District AGM

It's not a huge affair, but it takes a bit of organising, and a few worries before hand.

I've restricted my distric activities to training. So I was there partly as a delegate for the group, partly as training officer, and also to inform our delegates about how the AGM works. Our group were hosting the meeting, and we were in place at 8.30, with 80 french rolls, and 70 marsipan cakes (We went out for lunch) Our delegates ranged in age from 13 to 42.

The chairman of our group, talking to the retiring chairman of the District

Generally, scouts in Sweden use a method we call, directly translated "influence market", but a better translation is probably "discussion square". The method was invented by The Swedish Scout Association, and has now been adopted by several organisations and political groups, among others Swedish Red Cross, Attac, and Student organisations in Sweden.

All propositions and motions, including budget and action plans are posted in a room outside of the plena. After the meeting has elected chairpeople and secretaries (two of each to make sure everything gets handled correctly) Representatives from the committee, and if possible the person who has written the motion are in place to answer any questions. The delegates move around to listen and discuss the documents. Observers are allowed to comment and listen too, but only delegates are allowed to leave written comments. You use a green note to second the motion, a yellow note to second with changes, and a red note to negate.

When the Discussion square is closed, all the notes are collected by the committee, sorted and documented, and often after lunch, the meeting continues. One by one the propositions and the motions are presented and so are any comments. If a person wants the meeting to discuss his or her comment and take it into the meeting, the issue has to be woken. Sometimes they aren't, because the delegate might have hade a change of heart or been persuaded not to wake the issue.

This is a lenghty buissness, but it assures that everyone has the chance to say their piece of mind and it is a great way to make the text come to life and get everybody involved. It is used both on a group level and in large, national gatherings. How do involve your scouts in the democratic process?

This time, there wasn't anything controversial and the meeting came to a friendly end about 4pm.


Nick Wood said...

Wow! A whole day for a District AGM! We try to get ours done as quickly as possible!
They take around 45 minutes to an hour and then we normally get a presentation from one of the District's Groups to tell us of an event or activity they have done. That's the best bit!

LoveCat said...

Mmmm, and the national AGM takes two days, but then they usually throw in a couple of courses for Explorers and Network scouts. This year my son is going to take the "Media handling" course.

We don't have county ones though. We usually meet a few times a year to discuss mutual interests and wether we agree on the propositions from the national committee or not.


Nick Wood said...

Two days for an AGM - I think I'd lose the will to live!
Mind you, I guess the national ones have lots of interesting stuff!

Wouldn't mind doing a media handling course myself to be honest. Then we might be able to get some interesting positive sories in our local press!