What is development?
- To build on or change something to make a gradual but visible difference.
- To go through a process of natural growth, differentiation or evolution by successive changes.
- To promote the growth of something, promoting sustainability.
How does this apply to us in Scouting?
By virtue of what we do everyday in Scouting, we are developing - be it as an individual, Group, District or Region.
Development should not be a 'grand masterplan' which is never achievable but bread and butter Scouting; it should be aims which allow for a measured, visible growth of objectives - or a plan.
The means by which we develop are varied and differ according to local circumstances.
Should Groups, District, Regions and Scotland have these plans?
Yes - Scottish Headquarters (SHQ) already has a workplan and Regions are working on theirs, based loosely on the SHQ plan.
Most Groups and Districts probably already have aims they are working to, but have not laid them down as a Development Plan.
They don't need to be complicated - it could be as simple as ensuring all Groups have a GSL, or a Group which has Cubs and Scouts deciding to form a Beaver colony.
What / who is available to help?
Assistant Regional Commissioners (Development) are already in post in every Region.
They are there to discuss and help on matters related to Development. SHQ can also help in various ways - from leaflets to giveaways, a promotional trailer and staff support for events.
The Scottish Development Fund and CashBack for Communities Small Grants Scheme are also available to assist financially with projects which meet its criteria.
How do we begin?
Initial discussions should take place between GSLs and DCs as to what the aims could be.
There should be a mix of development opportunities, ranging from some which will be achievable in a short space of time to others which may be longer-term projects.
If some tasks require to be fleshed out, the ARC (Development) can help with this, while each Region also has an appointed member of staff at SHQ who can assist.
The Development Plan should then be written down with proposed timescales to give an idea of workload and progress.
When setting objectives in your Development Plan, be SMART:
If you follow these headings you will have an excellent Development Plan which will be quantifiable.
Development does not necessarily mean a huge plan; it can just as easily refer to smaller 'quick fix' tasks which can create a feel-good factor.
These smaller achievements build up to produce a bigger picture of achievement when a review is carried out after a year or so.
What do we do next?
Review your Development Plan; it has to be fluid and flexible.
Sometimes an item on the plan can be partially completed, so at the time of reviewing the plan it may be required to reword or revamp the action point, but this should not detract from the original aim.
For example, if in the plan there 6 action points and someone suggests an additional action partway through the time period, it should be questioned if it is as or more important that the original 6 action points.
This then keeps the focus on the development strategy as a whole.