#youshape, well what’s that all about then?
The best I can figure out is that is a short term for ‘Youth Shaped Scouting’.
Again - what’s that all about then?
I do believe, but can’t find a real reference to it anywhere at the moment, that Baden-Powell used to describe ‘Youth Shaped Scouting’ as ‘The Court of Honour’.
The Court of Honour was based on the notion of King Arthur and his Round Table and chivalry and honour that surrounded being a Knight, there is a whole chapter based around this in the original Scouting for Boys. The best I can remember is that a Court of Honour was meeting involving Patrol Leaders and for smaller Troops the Assistant Patrol Leaders, where the governance of the Troop took place. These meetings involved the Scout Master at the time but they were not granted a vote on the issues presented!
When I was scout in the early eighties we used to have Patrol Leaders Councils and Patrol Councils again a Court of Honour but with a different name, which shows Scouting’s growth, change and resilience over the years as it stay relevant to young people now. I also have a vague memory of attending a District Patrol Leaders Council and it may have been at a place called Feron Hall in Loughborough. The reason I remember is because I deliberately pierced my own ear three times before the meeting and hand a dangly cross and a couple of other things, all done for impact I think, or a point long lost in the mists of time. I wore a beret and I remember a massive wooden stair case I remember as a Younger Leader in the early nineties the District providing opportunities for Patrol Leader Training.
I also remember that I attempted to start a District Patrol Leaders Council, because we were a bit fed up with the same old repeated District Programme at the time. That meeting took place at Mountfields Lodge Youth Centre in Loughborough, so that would have been around 1994/5. Participation was low and I could not tell you the outcome however shortly after that I hand some time off Scouting before starting Long Whatton Scout Group.
However all that reminiscing done, all those ideas and thoughts carried on into my Commissioner years in Scouting.
When I was with the District Explorers there wasn’t really a formal way to consult apart from the District Explorer Scout Forum, but because of the way we structured Explorers all young people had a voice, it the most simple terms, they were listen to! The termly programmes were put together by the young people, camp destinations and programmes were also put together by the young people it felt like a true partnership with young people feeling comfortable to challenge their adult support and come to a compromise over what needed doing and we were a team that achieved amazing things.
When I arrived at District one of the earlier achievements was youth forums for all ages from a District Log Chew for Beavers to representation of Network on the District Executive Committee. Young people had been given the opportunity to shape scouting in its upper ranks.
Twelve years on and I am back at Long Whatton and Youth Shaped Scouting is slowly becoming an underpinning part of what we do, the biggest example of this being the Explorer Badge, Christmas Disco and Ice Skating.
We are in the process of appointing a person to undertake the task of ensuring that young people’s opinions are heard, someone who can work between our Group Committee and the young people forums, so from January 2016, there will be regular forum meetings with the Sections which can be fed back to Section Leaders and the Executive Committee. This will improve our offer to young people immensely, I hope.
It’s nothing new really Scouting has been ‘Youth Shaped Scouting’ for one hundred plus years
What Youth Shaped Scouting means to Long Whatton is
- Consultation with the Young People
- Involving then in the Decision Making Process
- Understanding the needs of our Young People
- We are not at this point yet but we are certainly working towards it.
We are not at this point yet but we are certainly working towards it.