Running weekly meetings

Running a meeting for any section for the first time can be nerve racking, yet very exciting and rewarding. Below you will find handy tips to help get you prepared.

The thing to always remember is that with the right support and access to the right resources, you will soon be a natural!

The top three things to remember when planning a meeting are:

  • planning is the key

  • appropriate equipment

  • adequate amount of helpers

Ball games outside

First make sure that you have the correct amount of support.

Ideally your leadership team should consist of a section Leader, and two or more assistant section leaders and a couple of section assistants. All adults in the beaver, cub and scout sections are managed by the group scout leader.

Your section has to have a recommended amount of leaders and adults to young people. Other than two adults being present, there is no minimum ratio set for adults to young person for a regular indoor meeting.

All meetings should be risk assessed; this includes making sure there is a sufficient amount of adults present to ensure a safe environment.

The following is the recommended minimum ratios set for any outdoor activity held away from the regular meeting place, and for nights away experiences.

  • Beaver Scouts 1:6 plus the leader in charge
  • Cub Scouts 1:8 plus the leader in charge
  • Scouts 1:12 plus the leader in charge
  • Explorer No minimum ratio. As a minimum at least two adults must be present overnight. Only in the event of an emergency should an adult be alone with young people on a nights away experience.

Remember that all adults helping will need to undertake a disclosure check if they could have unsupervised access with young people within Scouting and or to stay overnight.

Leader with cubs

Where should meetings take place?

Meetings can take place in any suitable area providing that the location has adequate space and facilities. The most common are listed below.

  • School hall

  • Council-owned properties

  • Church halls

  • Scout (owned) meeting place

  • Community hall

  • Campsite

Remember, even if the premises are spacious and have the correct facilities, they have to be safe.

The Programme

The word ‘programme’ in scouting refers to the range of activities, challenges and experiences that young people experience as scouts. This programme of activities is planned by the leadership team in partnership with young people. Your programme should be flexible and have room to adapt and accommodate the needs of the individuals in the section.

The scouting programme for all sections is based around three main themes: outdoor and adventure, world and skills. In each section a range of badges and awards support all aspects of scouting, including the main themes: leadership, teamwork and personal development. The programme should be delivered in a balanced way that incorporates elements from each theme, to offer young people the most interesting and diverse experience.

An exciting programme

When doing something new, the best thing to do is to speak with someone who has already done it. Therefore, it is highly recommended that when running your first meeting, talking to others who have run meetings and watching and taking part in meetings being run at a local Scout Group should be a priority. We will also provide lots of support and example programmes to help you get started.

A high quality balanced programme is one that:

  • offers a balance of each of the challenge areas for the section
  • includes opportunities to achieve badges and awards such as activity badges,
  • challenge awards or staged activity badges
  • enables all young people to achieve Chief Scout’s Awards
  • provides opportunities for young people to influence the programme and provide
  • feedback, and feedback is acted upon
  • provides opportunities to engage with young people outside of their section, such as attending district and county events or taking part in activities with other sections
  • provide opportunities to take part in activities away from the normal meeting place
  • provide opportunities to engage with the local community
  • offer opportunities to experience nights away
  • be planned in advance by the section’s leadership team
  • be delivered using a wide variety of methods
  • be delivered by adults or young people with the appropriate skills for the
  • planned activities.