What's the difference between a list of want to join enquiries and a waiting list?
One of the things we am keen to do is identify whether our waiting list figures (as reported in the annual census), is a true picture of young people old enough to join a section, but where no places are available; or is it a list of young people who have not reached the minimum age requirement, but have registered with a local group to join when they were old enough. This chapter aims to provide clarity on the issue.
So what is the difference between a Register of Interest and a Joining List?
A ‘joining list’ or ‘register of interest’ is a list for anyone under the core age range of a section, who wants to join a section when they are old enough.
A ‘waiting list’ includes anyone who has already reached the core age of their section and is waiting for a place to become available.
By separating your lists, it allows you to see a much clearer picture of the demand to join your group and where your group may need additional support from the district or county to allow the young people to join the adventure at the earliest possible opportunity.
A joining list of young people also allows you to access parents who are keen to get their child involved in scouting. This is a great recruitment opportunity for your group as some of these adults may be willing to take on a volunteer role if it benefits their child.
It is a good idea to review your records at the start of each term so that you have an accurate picture of future vacancies, and of times when you are likely to be oversubscribed.
It is also important to keep your district informed of the status of your waiting list so they can have an overview of the development of the district and offer appropriate support.
Recording the details
When a parent contacts you, you should collect:
- The name of the young person.
- Date of birth
- Parent/carer’s name, address, phone number and email address.
- If their siblings already take part and in which Group.
- If they are children of leaders, and which Group/Unit they are leaders in.
When recording personal details you must adhere to the Data Protection Act.
Setting the size of your sections
Firstly, consider the recommended maximum size for the sections outlined in Policy, Organisation and Rules, these are:
- Beaver Scout Colony - 24 Beaver Scouts
- Cub Scout Pack - 36 Cub Scouts
- Scouts no - recommended maximum size
Secondly, consider the number of adults available in the section. The appointed Section Leader should ensure there are the correct number of adult/child ratio is present at every meeting, these are:
|Section||MUST HAVE FOR Regular indoor section meetings held in the usual meeting place||MUST HAVE FOR All other section activities|
|Beavers||Minimum of 2 adults present of which at least one of must hold a Leader, Manager or Supporter Appointment.||1 adult to 6 Beavers, plus the leader in charge|
|Cubs||1 adult to 8 Cubs, plus the leader in charge|
|Scouts||1 adult to 12 Scouts, plus the leader in charge|
Finally, consider the size of the meeting place and the size of the next section. If your group is working together with other groups and the district then an important part of the plan will be to increase capacity in all sections.
Some useful approaches
- If the limiting factor is the amount of adult helpers, your focus will be the recruitment of more adult support.
- Be flexible and consider all your options. Considering a parent rota, having several Section Assistants to alternate at meetings or look at seeking help from or starting your own Scout Active Support Unit.
- To double capacity, try running back-to-back meetings or having a different set of young people every other week. Only one programme and leadership team would be needed. A different person could assume the role of ‘the leader’ at each meeting to spread the work load.
- Talk to your District Commissioner about the possibility of running district level sections for those young people who are on a joining list across the district. Those young people will move to group based sections as space appears.
- Some groups and districts are able to run temporary sections to reduce the numbers on the joining lists. These young people will move into the main section as space appears.
What must it feel like for the young people who are added to a list with no chance of joining?
What disappointment do they feel, particularly when friends in school come in each week and talk about the fun, games and adventures they’ve had. When you look at it from a child’s point of view, surely we should be doing all we can to accommodate them.
If you have a large joining list for your group or a particular section, and realistically you feel that you will struggle to accommodate these young people – please don’t keep it to yourself, tell your DC and get in touch with the District team who will be able to work with your group to help you find the best solution for getting more children involved in scouting. Why should any young person ‘wait’ to be a Scout?