This post reflects the personal views of Martin Eliasson and not necessarily the CMC planning team.
I’m going to write a little today about my thoughts on the program for the upcoming Centre Managers Conference (CMC). I Have been on the planning team for CMC twice already, and I have always focused on the program. In Neihaischen 2013 I was taken by surprise a little because I had imagined that it would be like Jambville 2011, but it was very different I think.
I do my own evaluations and I keep going back to them, and one of the things I do nowdays is that I dig into the early request for partnership answers. As you may know, we are trying hard to get Erasmus+ funding for the CMC so we are quite early and I know things will change, yet, I think the statistics are interesting.
If we take a look at from where people got the information and invitation to CMC from, it is very scattered:
28% Goose Network
26% From my NSO / MO
20% European region communications
9% Social Media
I believe this statistic is illustrating that the link between Scout Centres and NSOs are not the strongest. There are many reasons for this and I will not dig deeper into it here, what I do think is that we who are active at scout centres and care about scout centres must never rely on NSOs as single channel of communication. This is why we are sending out the invitation through as many channels as we can and with good result.
Another takeaway is that the Goose Network is vital. If we hadn’t Goose we would be far worse off, especially considering that the whole planning team, except for the great scouts of the hosting centre Úlfljótsvatn, are active in Goose.
One reason to go to CMC is that you liked last CMC. I work hard to make the program as meaningful as possible. Looking at the application statistics, 46% or about half, came to last CMC. At the moment this looks like a good number. I can also tell from the underlying information that some did not come to last CMC but earlier CMC. To me, this tells me we should really try to not repeat anything from last time, but leave it to participants to discuss in breaks, over lunch etc.
I find this an interesting challenge, because this year I’m thinking a little about just not changing the workshop contents but maybe experiment a little with the format too. More about that in coming posts.
So who is coming? This years statistics are pretty straight forward: Roughly 1/3 Centre Managers, 1/3 Mid-level managers and 1/3 Board or committee members.
It will make it a little of a challenge to please all backgrounds and I think we might have to come up with a way that the workshops can be meaningful to participants of different backgrounds. On the other hand, I think it can be a great strength that scouts with varying backgrounds but a common interest meet.
Finally, I did some interpretation from the free text entries of the partnership form concerning what you where interested in. It is my interpretation and so it is not exact science, but here is the data. Not everyone filled in the free text field and some of you mentioned several of the items below, so it’s not some pie-chart data and it’s not normalized. I see it as a “tip of the iceberg” view.
22% Developing best practices and growing centres
20% EVS, funding and finance
17% Volunteers: taking care and attracting.
15% Environment and SCENES
13% Sustainable networking
Let me comment a little on this.
22% Developing best practices and growing centres. This is a lot about what Goose Network is about and I recognize a lot of centres in this category who are clearly aiming to grow or are building something new and who have realized that instead of doing every single mistake you can go to existing centres and learn fast. I think this is great and I’m sure you will enjoy the conference and all contacts. In my experience, centres and applicants in this category tend to use their networks well.
13% Sustainable networking – This is a challenge that has resurfaced yearly, that we all want our network to be more active, bring better result, more guests, more volunteers etc, but networking requires effort. My own view on this is so long I will have to write another post about it.
20% EVS, funding and finance – This is an important issue and have always been. Ever since I sat in the financial workshop at CMC 2011 in Jambville, I have heard the same thing over and over. Scout centres are financially challenged. Margins are thin. Any way to bring in funding is welcomed. This is why we in the CMC planning team and Úlfljótsvatn work so hard to bring ion the Erasmus+ funding. We know how vital it is. It is also why I think Felipes workshop about managing financials at KISC held at CMC 2015 in Kapraluv Mlyn was one of the greatest workshops we have had.
17% Volunteers, Taking care and atracting – Another item resurfacing year after year concerns how to get volunteers and how to take care about them. I know this one is important to all of you and it is to me to, so much that two times in a row I have suggested the theme of CMC to be “friendship” because I think at the heart of the matter, friendship is a cornerstone of what volunteering is about. I’m very pleased that friendship made it into this CMC and I want to do something that makes a difference for you this year.
15% Environment and SCENES – Seth Godin pointed out that all easy problems are solved, what remains are the hard ones. I was at the SCENES conference in 2008 (I think it was) in KISC. I remember clearly that one of the core issues was coming up with good environmental program beyond recycling. In a way, almost ten years later, this is still a challenge for us in many ways, so either there are no easy solutions or we have been looking at it the wrong way for a long time.
Hope to see you all in Iceland
former co-ordinator of Goose Network
Member of CMC planning team 2013, 2015 and 2017