Skip to main content

Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Tell your Youshape Award Story

Create a story using the things that have so far inspired the group and their YouShape Award.

Back to Activities

You’ll need

  • Big pieces of paper
  • Coloured pens or pencils
  • Pens or pencils
  • Anything to help prompt creative ideas, such as toys, household objects or teddies

Before you begin

·       Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.

·     Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.

Contribution to the YouShape Award

This activity may contribute towards the Planning section of the YouShape Award, depending on the Scouts section you’re in. If this session completes the requirement for an individual or a group, you may want to hand the ‘Lead’ badge out at the end of the session.

Run the activity

1.     Gather everyone together in a circle. Explain that you’re going to create a story using objects that may inspire or represent your chosen YouShape theme. If you haven't yet chosen a theme, try YouShape Bits and Bobs to help you decide on what you’d like to achieve.

2.     Place any props, objects or prompts inspired by the group or individual themes in the middle of the circle.

3.     Depending on if people are working on themes individually, in pairs, in small groups or as section, you might run this activity slightly differently.

·       If you’re working on individual themes, people should create their own story based on the theme they want to achieve. They should write down their ideas or draw their story as you go along.

·       If you’re working on themes in pairs or small groups, people should sit in their pair or group, so they can discuss each part of the story together. They should write down their ideas or draw their story as you go along.

·       If you’re working on a theme as a section, come up with the story together. People could put their hands up to share their ideas with the group. An adult volunteer or young leader could write down people’s ideas as you go along.

4.     The person leading the activity should start the story with ‘Once upon a time…’

5.     Pause and ask everyone who the characters should be in the story. Remind everyone to think about their theme and any YouShape work you’ve done so far. Some people could put their hands up and choose a few people to speak. Remember to write down or draw any ideas, as needed. For example, for a theme to learn about sea life, someone might say a deep-sea diver. For someone with a theme about making things, they may say an artist. For someone with a theme to help the environment, they may say a litter picker.

6.     Now, start the story again and say, ‘Once upon a time, there was a deep-sea diver, an artist and a litter picker, they lived...'

7.     This time pause and ask where the characters would live. Again, people should put their hands up and share their ideas if they want to. Remember to write down or draw any ideas, as needed. You could ask some more prompt questions to help people develop their ideas, such as what does where they live look like, what can you see or what can you hear? For example, the deep sea diver might live underwater in a smelly seaweed house, the artist might live in a brightly painted house that’s made from paint cans and the litter picker might live in a tidy house with lots of bins.

8.     Now, read the story again, pause, then ask everyone what the characters did next in the story. For example, the deep-sea diver might share facts about the animals with others, the artist might visit an art gallery and the litter picker might help tidy up the rubbish.

9.     Continue building the story together in this way, making sure to use or hear lots of people’s suggestions. You may need to remind people how it’s linked to their Squirrels YouShape Award themes or plan.

10.  Once you’ve started or finished your story, let everyone continue working on what happens next individually, in pairs or in small groups. People could create drawings, write, create a collage, or act out the next bit of the story. This will help them decide what they might want to do next towards their YouShape theme.

11.  Once everyone’s finished, gather everyone back together to share their stories and what happens next. Remember to write down everyone’s ideas, as again these suggestions can help influence the next part of your YouShape Award.

12.  If you’re doing this activity to celebrate the completion of the YouShape Award and what you’ve achieved, you might want to act out your story for parents and carers or create an art gallery based on your story to show them what you’ve been doing.


This activity involves lots of listening and teamwork. How did everyone make sure to listen to each other? How did you work as a team? How did you make sure everyone felt that they could speak and contribute their ideas? What would you do differently next time?

What do you like about the story you created? What do you think the title of the story is? How could you use the story to plan what you want to do for the YouShape Award? How has their story or what they made inspired their ideas? For example, if they’ve drawn an ocean full of plastic, could they arrange a litter pick in your local area?


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Phones and cameras

Make sure parents and carers are aware and have given consent for photography.

To make it easier, you may want to remind people of their theme for the YouShape Award. You may also want to give people choices based on their goals, just like a ‘choose-your-own adventure book’ to help them guide the story.

·       People can work in small groups or pairs when suggesting their ideas, or the Section could all work together as a one big group, depending on what will work best for your group.

·       Remember that listening skills aren’t the same for all young people. For example, a young person may need to move, lie down, be standing or fiddle with something, rather than sit in one place to do their best listening. ‘Sitting still’ can make listening more difficult. Try to build movement breaks into your activities to help people who may struggling sitting for long periods.

·       If someone needs support in writing down their ideas or drawing, give them the opportunity to work with someone else to help them. You could also have pictures, scissors and glue sticks available for people to create collages rather than writing or drawing.

·       People who struggle with making choices could find all the options a bit overwhelming, so they might need extra support. They might want to work with a friend, young leader or volunteer to be able to help them to choose. A closed choice can be easier to make than an open question, as people can nod or shake their head in response.

·       Remember, people should only speak or present ideas if they're happy and comfortable to. Not everyone has to present or speak.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Make sure you note down the ideas that were generated. If someone invented a game, ask them about how you play and the rules. If someone draws a picture, take a photo of it for future reference. 

If you want to, see if you can bring the stories together and people could then plan an activity together that achieves both their different goals. For example, ‘Once upon a time, a deep-sea diver, an artist and a litter picker lived in the ocean. They lived in brightly coloured seaweed houses. There are lots of fishes, sharks and sand, but there was also lots of rubbish.’