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Module G – What is a high quality programme?

Module G – What is a high quality programme?

(To be completed before Module H).
Below are optional activities for running this module. However, it's important to run activities and methods that best suit your ESYLs, ensuring you fulfil the aim and objectives of the modules.

The Scouting programme gives young people the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities to help them develop and achieve their full potential. During the course of a meeting term or session, or during a full year, young people should experience an exciting, enjoyable, high quality and balanced programme that covers a range of challenges, badges and activities relevant to their specific section.


This module aims to provide you with the knowledge of what a high quality, balanced programme is and looks like for the section support. It will help you to understand how awards and badges help to achieve this. It will also give you tips on where to find ideas for planning a high quality programme and tips on reviewing the programme to ensure that it's challenging, relevant and rewarding for each young person in the section.


By the end of this module, you'll be able to:

  • identify the key elements of the younger section programmes, activity badges, challenge awards,
    requirements for completing top awards, and Staged Activity Badges
  • explain how the awards and badges form a progressive Scheme from age 6 to 25
  • understand the concept and importance of having a balanced high quality programme and working towards the top awards
  • understand and explain how Moving On Awards improve links between sections
  • explain what makes us unique as an organisation
  • review the programme using the quality programme checkers


You'll need:

  • a selection of badges for the different younger sections
  • a dice (or a dice on a phone)
  • Programme objectives
  • pre-prepared sheet of ‘famous faces’
  • pens
  • paper
  • creative craft materials
  • Appendix J and Appendix K

Start this session by introducing the module, its aims and objectives.

(suitable for groups of 6+, approx. 20 minutes)

  1. Start by handing each ESYL a badge from one of the sections (Squirrels, Beavers, Cubs or Scouts). There should be a range of different badges. It does not matter if they don’t know what the badge is, but it's important to show them a real variety of badges that cover different elements of the programme.
  2. Ask them to look at the badge they have been given and to think of a way it might relate to them in some way. For example, if they get the Time on the Water Staged Activity Badge, they might talk about a time when they have been kayaking or suggest something they would like to try on the
    water, such as stand-up paddle boarding. If they don’t know what the badge involves, encourage them to have a guess and attempt to relate. They can be as creative as they like, and there are no right or wrong answers.
  3. Next, ask the ESYLs to lay the badges out in front of them. Does anyone else have a badge they think they might relate to more than the badge they were given?
  4. Give them a dice and start rolling. They can use a digital dice on their phone if they don’t have one to hand.
  5. If they roll an odd number, they have to keep the badge they were originally given. If they roll an even number, they can swap badges with someone else, if they have a badge they think they can relate to more.
  6. After two rounds of badge-swapping, ask them to go around the circle and talk about the badge they’ve ended up with. How does it relate to them? This fun game will familiarise ESYLs with the programme, and encourage them to discuss their own hobbies and interests with one another.
  7. Once the game is over, discuss the following points:
  • Did you have a range of badges represented in the group?
  • Can you categorise the badges under the themes of ‘outdoor and adventure’, ‘world’ or ‘skills’? To bring this to life, you could gather three hoops to represent each of the programme areas, and introduce a relay race to place each badge in the most appropriate hoop.
  • Are there any badges ESYLs were particularly surprised to see in the programme? You could highlight less traditional badges such as the Digital Maker Staged Activity badge, which has been introduced to allow young people to apply technology to the outdoors.

(suitable for groups of any size, approx. 15 minutes)

  1. Split ESYLs into two groups. Give each a copy of the programme objectives from Appendix J.
  2. Explain that every young person in Scouting will be working towards these objectives if they want to experience a balanced, high quality programme, or are working towards the top award for the section. This means leaders do not need to worry about the educational and development outcomes, and can instead concentrate on making sessions fun and delivering the programme.
  3. Give each team a badge book for their section, alongside the programme objectives bingo sheet from Appendix K. In their teams, ESYLs should try to match a badge to each objective, using the requirements listed. Explain that these are just examples. All badges fit into this in some way, and many will cover more than one objective.
  4. The first team to find an example for each objective should shout ‘bingo!’.

(suitable for bigger groups, approx. 20 minutes)

  1. Explain that for each section the aim is to work towards their top award. This activity looks at
    what they actually have to do to get their Chief Scout’s Awards.
    • For Squirrel Scouts: acorn
    • For Beaver Scouts: bronze
    • For Cub Scouts: silver
    • For Scouts: gold
  1. Ask the ESYLs to get into groups based on the section they support.
  2. Ask them to draw the outline of the jumper or shirt worn by that section. Inside the outline of the shirt, they should then draw some of the badges and awards they would expect to see on a Squirrel, Beaver, Cub or Scout who has gained the top award for their section.
  3. On the rest of the page, they should draw or write down some of the skills this young person will have gained as a result of completing those badges and awards.

(suitable for groups of any size approx 15 minutes)

  1. Did you know lots of famous people were once Scouts? For this activity, you'll need to do a little preparation. Choose around six famous people who were once Scouts and place their pictures onto a sheet of paper. Choose people you know will resonate with your ESYLs. This will vary slightly for each Unit and may change with time. You can find alumni at Notable former Scouts.
  2. Give the ESYLs the sheet of pictures and ask them to identify as many celebrities as they can.
    Then, ask them ‘what do all of these people have in common?’
  3. In pairs, ask the ESYLs to choose one of the famous people. Did Scouting play a role in their development? Which badges and awards might they have completed in Scouting? How did these badges and awards help to develop the skills they have gone on to use in their careers?

(suitable for groups of any size, approx. 30 minutes)

  1. Split the group into four teams. Assign one team to Squirrels, one to Beavers, one to Cubs and one to Scouts.
  2. Ask each team to create a poster aimed at a parent, explaining all the key information about the section.
  3. When they’re finished, get each team to present their poster back to the whole group. Make sure they have remembered the key elements of the Scout programme, which are progressive throughout each section, such as the Moving On Award, Staged Badges and top awards.

What makes us unique?

If you have a Unit with ESYLs who have never been through Scouting, it's recommended to spend some time looking at some of the traditions and structures that make our movement unique. The amount of time you need to spend on this will depend on the experience of the ESYLs. Explain that as well as offering unique badges and awards, we have a structure and some traditions that contribute to our identity as Scouts. The Fundamentals of scouting are also covered in Module A.

The Promise and Scout Law

The Promise and Law are the simple way in which we help young people and adults to remember and think about the fundamentals of Scouting. It's therefore vital that every Member considers the Promise and discusses its meaning before making the Promise and being invested into Scouting. The promise is made by young people when they join a section. There are alternative versions of the promise for different faiths and beliefs or for those with no faith.

Ask the ESYLs to think of the most creative ways that a young person could make their promise. How can they make the experience memorable for young people?

The Scout Law

The law states how a Scout should act.
A Scout is to be trusted.
A Scout is loyal.
A Scout is friendly and considerate.
A Scout belongs to the world-wide family of Scouts.
A Scout has courage in all difficulties.
A Scout makes good use of time and is careful of possessions and property.
A Scout has self-respect and respect for others.

Opening and close

Different sections will have their own opening and closing ceremony. Encourage the ESYLs to demonstrate their open and close in the section they support, so that they can see alternative ways of doing things. There are some common elements between different opening and closing ceremonies, such as building a lodge for Beavers, taking part in a Grand Howl for Cubs and completing a Flag Break for Scouts. Go through the benefits of having a clear open and close structure with the ESYLs. What does it add to meetings?

Salute, sign and handshake

Explain that in Scouting we have a salute, sign and handshake. Explain that the handshake is a sign of loyalty and trust and go over what loyalty and trust are. You could play ‘the left handshake game’ here to help ESYLs remember the left handshake. Instructions can be found on the icebreaker page of this book.

Peer leadership

Examples for using peer leadership are further explored in Module I.

  1. Go over the benefits of having a peer leadership system in a section, such as Lodges, Sixes and Patrols.
  2. Find out whether any of the ESYLs have ever been a peer leader. It's common to find that ESYLs have previously been a Patrol Leader.
  3. Ask the ESYLs to brainstorm all of the different things a peer leader could do or help with. Remember: it's important to give peer leaders tasks that are meaningful, in the same way it's important that ESYLs themselves are actively contributing and making a difference to the running of a section.
  4. Ideas could include helping run games, feeding back in forums or planning meetings, demonstrating activities to the section, showing their Lodge/Six/Patrol how to do something, looking after new members, or helping with the opening and closing of the meeting.

The world family of Scouting and the World Membership Badge

It's good to remind everyone within the unit that highlight that they are a part of something bigger. This is especially important to stress to ESYLs who are new to Scouting.

Talk about the fact that:

  • There are almost 50 million scouts worldwide. Scouts in different countries will have different traditions and programmes, but we are all united by our values.
  • The collective impact Scouting can have is huge. We are all working to make the world a better place through our shared values.
  • We can extend our reach even more. Imagine the impact we can have if every country has amazing ESYLs who volunteer their time and inspire the next generation of young people.

Thinking about transitions

When thinking about the programme as a whole, it's important that we also think about the transition between sections and young people’s experiences of moving up. Go over the benefits of a smooth transition with the ESYLs and explain that a section also has the responsibility to see every young person progress in their scouting journey, which includes moving onto the next section. Highlight that there are joining in and moving on badges to support transition and retention.

(suitable for groups of any size, approx. 40 minutes)

  1. Ask the ESYLs to plan a linking event, activity or evening for the section either above or below the one they are currently supporting.
  2. Get them to think about the following:
  • Which activities would be appropriate?
  • How would they invite the other section to come along to the linking event
  • How would they mix the two sections together?
  • Which elements of the programme are relevant to both sections (eg Staged Badges)?

    3. Go over the ideas and plans as a group to show the variety of events and  activities you could run.

(suitable for groups of any size, approx. 20 minutes)

  1. Get a large piece of paper (plain wallpaper works well).
  2. On the paper, draw a large horizontal line with 5 ¾ written on one end of the line, and 14 written on the other end. This signifies a young person’s journey from Squirrel Scouts through to Scouts.
  3. Place the timeline on the wall so everybody can see it. Ask ESYLs to draw various dates onto the timeline, such as the time when the young person would generally move on to the next section.
  4. ESYLS should then write down some ideas about what they can do to support the transition, either as the section the young person is moving away from, or as the section the young person will soon be joining.
  5. The activity should show that there are lots of things that can help ensure a smooth transition, and highlights that the transition period is everyone’s responsibility. This is really important if young people are going to benefit from the overall journey of Scouting. Ideas to assist with transition include:
  • setting up buddy systems
  • completing Moving On badges
  • visiting the section
  • encouraging joint events
  • welcoming new people and making sure everyone knows their name
  • keeping an extra eye out for new members
  • talking to those moving up about the next section
  • talking to the whole section about what moving on entails, and promoting all of the exciting opportunities involved

Reviewing the programme: The quality programme checkers and ensuring quality

Explain to ESYLs that it's imperative to review the programme regularly to see how things are going. A high quality programme leads to high retention and to happy young people.

The quality checkers are a tool to help with reviewing the programme. Hand them out to the group. Explain that they are not an inspection tool, but a tool to help you review your programme and to guide you on deciding which areas are your strengths and weaknesses. Young people themselves are often the best source of feedback. Ideas on how to gather feedback from young people is covered for ESYLs in Module I.

Conclusion of Module G
Summarise the module by revisiting the objectives. Ask the ESYLs whether they feel they have covered all of the objectives satisfactorily. Before they go, carry out a review or an evaluation of the session.