- Hoops, sitting spots/spot markers or similar
- Sticks or similar
- Something to represent a river and dam
- Moving on Award badges (optional)
Before you begin
- Pick one side of your meeting space to be the drey (nest), and another side to be a river. On the side representing the river, have something to represent a river and dam that Squirrels will be able to put a stick on. Or, if you have all the Beavers coming to the meeting, they could sit in wiggly lines to form the river, and they could use sticks to build a dam.
- Then, layout hoops or markers, part way along the route between the drey and the dam. These will act as the ‘trees’, which the Squirrels will step or jump between. If you’re outside, you could use chalk to draw out markers (or get creative and draw trees).
- If collecting sticks with the group isn’t possible, you could collect them before the session. Or, for an alternative to using real sticks, you could use a picture of a drey(nest) and a picture of a Beaver dam, and the Squirrels who are moving on could carry something to represent a stick, like a paper straw or craft stick.
- If you’re giving the Squirrels moving up their Moving On Award badges or anything else, get these ready.
You could use the Squirrel’s special journey story or poem to bring this moving on ceremony to life.
In the river, on the far side of the woods, lived a friendly group of beavers. As beavers do, they’d built a big long dam, all the way from one side of the river to the other. What do you think they used to make their dam? All sorts of things - stones, branches, sticks and mud!
Before long, a beautiful pool appeared. Right in the middle of the pool, the busy beavers built their home, which they call a lodge. What noise do you think the beavers made when they were swimming around?
All was well, until one day, there was a big storm, and part of their dam fell down. “Oh no!” said the beavers. “What’s going to happen to our lodge?”
Luckily, beavers are always prepared. They had a pile of branches and sticks ready, and with a splish, splash and a splosh, they quickly got to work repairing their dam.
“This looks great” the beavers said, “we just need one more stick”. They searched and searched all around, and there were no more sticks anywhere to be seen!
Across the woods, from high up in the tallest tree, a squirrel spotted the beavers’ struggle. What do you think the squirrel decided to do?
Because squirrels are kind and helpful, they took a spare stick from their drey (their nest). Then they set off, through the woods, jumping high from tree to tree, all the way to the river.
“I’ve got a spare stick, if you’d like it” said the squirrel. The beavers were so grateful, that they asked the squirrel “Do you want to join our Colony?” The squirrel was confused. ‘What is a Colony?’ they said. “It’s just the name of a group of beavers”, explained a friendly beaver.
The squirrel thought carefully about this. They thought about all the new adventures they could have with the beavers and all the new friends they could make. What do you think the squirrel said? “Yes please!” the squirrel replied.
The squirrel went to put the final stick on the dam, and something strange happened. Suddenly, the water around seemed to sparkle and twinkle, as if the light was dancing, and they heard a magical sound.
Then, something amazing happened. The squirrel’s fluffy tail started to lose its fluff and became shorter and flatter, like a paddle. “Wow” the squirrel thought “this will be great to move around in the water. And that wasn’t all!.. Their front teeth grew strong and long, and their pointy ears became round. They looked down at their paws, and saw them turn into beautiful webbed feet, like flippers. “Wow” they said “I’ll be able to swim really fast with these!”
It was then the squirrel realised, they’d become a beaver too!
Down in the river, to the side of the wood,
Lived a nice group of beavers in their own neighbourhood.
As beavers will do, they had built a long dam,
Stopping the river with a solid log jam.
A beaver makes dams from all sorts of bits,
Like stones and branches and mud, and big sticks.
In front of the dam, the water had pooled
A beautiful, very full, fresh swimming pool.
Right in the middle, they built up a lodge
A permanent home no one could dislodge.
The beavers would swim and they’ll splash and they’d play,
Enjoying themselves to the end of the day.
One awful night, a huge storm cloud hit,
With thunder and lightning that threatened to split
The whole woodland open, as the rain came down.
The river was flooded, and burst through the dam.
‘Oh no!’ said the beavers. ‘We must save our shack!
‘Let’s work together to build the dam back.’
Luckily, beavers are always prepared.
They had piles of stones for such a repair.
Into the river they jumped and they swam,
Working together to sort out their dam.
‘We just need a branch,’ said the beavers, ‘go quick.’
They searched all around but could not find a stick.
Across in the woods, high up in a tree,
Squirrel saw beavers searching frantically.
Squirrels are kind and so helpful and good,
So Squirrel looked round for a stick in the wood.
‘Here’s one in you can have – from my nest, called a drey!’
Then they ran to the river to save the whole day.
‘I’ve got a spare stick!’ said Squirrel. ‘Don’t worry!’
The beavers, they grabbed it in all sorts of hurry!
The lodge would be saved, and they’d made a new buddy.
The beavers asked Squirrel to join in their colony.
(A colony’s a group for adventures and fun.)
‘Yes please!’ said Squirrel. ‘I feel like I’ve won!’
All of a sudden came a magical sound,
And the water – it sparkled and twinkled around
The tail of the squirrel, which was losing its fluff!
It went flat like a paddle, leathery and tough.
‘Wow!’ though the squirrel, ‘this will help with swimming,
‘But look – the changes are only beginning!’
Their front teeth grew stronger and longer and wide,
Their body grew bigger each way, side to side,
Their small pointy ears lay down flat like a kipper,
Their paws became feet with toe webbing, like flippers.
It happened right there, on the bank, in a blur!
That nice helpful Squirrel had become a Beaver.
Make your drey
- Everyone could have fun collecting sticks of all shapes and sizes, and building a squirrel drey (nest), on one side of the meeting place.
- Everyone gathers together on the side of the meeting place that’s acting as the drey(nest). Anyone from Beavers can gather on the other side that’s acting as the river.
Journey to the river
- Talk about who’s moving onto Beavers.
- The person leading the activity can then explain that the Squirrels moving on are going to take a stick from their drey(nest) and put it on the Beaver dam. To get there, they’ll have to go through the woods, jumping from tree to tree.
- Before starting their journey through the trees, ask each Squirrel to say the moving up poem.
The moving up poem
- Ask everyone to start their journey through the trees. Explain that they might find they run out of trees before they get to the river, but that’s alright, because the other Squirrels will be able to help them out.
- When they run out of trees, the rest of the Squirrels can move the spare hoops. Or if you’ve used chalk, they can draw in more trees!
- Continue until all the Squirrels who are moving on have reached the river. The other Squirrels go back to the drey(nest).
- The people moving on can each place their sticks on the Beaver dam.
- The Beaver leader could welcome the new people into the Beaver Colony using the Scout handshake (using left hands).
A moving on ceremony is a way to celebrate someone’s time in Squirrels, and to help them process moving onto Beavers – the next step in their Scout journey.
It can also be a good time to reflect on what they’ve enjoyed at Squirrels, and what they’re looking forward to at Beavers.
You could bring the Squirrel Drey and the Beaver Colony together for the ceremony, or just have someone from the Beaver leadership team come along. Having people from Beavers there will be another chance for the Squirrels to get to know them, and help them feel comfortable with moving on. It’s also a great chance to help everyone learn a bit about Beavers - you could ask someone from Beavers to tell everyone what it’s like and the sorts of things they do.
It’s also a great time to present Squirrels with their Moving on Award.
It’s up to you how you run your moving on ceremony. Your Drey might have its own special way of doing things or you might want to create something brand new. We’ve put a suggestion below, but you can do what works best for your Drey and for the Squirrels who are moving on.
Here are some more ideas to help you plan a great moving on ceremony:
- You could theme the ceremony around the beaver animal – exploring what they look like and where they live. You could even make your own beaver tails.
- You could use a story about a squirrel going on a journey, and joining a colony (group) of Beavers. We’ve put an example below.
- You could have a special song or rhyme that everyone sings together.
- You could do the ceremony as part of a party, where you could play favourite games of the people who are moving up, and share their favourite foods.
You might want to invite parents/carers to watch this important step in their journey through Scouts.
A moving on ceremony can be a good time for those moving on to reflect on what they’ve enjoyed and learnt at Squirrels, and what they’re looking forward to at Beavers. It's also a good chance for everyone to think about what it means to be a Scout and to be part of a group.
Make your drey
- What is it like working together to make something?
- What is it like being part of a Squirrel Drey (a group of Squirrels)?
Journey to the river
- How did it feel to help the new Squirrels get to the river?
- How did it feel to have your friends helping you?
- Active games
The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed. Take a look at our guidance on running active games safely.
Plan a moving on a ceremony that everyone will enjoy and be comfortable doing - especially the people moving on.
With this example, you could change how people move between the markers – it doesn’t need to be a jump or even a step. Or, the challenge could be to weave around the markers instead.
If you’re thinking of using a handshake, make sure the person will be comfortable with this. Some people don’t like touching others. If it’s not something that’s going to help them feel welcome, then avoid it.
All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.
Everyone could share any ideas about how to say goodbye to Squirrels who are moving on.