AGM 2000

GSL’S Report to the AGM – Saturday 3rd June 2000

Welcome and thank you everyone for attending the Family Barbecue and 2nd Orpington AGM. I hope you have an enjoyable evening.

Due to the Group’s present situation I intend to break with tradition by not dwelling on the sections activities, except to report that our young people are at present receiving all that is best in scouting and are gaining awards and winning competitions in the Second’s own inimitable style. This is due entirely to our highly trained and motivated leaders whose expertise is sought and used throughout the Orpington District. We have members in the Group who are the District Advisers for International Scouting, Special Needs, Mountaineering, Hill Walking & Rock Climbing. The ADC for Activities, one of the District Cub Scout Leaders and the District Webmaster are also part of the 2nd Orpington Team. As you have no doubt come to realise we do have the ‘cream of the crop’.

I may be wrapped over the knuckles for presenting a report of this nature to an AGM, however I offer no apology for doing so – drastic times need drastic measures! As GSL I have the constant headache of trying to find new recruits – we are slowing losing leaders, helpers and executive staff and not finding replacements for them, if this is allowed to continue there will be no alternative other than to close sections.

You may have noticed an article in the May 17th News Shopper “Crisis in Scouting Forcing Closures”. It reported that short-staffed scout groups may be forced to close if people do not come forward to help out. Please don’t think that this is scare-mongering because I can assure you that it is not. In common with other groups we desperately need new leaders, helpers, administrators and good PARENTAL SUPPORT if we are to continue to offer the young people of Orpington the high standard of exciting scouting that our members presently enjoy.

Apart from being the largest and most active group in the Orpington District, with seven sections, we can also boast having some of the most experienced and long-serving leaders in scouting. Four of our section leaders have been with the group for well over 15 years and a few of us have been in scouting for double that time. However I can certainly vouch for the fact that devotion to duty can become somewhat jaded if adequate support is not available and it would be disastrous to lose such exceptional and dedicated leaders.

2nd Orpington also have an extremely efficient and enviable hi-tech Quartermastering system. It was set up 25 years ago by Phil Wheeler and Duncan Hellicar and has gone from strength to strength. On Easter Monday Phil and Duncan celebrated 25 years’ service as quartermasters by spending the whole day proofing our tents – there’s dedication for you! The QMs also raise funds for the Group by the hiring out of marquees and tents to local sports clubs. However there is work involved as these tents need to be erected and of course taken back down. A request for help was made to parents earlier this year and only one person offered to put their name down on the rota – come on I’m sure more of you could spare a little time for this excellent method of raising funds, after all it does keep down the cost of subscriptions!

At this point, on behalf of all the young people in our Group, I would like to say a huge thank you to the first-rate 2nd Orpington Team – the leaders, helpers, quartermasters and administrators. Their time and expertise is freely given to provide an enjoyable and attractive scheme of progressive training, offering fun, friendship, adventure, challenge and achievement.

I only hope that some of you will have been so impressed with what you have read about the 2nd Orpington Team that you will want to join us. If so, and I sincerely hope you will, please do not hesitate to speak to me, Mo Stagg or any of the leaders. If you cannot make a full commitment, occasional help would be greatly appreciated.


Group Chairman’s AGM Report

The GSL has most likely listed the activities and achievements of each of the uniformed sections but has probably not mentioned my section – the lay or non-uniformed side of the Group. All you Mums and Dads form our ‘Group Council’ and are therefore part of the 2nd Orpington Scout Group and you are encouraged to participate in the life of the Group.

At last year’s AGM I said I would activate the social and fund raising side of the Group’s activities – I have failed in the very basic aim. For instance, the Group Executive is composed of 7 section leaders and 7 lay officials (parent reps), the uniformed leaders attend most Executive meetings but the parent reps are very thin on the ground. I do extend my thanks to those who do attend and give the benefit of their common-sense in keeping our feet on the ground. We do need to set up a fund raising committee but unfortunately we do not have a fully complimented committee to take on the money tasks involved in supporting the Group. At present the initiatives for fund raising events have come from Tim Leng, David Andrews and the Quartermasters.

Subscriptions do not cover all our expenses we therefore need to supplement this with fund raising.

Group expenses include:

  • Heating
  • Gas & Electricity
  • Building and contents insurance
  • Capitation paid to Central HQ, County & District (essential as it covers things such as scouters indemnity and uniformed membership insurance. Capitation is not a cheap item, this year it was £16.20 per head and is due to increase considerably next year.
  • Maintenance of HQ and grounds – grass cutting and the pruning of trees surrounding the HQ which includes the hire of a shredder.
  • Purchase and maintenance of tentage and camping and activities equipment.
  • We are still hoping to cover the windows with steel mesh – latest estimate is £600. Now the good news – an alarm system has been installed in the HQ and when I tell you we were charged a mere £70.00 you will appreciate that it was a generous gift to the Group.
  • In order to raise money to finance the above, we have tried organising events, sadly without too much success. The New Year’s Millennium Party was planned to take place at the HQ but there was little interest. However it successfully took place at the Rugby Club and raised funds for the Group. The planned quiz night in April was cancelled through lack of interest – just 1 team of 8 and 3 individuals. I did claim my team had won by default but no-one listened! The race night had to be shelved due to lack of heart

The ‘work-in’ on the 6th and 7th November 1999 was successful – seven parents helped over the two days. A great deal was achieved – weeding and clearing up of the grounds, plumbing in the kitchen, drainage pipes cleared, hall, kitchen, toilets and windows were cleaned, and thankfully the scout membership sign outside the HQ was expertly restored by a parent to its original condition. Many thanks again to those who helped.

19th and 20th March was another ‘work-in’ weekend. On the Saturday just the GSL and I turned up and spent the day cleaning the whole of the HQ. On the Sunday it was again the GSL and myself plus the Quartermaster Team who came to perform tree surgery on a very large dead branch overhanging a neighbour’s property. Alas no parents appeared this weekend.

Thankfully the QMs have made efforts to keep us going by the hiring out of our tentage and equipment. Money earned pays for the purchase of new items and covers the cost of the maintenance that they also carry out. Parents are needed to assist with the erecting of tents at these hire-outs – please offer to help – no experience is necessary as the QMs will always be available to show you the ropes!

We desperately need new people to make the Group ‘meaningful’ by which I mean, not just a place for the youngsters to go, but a place which can be enjoyed by all, and at the same time maintain the structure and organisation for the present and future generations.

To end on, a family camp was planned for the Spring Bank Holiday to celebrate the millennium, this had to be cancelled because at the end of the day there was just one family and me. It was disappointing as I thought it was a great opportunity to meet people and establish a Group interaction. As it turned out I was relieved as the weather was catastrophic – a deluge of rain and it was also cold. I just sat at home watching the rain come down and kept warm and comfortable. That must tell you something. We do need youngsters.