What are they and how does it work?
One of the most frequent questions we get is about badges and although the Scout badges are currently being reviewed this is a very quick guide to the system as it is at the moment.
We have a number of ‘core badges’ that they basically get for turning up, it’s as easy as that. Once invested they will be given a set of World Membership badges for accepting the Scout Promise and Laws, along with a County/District badge and a Group nametape. After that they will get a Participation award every year. Although we are proud of their time in Scouting only one year should be worn at a time otherwise by the time they leave Scouts there could be a small galaxy on their uniform!
In January 2015 the badge system changed nationally with a changeover period until September 2015. This is to make sure nobody lost out on work they had already done. The new system is much more challenging and requires a significant amount of extra input from the Scouts outside of the weekly meeting.
Now down to the nitty gritty
Each Scout challenge badge marks a real achievement. All nine challenge badges must be completed along with six activity or staged badges in order to get the Chief Scouts Gold Award which is the highest award in the Scout Section.
The individual challenge badges are:
Many of these are ‘built in’ to our programme, for example a Scout will normally achieve their Outdoor Challenge badge on a week long Scout Camp. For some we use external partners like the Triangle After School Club help us with the Personal Challenge.
As there is now so much to do it’s going to be difficult to cram in into the 4 years as a Scout. These challenges cannot be started too early but rather should be an ongoing commitment. Parts of many of them can be done at home or with outside clubs, for thses to be ticked off we would normally ask for some sort of evidence, be it a note, or e-mail from parents or a certificate from a club.
It may seem that we are not doing much towards badges but we are very careful to build it into the programme. Your son or daughters progress can be checked by looking at their badges page on My Scout . Every week they attend you should see a little more of a badge coloured in. This makes sure we have a balanced programme that caters for everyone.
All this seems like a lot, but there’s more….
These will be familiar to those who have been a Beaver or Cub. There are seven different staged badges some of which we can only do at Scouts, some of which are normally done at home. As a general rule if we are able to offer a badge as part of our programme then that is where it should be done. An example of this is Hikes away where we are obviously able to do this at Scouts, but a Musician staged badge would normally be done as an outside activity.
The requirements of the new staged badges can be found here.
The Activity badges are the ‘bread and butter’ of what we do. There are over 60 different Activity badges to suit all tastes. Obviously the Leaders cannot be experts in all these so we are to some degree reliant on Parents, outside instructors, and outside activity groups.
The full list of activity badges and their requirements can be found on the main Scout association website here
The first stage in any activity badge not done through Scouts is to confirm the requirements with one of the Leaders. Once this has been discussed and confirmed it’s up to the Scout to do the work. After this has been done and verified by an appropiately qualified person then the badge will be awarded. Please note that the Scout Leader will have the final say on the award of any badge, although they are normally carried out under the eye of one of the Assistant Leaders.
We are very fortunate in Hampshire to be supported by Pro-Badge, a team of volunteer Scout Leaders and instructors who freely give their time to help with Scout badges. Their website can be found here. Scouts can be booked onto the Pro badge scheme in two different ways. We will make a block booking by advertising the event on ‘My Scout’ or Parents can book directly. If Parents book directly then the Scout Leader MUST be informed prior to the Scouts attending the course, not least of all to ensure the badges are available on the Scouts return. The easiest way to do this would be to copy us in on the e-mail to ‘Scissors’ when requesting the place. Pro-badge would appreciate the help of any Parent who wishes to attend and help run any of the courses. For further details contact the Scout Leader.