At Scouts Canada, our Mission is clear: to help develop well-rounded youth, better prepared for success in the world. We do this by enabling thousands of young Canadians to engage in safe, youth-led, adventurous programs in hundreds of communities across Canada. Scouting is the world’s leading youth movement with a membership of more than 40 million in over 200 countries and territories. For more than 100 years, Scouts Canada has brought a world of adventure, outdoor experience, friendship, and fun to 17 million Canadian youth.
Brand Promise: Kids in Scouts have fun adventures discovering new things and experiences they wouldn’t have elsewhere.
Along the way, kids develop into capable, confident and well-rounded individuals, better prepared for success in the world. Scouts is the start of something great.
Scout Group: A Scout Group, often simply referred to as a “Group”, is the implementation of our Mission at the community level. The vast majority of Scouting programs, Volunteer activities and community engagements happen through local Groups. The experiences that parents and youth have with their local Group, positive or negative, will often determine their overall opinion of Scouts Canada. Scout Groups exist as a team of Volunteers who work together to deliver on our brand promise by offering high-quality Scouting programs in the community that they serve.
Five Priorities: In order for Scouting in Canada to be as impactful as possible, we have identified Five Key Priorities for Success to ensure that Groups are focusing their efforts on the right activities.
Group Health: Long-term, sustainable membership growth depends on having healthy Groups. A Group Commissioner should assess the health of their Group as it relates to Scouts Canada’s expectations. This type of key information can help Group Commissioners and their teams predict whether their Groups or Sections are headed in the right direction. Group Health is measured by a Group Health Navigator.
Group Playbook: The Group Management Playbook is the Key Resource for a Group Commissioner to understand the expectations of the role, the annual calendar of activities and access to key resources and support.
ROLE OF THE GROUP COMMISSIONER (& GROUP COMMITTEE)
Accountable to the assigned Group Support Scouter or Relationship Manager, the Group Commissioner provides leadership to ensure safe, high-quality programs through Group health to deliver the Canadian Path program and Scouts Canada’s Five Priorities at both Group and Section level. The Group Commissioner is ultimately accountable for the success of the Five Priorities within their Group. As our front-line Volunteer managers, Group Commissioners have a critical role in building a healthy and vibrant Scouting movement in Canada – while being the visible ambassador of Scouts Canada within their community.
Accountable To: Either the Group Support Scouter (GSS) or Relationship Manager (RM) as delegated and assigned by the Council Key 3 (“CK3”).
Term: Appointed and re-appointed annually by the GSS / RM, in consultation with the membership within the Group to be served. The Group Commissioner shall not hold office more than three (3) consecutive years
Time Required: Minimum 10 to 15 hours per month. Additional 2 to 3 weekends per year.
Groups should be committed to ensuring that every child has an opportunity to participate in Scouting, and we will work together to meet or exceed an annual 10% growth in full-time youth membership. To achieve this goal, Sections and Groups must engage regularly in recruitment activities and keep a close eye on youth attendance and year-over-year retention. In practical terms, we can exceed our growth goal by adding one youth to each of our Sections across the country every year.
Safety leadership is more than ensuring compliance. It is about setting the tone of what is both acceptable and desirable to ensure we maintain a safe environment and behaviours that role-model for our youth a leading safety culture. While safety leadership may sound complicated, it is often simply choosing to do what is right as opposed to what is expedient. The role of the GC is to ensure health and safety must be integrated into everything we do.
Scouting exists to actively engage and support young people in their personal development, empowering them to make a positive contribution to society. Commissioners and Section Scouters shall ensure the following minimum requirements of the (Canadian Path) program are included in annual Section plans and implemented in regular Section meetings:
There are many things that Group Committees can do to support Sections, but in general, they should try to remove any barriers that Sections face in facilitating a great program. Section Scouters should focus on program and each youth’s personal progression, while the Group Committee should try to support Sections by ensuring that administrative and Volunteer-support tasks are completed in a timely manner: finances, fundraising, meeting location bookings, Volunteer recruitment and screening, Group events, etc. Group Committees should not, however, lose sight of why these activities are undertaken: to provide the youth of their community with a great, safe Scouting experience.
Scouting is made possible by the thousands of engaged Volunteers that contribute their time to creating a better world. We know that Volunteer engagement is largely driven by the support provided by the Volunteer’s supervising Commissioner through the Volunteer Support Strategy. The three main drivers of Volunteer engagement are onboarding, local support and constructive feedback.
Every Group needs to ensure that it has enough dedicated Volunteers to provide Scouting programs to the youth in its community. The Group Committee can play an important part in the Volunteer recruitment process. Section Scouters often struggle to have meaningful conversations with parents about volunteering because they’re so busy with youth and their meeting. Having a Group Committee member present to engage with parents during drop-off and pick-up, allows the Group to develop its parent prospect pool. Having the Group Committee involved in the recruitment process also helps ensure the integration of the Volunteer screening and onboarding processes, ensuring a great experience for new applicants.
As with all small business, households, or volunteer organizations – every Group needs to ensure they have resources available to deliver on their commitments and enable safe, fun, adventures for youth. In Scouts Canada, the Group Commissioner is ultimately responsible for the financial health and fundraising within the Group. Adventures are fueled by Popcorn – the National fundraiser for Scouts Canada that ensures thousands of youth are able to go on adventures for the first time. In addition, the Scouts Canada’s No One Left Behind (NOLB) program ensures that deserving families can always participate not limited by personal resources.
Long-term, sustainable membership growth depends on having healthy Groups. The Group Health Navigator helps Group Commissioners develop an action plan that will contribute to long-term sustainable growth by measuring behaviours against the Five Priorities for Success. Groups will progress through different stages of maturity. The state of the Group relates to its degree of planning and engagement. The goal for Groups should be to reach at least stage 3 of maturity in each measure of Group Health.
Significant resources are available to the new Group Commissioner – including a dedicated website portal, playbook, resource tools and a dedicated GC training for onboarding and orientation. Note: GCs will be expected to complete their GC WB1 online before participating in the in-person training course.
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