bit of decoration wouldn’t go amiss? You could even work some of these things into the programme in the weeks running up to Christmas; run an evening of Christmas party decoration making and poster design. All in all, it’s a great way for you to plan and run a couple of section nights, and you even might learn something yourself along the way! (And if you’re wondering, it’s only 53 days away! http://www.xmasclock.com/)

  • Plan a Winter Camp

Winter is coming so why not plan a Winter Camp for your section for early next year? Don’t let the cold stop you from having an adventure; just make sure everyone brings an extra jumper…and drink plenty of tea! Make sure you involve young people and the leadership team; and do ask your leader (a permit holder) to give you a hand booking the campsite if you need it. Don’t forget that you can always ask for help with the food and cooking, which leaves you more time able to plan an awesome programme using the ideas of young people.

Perhaps split the section up into four groups and compete in different winter themed challenges over the weekend? Just one of hundreds of things you could do. Then, make sure you get feedback after the event from the participants to ensure it’s even better next time!

  • Run a regular section forum

We want to ensure in Scouting that everyone is getting the chance to voice their views and ideas about their scouting on a regular basis. Within your section you could take the lead on making sure that this is happening; making sure that Scouting is shaped by Young People in partnership with adults. Forums aren’t about sitting around a table sharing ideas, if that doesn’t work within your section there are other ideas you can try. Forums should be fun, and work best in small groups where there aren’t lots of adults around. Although those in peer leadership roles such as Patrol Leaders and Assistant Patrol Leaders in the scout section can and should have forums; we should include everyone’s views regularly in section forums too.

You could try using a game which involves sharing ideas or making a choice (e.g. which two out of five activity badges do young people wish to do). We’ll have some section specific ideas on the resources section of the website soon! Please let us know if you have any to share!

  • New Programme – Ask the young people to choose an activity badge in your section and help them achieve it!

With the refreshed programme recently released, completing the huge variety of exciting activity badges is more important than ever! So why not ask the young people in your section to pick a fun activity badge; and run an evening or weekend to give everyone the opportunity to earn it!? From the Astronautics Activity Badge to the Street Sports Activity Badge there really is something for everyone, so pick one and get involved!

  • Young Leader Training Scheme

Have you completed your young leader training yet? If not now’s the time to get started! From Module A to Module K; there’s a lot to learn and get stuck in to! ‘Training’ can often sound a bit boring, but with a whole module dedicated to playing games, how could this possibly be anything but fun? Completing your training can give you that extra push and skills set to really get involved and take the lead, so what are you waiting for? Get in contact with your local Young leader Coordinator (Ask your Leader if you’re unsure about who this is), and they should have all the answers to when the next training is. Achieving your Young Leader Belt is something many Young Leaders don’t manage, and regret! Make sure you don’t miss out on this prestigious scouting award!

 

These are just five ideas to inspire you to take the lead within your section, but there are so many other things you can get involved with! You get out of life what you put in, the same goes for being a Young Leader, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it and the more fun you’ll have. And remember; it’s absolutely fine to get things wrong if you learn from them!

Finally, this is your last chance to apply for our exciting 18-25 roles, these roles represent a great opportunity for you to make your mark, to shape scouting in West Lancs and get more involved in the running of our County. The closing date is Sunday 8th November with interviews expected to take place on Sunday 22nd November 2015.

The roles are; Deputy County Youth Commissioner(s), Trustee (Aged 18-25) – County Executive, Finance and Fundraising Committee Member 

If you have any queries about any of these, please email Ollie Wood, County Youth Commissioner on ollie.wood@westlancsscouts.org.uk and let anyone you know in this age bracket that these roles are up for grabs!

Please also get in touch if you have any ideas for future blogs!

Our next blog will be written by Explorers after the county #takethelead weekend in two weeks’ time.

Thanks for reading,

Jack

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What’s next after a summer of International Adventure?

So here’s the second blog on our Youth Shaped website, filled with lots of ideas, and a few cheesy quotes (you’ve been warned!) This one’s aimed at any young people who have returned from an international adventure this summer!

That’s because this summer, more young people and adults than ever have travelled all over the world from West Lancs! After such unforgettable adventures with new friends, experiences and memories made, what comes next is just as important as what has come before…

For example, those who took part in the 23rd World Scout Jamboree in Japan have had two years of building anticipation, excitement and involvement in scouting. They’ll have got more out of scouting than ever and have had the adventure of a lifetime. Many young people in scouting have experienced more in the past few years than many non-scouts do in their lifetimes!

So after all of this excitement, it’s really important to give yourself lots to look forward to; and to continue to get the most out of scouting as possible by getting involved in all of the great opportunities which are around in our County.

With so many opportunities on offer for young people in scouting; there can be so much to aim towards and to look forward to. Taking it easy is not an option that will bring any long-lasting memories or experiences! It may mean stepping up to a challenge or trying out something new; but it will certainly be worth it!

So if I were and Explorer Scout returning from the adventure of a lifetime; here’s what I’d be wanting to do next!

Inspire, Encourage and Share

Many of you have already achieved more in your lives than some ever will. People many years older than you have no idea of the adventures life can bring. Many young people and scouts may also be unaware of the journey/ direction scouting could take them in. So shout about scouting, shout about what you’ve done, what you’ve achieved, and tell them what they can achieve. By inspiring others you’re encouraging them to experience what you’ve experienced. Think back to what made you sign up to the Jamboree and how you got there, and be the person that sparks someone else’s ambition for international adventure.

Shape Scouting

Using your experiences and enthusiasm to make scouting even more exciting and relevant is extremely worthwhile. Your views and ideas are very valuable and can be used to shape scouting in your Group, District, County and beyond.

In our County we’re looking for anyone who’s keen to get more involved in shaping their scouting experiences, and helping other to do the same. Please get in touch if you’re keen to do this.

At the very least, be sure to join your District Explorer Scout Forum, maybe the County Forum too, and ensure that the programme in the Unit you’re a part of, or the section you’re a Young Leader in, is shaped by young people in partnership with adults.

 

Achieve

Never underestimate what you can achieve. Scouting offers many awards which many Scouts unfortunately don’t achieve and regret this in the future. So while you have the chance, set yourself the challenge to gain your Queens Scout Award. This is the highest award a young person can achieve in scouting. What you experience in the process of getting it, and the other Chief Scouts Awards is something you won’t want to miss! You also have chance to gain your Explorer Belt; another exciting, international challenge. And finally, aim to achieve your Scouts of the World Award (SOWA). This is an award which will broaden your understanding and knowledge of society and the world, whilst meeting new people, having fun and making a difference.

Broaden your Horizons

The benefits of scouts on your future success is significant. Personally I’ve been able to answer many interview questions with scout experiences which has enabled my career to progress more quickly. By being part of a forum, for example; you’ve been planning and running meetings with a big impact since your early- mid teens. How many people can say that?

Developing your skills in scouting will brighten your future.

Think about everything you’ve done in scouting and think about how that gives you the skills and experience you need to be successful in college, university and in your future career. Get in touch if you need any help of guidance here- happy to help.

Take the Lead

Become young leader, and then an adult leader. Leadership is an important skill that will serve you very well in the future. Leading young people and leading volunteers can often be more difficult than leading adults at work who have to be there or they won’t have a job; volunteers do not have to be there, and so having the ability to lead them successfully is a very useful skill!

As a leader of young people, your leadership has to be enjoyed by others. Young people vote with their feet. A leader of a successful scout group is a good leader in my view.

We also look out for anyone who is keen to help out and support District and County events; it’s great fun and worthwhile! Get involved!

Plan your next International Adventure

Don’t wait until the next Jamboree; they’ll be loads of opportunities before then to travel the world as a Scout. I regret not going on more internationals as an Explorer Scout; don’t be the same!

Continue to travel the world! There are so many countries left to see! Recently, someone travelled to every country in the world before the age of 40! How many can you visit?

Give yourself lots to look forward to!

What’s next!? Have a think about what you want to achieve before you’re 18, or before you’re 25, and make it happen! Plan more awards, adventures, and take advantage of every opportunity you can! Find a new scouting role, and continue to get the most you can out of our great movement!

After representing your County overseas; this is only the beginning of rest of your journey in scouting. Scouts gets better as you get older; the things you can achieve & the places you can go get more and more exciting!

“Life is like a book. You’ve had a great introduction; the first few chapters are amazing; filled with stories, fun and adventure. Make sure the rest of the story is just as good, if not better!”

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Our First Regular Blog – What have we done so far?

Hello World!

This is the first of our regular ‘youth shaped blogs’! We hope to publish a new post on the 1st and 15th of every month! The content will vary, from youth shaped experiences around the County to general scouting stories and topics, and much more! Some blogs will be written by young people and adult volunteers around the County, and many will be written by a member of the County Youth Shaped Team!

So, you may be wondering what we’ve been up to since January when I (Ollie) was appointed as County Youth Commissioner; and here’s some of the highlights so far!

Getting Started

It was a little bit daunting at first, having been appointed as the first County Youth Commissioner in the UK, following the appointment of Hannah, Jagz and Jay last Autumn on the national team! What was important was not to rush into anything!

With a new role such as this comes a strange mix of expectations that different people have, although nobody really knows quite what to expect! In order to understand what needs doing, it was essential to get out around the County and meet as many young people and adults as possible. This was to get a feeling for what was happening now, what works and what doesn’t, whilst hearing people’s thoughts about what they’d like to see and the challenges associated with doing so!

It was a real pleasure to visit forums, district meetings and events around West Lancs in my first few months as part of this process; something which will of course continue as we progress.

#WLShape

On 1st April we hosted at very short notice our own version of YouShape (the national youth shaped scouting event) which we called #WLShape. This was triggered by the news that Hannah, the UK Youth Commissioner was able to visit us.

So within two weeks we managed to organise an event which brought together over 60 young people from all 8 districts in West Lancs to talk about their scouting experiences and share views and ideas. The event was open to Scouts and Explorer Scouts, and we also had a table of adult volunteers from different districts too!

The event really raised the profile of youth shaped scouting in West Lancs, whilst building a level of enthusiasm and momentum it’s essential we maintain. Details of the event and it’s outcomes can be found in the report on the WLShape Page.

The other key outcome from the event was to form our…

Vision 2018 Youth Shaped Plan 

If you don’t know what ‘Vision 2018’ is all about, it sets out what we hope to achieve in scouting by 2018, and started in 2014. Youth Shaped is a key element of our plan. It’s really important we have a plan too to ensure that we maintain focus and achieve our full potential. Having this plan could well be the difference between ‘scouting’ and ‘scouting well’; and we always do our best of course!

In May we published our Vision 2018 Youth Shaped Plan which focuses in on the activities led by the County Youth Shaped Team, to be implemented by us all. The content of this plan was informed by the first few months of fact finding and by the #WLShape event in April.

The objectives listed in the plan will be implemented progressively over the next few years. Of course, we won’t wait until 2018 before we see progress, that is happening now. What we hope is that before 2018, Youth Shaped won’t be an idea or a concept, but the way we scout in West Lancs and around the UK.

18-25 Appointments in West Lancs

During summer we advertised a number of new roles in our County for 18-25 year olds:

  • Deputy County Youth Commissioner
  • Trustee – County Executive
  • Waddecar Management Commitee Members

We were delighted by the number of applicants we received and we very pleased to appoint to each of these roles. There will soon be a page set up on our youth shaped website so you can find out more about Jack, Chris, Tom and Chris who we appointed to these exciting new roles!

It’s wonderful to see young adults in West Lancs stepping up into important roles with responsibility for the running of the County, whilst shaping the experiences of our 10,000 young people and 2,500 adult volunteers.

More roles will be advertised later this month (October 2015), but for now…

Meet Jack Bullon, our first Deputy County Youth Commissioner

Hey,

jackI’m Jack and I’m an Assistant Scout Leader in Chorley as well as a member of Chorley District Network. I’m very excited to be appointed in my new role as Deputy County Youth Commissioner and can’t wait to get started!

Working with Ollie we want to ensure that everything that happens here in West Lancashire is youth shaped; where young people are shaping their scouting experiences in partnership with adults. There are over 10,000 Young people in our County and I can’t wait to meet you all and hear what you have to say! If you ever want to know anything about youth shaped or have any views and ideas you’d like to share, please just drop me a line via my Facebook page or email, I’m more than happy to chat!

What’s next?

So after a very busy year so far, we’re looking forward in the next 6 months to…

  • District Youth Commissioner appointments!
  • The next Take The Lead event for Explorer Scouts
  • Youth shaped forming part of adult training
  • More forums in every district!
  • YouShape 2016 in February
  • WLShape 2016 in April
  • More young people in West Lancashire shaping scouting then before!
  • Hearing from you – please get in touch if you have any questions, and follow our adventure online!

Don’t forget, in scouting every voice matters; it’s so important we listen to everyone and act on what they say to ensure we remain relevant and exciting! So please speak up, and enjoy shaping scouting!

Our next blog on International Scouting following this summer’s adventures will be published on 15th October!

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Youth Shaped Scouting Online

Welcome to the new part of West Lancs Scout’s website devoted to youth shaped scouting. The website will continue to be added to and developed over time, shaped by young people and by our experiences of youth shaped scouting! Please get in touch if you have anything to add or want to chat!

We can share good practice, experiences, ideas and opinions on this site. Resources and ideas are available to make implementing youth shaped scouting from a leaders point of view as easy and as effective as possible.

Youth shaped scouting as an idea isn’t new to us, but for me it’s really important that it is no longer just an idea, but the way we scout. It makes sense! As leaders, we want the respect of the young people we lead and to earn their respect, we need to work with them and not against them. To work with young people we need to listen to them, and that’s what youth shaped scouting is all about; listening.

Whether it’s a meeting night devoted to planning your sections programme or your next camp or event, an opportunity for the older ones in your section to have a go at leading or organising or opportunities for young people to take part, with adults to shape scouting in your group, district or our county, there are so many aspects of scouting which would benefit from the input of the young people every leader volunteers to benefit.

As a scout, and explorer and young leader, and a younger adult leader, I didn’t get very many opportunities to shape my scouting experience, and when I did have views and ideas, they weren’t taken particularly seriously, which can be disheartening. I believe we should make the most of any enthusiasm from young people to be more involved. Enthusiasm is infectious, and is what we want every young person to have for scouting.

By grasping enthusiasm, we can spread it, both within our organisation and in the public, where media coverage of scouting is often negative. We have very exciting times ahead; it’s important that scouting continues to provide fun and adventure, experiences and opportunities for as many young people as possible, and youth shaped scouting seeks only to make all of these things as good as they can be!

Enjoy the site and I hope that it becomes a well used resource for youth shaped scouting in our county! If you have any suggestions for what could be added, some new ideas for the Resources part of the site, or if you want to be involved in other ways please get in touch!

See you soon!

Ollie

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