Programme support and what's coming soon
With the news that over 30 million people in the UK have had their first COVID-19 vaccine, it feels like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
The past year has been challenging for everybody. I’m so proud to be a part of a movement that’s bounced back and kept going despite the circumstances. We’ve learned to do all sorts of things differently, and our programme is no exception.
What we’ve learned
We’ve been talking to people from 1st Virtual Facebook and Scouts from the nations to understand the amazing things people have been doing to support Scouts during lockdown. We learned a lot!
Firstly, we heard that people value recommendations – it’s not just about having plenty of activity ideas, it’s about endorsements from other volunteers and hearing about other people’s tried-and-tested favourites.
We also know that sharing should be easy – understandably, people want to share ideas through platforms everyone’s already using including WhatsApp, Facebook, and local Scout websites.
Behind the scenes, we’ve been thinking about how we can work with volunteers who make and share programme ideas. Great ideas come from people across our membership: we want to play our part and help leaders to discover them.
Finally, I’ve been reflecting on how we share the activities our Programme team have made. It’s easy to see HQ activities as faceless and disconnected from real-life Scouts, but nothing could be further from the truth. Lots of volunteers (and staff who also volunteer) put these activities through their paces to make them the best they can be – and I think that’s something worth celebrating.
The Programme team have already started working on solutions to some of these challenges and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you when I can. In the meantime, let me know what you think Wendy.Human@scouts.org.uk
What we’ve been working on
We know that St George’s Day is an important date for many people in Scouts. Things won’t quite be ‘back to normal’ this year, so we’ve designed a range of activities to help you mark the occasion. Find out more about St George (and what he means for Scouts) with A soldier, a saint, a Scout?, then reflect on the past year with An unusual year at Scouts before it’s time to Renew your Promise online. Still stuck for inspiration? We’ve put together a blog full of inspiration, ideas, and resources to get you started.
The past year hasn’t been easy, but not even a pandemic could stop Scouts from earning badges and awards. Celebrate everyone who did their best at online Scouts with And the winner is… and think about how you can celebrate people’s achievements with Virtual awards celebrations.
We wanted to make sure everyone had the chance to join in with Holi at the end of March, so we created activities to help volunteers Celebrate the festival of colours with younger sections and run a Virtual Holi with Scouts and Explorers.
At this time of year, we also mark World Autism Awareness Day. Thanks to our A Million Hands partnership with the National Autistic Society there are plenty of activities to help you understand different kinds of disability, and take action, to make your corner of the world more accessible for everyone.
I’m really excited to introduce you to our first programme lab, which gives everyone the chance to share solutions and ideas in response to particular challenges facing our movement. Thank you David Breakwell – you’ve stepped up and taken the lead by helping others organise events to say thank you to the people who make Scouts happen.
We also sent out our first email specifically for section leaders. You told us that you liked how concise it was, but that you wanted more badge links and more for Young Leaders. Your feedback will help us shape our approach to the next email.
What we’re up to next
Developing a programme for our new friends in the early years section has been top of lots of people’s to do lists recently. You can check out the proposal on our website – scroll down to the bottom and fill out the feedback form to let us know what you think and help shape our youngest members’ adventures.
We’ve also been working in partnership with HSBC to develop activities that help Beavers and Cubs build up their money skills, with fun activities on topics like choosing between wants and needs and budgeting for camp.
You may have already seen some great content from 1st Digital Scouts: we’re working together to get their videos on our website so everyone can benefit.
Finally, we’ve updated our guidance on the flexibility of badge and award requirements in light of COVID-19: headlines include extending every deadline until December 2022 and encouraging you to use your judgement to adapt requirements and recognise prior achievements. If all else fails, we’re working on what giving partial recognition would look like; but the most important thing is that we’re as flexible as possible and celebrate young people’s achievements in every way we can.
I don’t want to underestimate how difficult the past year has been, personally and as a volunteer. I’ve been consistently inspired by how you’ve adapted and innovated to keep Scouts going for young people, and I hope that that drive and passion continues as we get back to face-to-face Scouts.