The following pages are designed to give an insight into the structure and organisation of the group and what is required of members. This information was taken from the 8ú Calafort Members Handbook, which is distributed to each member, and also contains all the necessary forms for parental consent and contact details for leaders in the group.
The Scout Movement
The Global Perspective
The origins of the Scout movement date back to August 1907 when a group of 20 boys attended what was probably the first ever Summer Camp at Brownsea Island in the south of England. The organiser of that camp and as a consequence, founder of the Scout Movement was Robert Baden-Powell, a distinguished soldier, war hero and later to become Lord Baden-Powell.
While serving in South Africa during the Boer War, Baden-Powell was forced to rely heavily on boys and younger adults to withstand enemy attack and hold out under siege in difficult conditions. He was immediately struck not only by how efficient these young soldiers proved to be but also by their enthusiasm and interest in learning basic survival skills – essential for soldiers in South Africa at that time!
Following the success of the Brownsea Island camp, Baden-Powell set out in writing his ideas for the skills, training methods and activities which he thought would be of interest to young people and which form the basis of today’s scouting programmes.
Since 1907 some 250 million children, young adults (and some not so young adults) have been members of the scout movement. There are currently in excess of 25 million active members in more than 150 countries around the world with the membership doubling in the last 20 years.
The Irish Dimension
Following its foundation in 1907, scouting quickly spread to Ireland and in 1908 the first troops were established in Ireland in Greystones and Dundalk. Today there are several thousand scouts in groups throughout Ireland.
In many countries, there are several scout organisations each owing its existence to some historical, cultural and even religious origin. In any event, all are affiliated to the World Scout Movement which has its headquarters in Geneva.
In Ireland up to 1 January 2004 there are two scout organisations. Up to then our Group was a part of Scouting Ireland SAI (formerly known as the Scout Association of Ireland), the other organisation was Scouting Ireland CSI (formerly known as the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland). On 1 January 2004 the two organisations merged to form Scouting Ireland.
Scouting Ireland has a structure that one might expect from any national charitable, sporting or cultural organisation. There is a central governing body with appointed national officers overseeing overall organisation, administration, policy and rules.
Further information about Scouting Ireland can be obtained from:
The Organisation of Scouting
At the local level, scouting is organised into Scout Groups which operate as quasi-independent components of Scouting Ireland SAI.
Some groups because of their location or the interests of their founding members operate as Sea Scout Groups and include extensive water-based activities in their programmes.
Regardless as to whether the group is a Sea Scout Group or not the structure and management/administration of the group remains the same.
Each group operates under the supervision of the Group Leader (GL) who is the primary contact between the group and the national organisation and who is ultimately responsible for the members, leaders and every aspect of his/her group’s activities.
Each Group is comprised of separate sections, Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Venture Scouts and in large groups such as ours there can be some duplication. Each section has its own leader and team of assistant leaders who organise and supervise the activities of that section in accordance with the recommended programme of activities as set out by the national organisation.
Any section may be single sex or mixed, depending on each groups particular needs and resources. Mixed sections pose additional resourcing problems as there are strict requirements with regard to the ratio of male and female leaders to male and female members of the section.
Training & Leadership
All leaders undertake leadership training to ensure consistency of leadership quality across the organisation and to ensure that all leaders are fully briefed on the requirements and considerable responsibilities placed upon them.
Leaders and other adult members also undertake proficiency training to ensure that any activities carried out by the section are done so in a proper and safe manner and under appropriate supervision. Best practise in any area of activity is observed and is consistent with the requirements as outlined by organisations other than Scouting Ireland SAI, eg Irish Sailing Association or Irish Canoe Union.
All leaders give their time on a voluntarily basis for the benefit of the scouts not only to attend weekly meetings but also to attend training sessions and regional and national conferences for their sections. Very often leaders are required to supervise at weekend and summer camps, usually away from some if not all of their own children and families.
Without leaders, scout groups couldn’t function and our children wouldn’t be able to enjoy the benefits that being involved in scouting brings them. As parents we are all deeply appreciative of them.
Proficiency training is also undertaken by scouts at all stages to ensure maximum standards of safety are observed. For all boating, scouts, venture scouts and leaders train for Charge Certificates in the various disciplines, rowing, sailing, power boating and canoeing. Only on achieving the appropriate qualification may a scout or leader take ‘charge’ of a boat and organise boating in the area covered by his certificate.