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Blog: What do we learn from change?

Thursday 20th May 2021

It’s safe to say that the one constant we’ve had over the past year or so has been change.

The Boys’ Brigade has had to change how we engage with children and young people. Leaders have had to change how they deliver BB. Battalions, Districts and Headquarters have had to adapt the support and resources provided to leaders.

With a new lockdown starting at the end of 2020, we adapted our main leader training to be delivered virtually. With some trepidation we approached the first virtual session of the first pilot course. Will this work? How different will it be to the what we have been used to? Will leaders sign up?

The latter we needn’t have worried about. With 50 places advertised for two pilot courses on the Friday, all were snapped up by the Sunday. A third course was added to cover the waiting list with another 25 places.

It was a whole new experience… not just for the new leaders undertaking their first BB training, but also for the Trainers, so used to standing in front of a group of people now looking at faces on a screen. The response to our virtual Youth Leader Training (YLT) was positive. Of course we missed the informal sharing sessions over a coffee or at the lunch table, but instead we had the opportunity to welcome leaders from all the nations of the UK, a great sharing experience that previously wouldn’t have happened.

“I have just taken part in the online YLT course and it’s been fabulous! Very well organised, informative and easy to access and take part in. Love the group activities and the facilitators are very helpful and experienced.”
Liza, virtual YLT participant

After evaluation of the pilot courses, three further virtual YLT courses are currently underway at the moment.

With restrictions continuing to ease we can hopefully look forward to a return to being able to do more and more in a face-to-face setting, including training. However I believe we do a unique opportunity to reflect in the weeks ahead on what we had before Covid-19, what has been over the 12 months or so and what we have learnt.

Six months ago I would have said that YLT needs to be delivered face-to-face, and whilst that is probably the preferred option, there will be a place for a virtual version or perhaps a blended approach to take advantage of the best of both worlds, meeting the needs of the leaders, reducing time commitment and geographic restraints.

The pandemic has forced us to review and adapt. Looking ahead we need to make sure that the bits we keep will help us maximise the quality of the BB experience for children and young people. Providing quality in all that we do will ensure that we meet our vision, that children and young people may experience life to the full.

Alan Hunter
Leader Development Manager
The Boys’ Brigade