Lekgotla: Discussion document – Strategy

A strategy for SCOUTS South Africa

 A discussion document in preparation for the Lekgota 2017.
Download the PDF version of the SCOUTS South Africa Strategy here

Introduction: The context of our strategic thinking

Scouting is a global organisation focused on developing youth be productive and contributing members of their communities. Our aims are robust: develop character, build citizenship and nurture health of mind and body – these remain unchanged and relevant. However we must position ourselves to face the needs and wants of todays’ youth and society. We certainly face challenges on a number of fronts. As the leadership of SCOUTS South Africa we are tasked with ensuring all youth members have the Scout Experience – our Aims, Principles, Values and Methods, packaged in the outdoors with adventure, fun and lots of teamwork. We operate with very limited resources and largely through the contributions of dedicated volunteers and membership fees. This combination means that we have to be thrifty with our resources, whether people, time or financial.

Our Lekgotla challenge is to seek real solutions for these challenges and to endorse actions for implementation.

As the Board and Exco, we are tasked to propose solutions and to seek their endorsement from our members. Together with Regional Support Teams we are responsible to identify priorities and allocate resources. Our membership should provide regular feedback and ideas on the implementation of agreed actions – the Lekgotla is a key forum to facilitate this. SCOUTS South Africa is our collective movement and we need to jointly agree and face the challenges confronting us.

Fundamental to our method is the Patrol system. We see it at work in our Troop, Pack and Crew meetings. Diversity of thought and skills when given opportunity, invariably results in creating appropriate solutions. We believe the same applies at the Leadership levels of our organisation, and hence the need at the Lekgotla to discuss the strategic way forward, as well as an action plan. We strive to use the energy of our Group representatives to help forge the plans and actions.

We should never forget that the Group is the place where the “real Scouting experience” takes place – where youth live the ‘Scout Experience’ – therefore the strategy and the rest of the systems and structures we put in place need to support and enhance the operation of the Groups and units.

A Vision for SSA

Vision and Mission statements, formats and positioning have been debated in many circles for years. For common understanding SSA’s Vision statement is seen as our high level aspiration to achieve as an organisation. It tells the members in simple terms where we would like to be as an organisation.

The current SSA and WOSM Vision and Mission statements

Vision “The South African Scout Association is South Africa’s premier youth movement dedicated to the development of young people in creating a better country for all” “By 2023 Scouting will be the world’s leading educational youth movement, enabling 100 million young people to be active citizens creating positive change in their communities and in the world based on shared values.”
Mission “The mission of Scouting is to contribute to the education of young people, through a value system based on the Scout Promise and Law, to help build a better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society” “The mission of Scouting is to contribute to the education of young people, through a value system based on the Scout Promise and Law, to help build a better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society.”

As a member of WOSM it is important for SSA to align with our worldwide organisation and ensure that our Vision is aligned. It is equally important that our members and local circumstances are aligned with our Vision. We believe the following proposed Vision for SSA achieves the above and brings a positive, growth, principled and achievable direction to all that we aspire to and will therefore inform and energise our action plans, targets and delivery of Scouting in South Africa:

“Creating a better South Africa by giving a million young people an opportunity to live the Scout Experience

Groups are invited to reflect on the proposed Vision and provide comments at or before the Lekgotla

  • In commenting on the Vision, it is important to understand if your Scout Group can align with it. Thus changing a word is not of importance here.
  • Is this in line with your view of the organization and the path the organization wants to go?

Current Strategic document

In line with the direction SSA adopted, a strategic document for SSA has been developed, discussed and agreed upon by Regional Support Teams, Exco and endorsed by the Board in March 2015.  It is aligned to the World strategic document, but is built around South Africa’s specific circumstances.

  • This strategic document will guide the new Board and the organisation during their tenure over the next 3 years.
  • The task for all Groups is to translate this into action at Group level. Our Lekgotla discussions will help share ideas and actions to breathe life into the strategic areas and actions, and ensure we get traction on the road to achieving our Vision.
  • You are welcome to comment with clear reasons and alternatives before or at the Lekgotla on the strategy document so that we can ensure a robust strategy that can take us forward in being the premier youth organisation in South Africa.

An overview of the current strategic document
What gets measured gets delivered. As an organisation we need to have very clear measures of success. Growing, retaining and delivering our aims are 3 key areas we propose to focus on.

The targets we wish to achieve:

  • Growth – this includes growth of both our youth and adult volunteer numbers, recruiting new adults and youth and recovering adults who may have taken a break. We propose a year-on-year Group, Region and National figure is tracked.
  • Retention – this ensures members are with us long enough to live the Scout Experience and assimilate our aims. Once we attract youth or adult members we need to work to retain the youth as they move through the branches and as they become adults. We need to nurture our adults to retain their skills and contribution. The target is to have a young person as a Scout for 3 years and an adult for 2 years. We will measure years of service of each member to reflect this.
  • Advancement– measuring it through the % of Cubs going up to Scouts and the % of Scouts that reach First Class before they exit Scouts, and the % of adults completing each of the 3 stages of training.

We believe these measures (Star Awards and other local measure can supplement these) when considered at a National level will allow us to confidently assess if we are on the journey to our Vision.

What do we need to do to deliver on the targets?

Strategic focus Implementing actions
Relevant youth programmes Deliver programs that are chiefly FUN and adventurous, but additionally interesting, relevant, useful and provide practical and usable skills for the youth.
Providing resources to support opening new Groups Put the processes and information in place to make it easy to form and grow new Groups, partner with relevant organisations to expand our reach and leverage their membership.
Attract, develop and retain adult volunteers Expand the adult membership, use vehicle (alumni network) to retain membership when volunteers are not able to fulfil roles, develop partnerships to access skilled volunteers to support Scouting and ensure that we make it easy to recognise prior learning and qualifications, ensure that we recognise and reward our volunteers, revise the training programme to be relevant, interesting, time efficient and recognised as a career advancement value addition.
Build a sustainable property portfolio Understand our property assets and usage, ensure that properties are sustainably operated in the best interest of the youth and adults they are used for, manage the process of rationalising unused properties. Develop relationships with local authorities to show communal use of leased properties and benefits to the local community. Ensure administration of all owned and leased properties is done professionally and efficiently.
Stakeholder engagement Internally improve two way communication with members, create forums for engagement, input and discussion, incorporate Group and district needs in strategic planning and objectives; externally build the profile of Scouting as a relevant value addition organisation. Actively seek partnership opportunities with like-minded organisations and authorities.
Engaging with corporate SA Target and engage with corporates to access human resources, as well as finances. Development of an overall fundraising programme and plan. Be able to position SSA as a provider of solid, reliable and civic minded employees and customers.

In achieving these we also need to work nationally and regionally on the following support structures:

  • Effective National based financial management – provide timely reports, an effective five year financial model, ensure tax compliance and good governance to support fundraising efforts and corporate engagements, development of a balanced scorecard to guide financial decision making;
  • Develop an enabling IT infrastructure – implement the scouts.digital online membership system, integrate financials from all the of regions into consolidated reports, further develop the online store and POS and payments (i.e snapscan) system to support access to resources for members, revised national website and regional and Group websites that give a common image and branding;
  • Effective marketing plan – ensure a national common understanding of what Scouting stands for in the public perception, further broaden the communication strategy to recruit members and communicate the values of Scouting to potential funders, improve internal marketing and find the finance to develop internal resources to roll out and support the communications;
  • Keep simplifying – cutting away the unnecessary. Over the years the movement has gathered a lot of rules and processes, things that were done for a specific reason which no longer applies, or that were relevant at the time, but have been superseded because of changes to the law, common practice or lifestyle.

Once again Groups are invited to comment on the above.

In commenting on this strategy, please bear in mind that this is the strategy for the South African Scouting movement as a whole. That means that we are looking for guidance on where and how we need to be working to make the national movement more effective in supporting your efforts on the ground. How can we make good Scouting easier and eliminate as many obstacles as we can, while still protecting our principles and what we stand for? As a result we acknowledge in advance that not all elements of the strategy will ever be equally applicable or of concern to all of our members across the regions or even in their particular sphere and format of the Scouting Experience.

For further reading, and to understand our alignment with WOSM, you may wish to read the draft WOSM Triennial plan approved in Baku in August 2017 you can find it at


Translating the strategy to the Scout Group

What does the strategy mean for my Group? At the Lekgotla we will have break away sessions to discuss this amongst Groups. Please talk in your Scout Group prior to Lekgotla so you can convey the opinions of your Group at that time. If you are not attending, but are giving a proxy to another Group or District Commissioner, give them your Groups’ feedback.  We will look at the following:

If your Group has signed the SPA, you can share your comments on this discussion document at the Lekgotla or in the Closed Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/185086208702182