Few days Rotary free while i was on the 7th Littlehampton Air Scouts Group Camp. The time spent on camp reminded me how much Rotary and Scouts have in common but how differently they approach growth and creating a family.
Having been within Scouting for over 20 years followed by a number of years as a Rotarian, it has never ceased to amaze me how easier it is to move through the Scouting family.
Looking at a Rotary through Scouting eyes looking at how we can take the lessons learnt within the scouting Association into Rotary
Looking at the following their are some quick wins
The Family, Structure,
Programmes Linking & Reducing the Barriers within Rotary
The Way Forward Quick wins for Rotary (Reduce Barriers while widening its appeal).
The Family – Both organisations state they are a family. The Scout Family age range is from 6 onwards while, The Rotary Family start at 7. But that’s where the similarity begins to stop. Starting with Scouts. All members in all sections are Scouts whatever sections they are in Beavers, Cubs, Scout Explorer or Network they are Scouts. Scouts learnt long ago that the leaders of the future come from inside the organisation and work hard to ensure that Beavers at the age of 6 remain in scouting, with the aim of eventually becoming Adult Leaders. Keeping the Pipelinge of future leaders. All leaderis my group that are under 35 all started at the age of 6 in our beaver colony.
In Rotary RotaKids and Interact sit within the Youth Committee, Rotaract sits within Membership and although they are partners there is still a disconnect and a lack of a joined-up plan or programme to move them through the sections.
Many Rotarians don’t see the opportunity and value and potential of the younger sections which leads to poor participation. both in forming clubs and working together
This has meant that over the years the progression from Rotaract to Rotary Club has been poor to say the least.
Programme – When it comes to what we do both organisations have a plan, it’s just the implementation method is different. The Scout Association work around its programme, this provides objectives and forms the foundations of a Balanced Programme, this sets out what a young person should get from Scouting. The objectives cover several areas under the topics of:
- Spiritual/belief development.
The objectives are section specific, and are what a young person should be able to do by the time they leave a section. They are progressive, meaning that knowledge and skills is built up as young progress through the sections, working towards a final objective for each topic.
A simple example could be as follows: –
Beavers 6-8 Draw an Aeroplane
Cubs 8-10 Make a paper Aeroplane
Scouts 10-14 Make a Model/ Remote Control Aeroplane
Explorers onwards 14+ Make a plane Fly Glider
In addition to this Groups and Districts hold regular cross section events to achieve a common aim example would be family camp activities camps, Fun Days where all mingle and recruitment opportunities arise. there is an official moving on event when they move from one part of family to next .
Within Rotary we are aware that every community has its own unique needs and concerns. We maximise our impact by focusing our efforts in six key areas. These areas encompass some of the world’s most critical and widespread humanitarian needs, and we have a proven record of success in addressing them:
- Peace and conflict prevention/resolution
- Disease prevention and treatment
- Water and sanitation
- Maternal and child health
- Basic education and literacy
- Economic and community development
This allows our Rotakids, Interacters to pick projects, but currently there is a minimal link between the groups and joint projects .
The Way Forward
So, where do we start, I would create a true family where all members of Rotary whatever section are called Rotarians. Produce a strategy to create a membership plan to maximise benefits covering all areas and sections of membership.
This has many benefits including the following: –
- Instantly broadens the image of Rotary becomes a Family organisation.
- Reduces the average age
- Provides a Rotary with a path for membership with ease of movement between sections
- Good new story promotes Rotary
- Creates a broader stronger Rotary Team.
We all know we are better as a TEAM (Together We Achieve More)
With regards to the programme we have a base structure and programme in place, what appears to be missing is a method of linking the sections, creating content that appeals to all ages with the ability to link sections at all levels and making this visible externally. This could be achieved by investing time in the following: –
- Family oriented social events
- Joint club meeting
- All section participation at fund raisers
- Family friendly Community service projects