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Module I - What did they say?

Module I - What did they say?

(Links to Module A and C)

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. Listening to young people of all ages and understanding their point of view is an essential part of good programme planning and section leadership. Young people should never feel that their views are ignored and should be actively involved in planning the programme.


This module aims to make you aware of the importance of listening to the views of young people. It gives an overview of how to bring their ideas to life, how to adapt their ideas where necessary, and how to and involve them in the planning of their programme.


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

  • understand why it's important to get feedback and input from young people in the section
  • list different ways you can gather ideas and feedback within your section
  • explain how you can bring your section’s ideas to life and make adaptations where necessary


You'll need:

  • Youth Shaped programme examples
  • plain paper
  • pens
  • small box


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

  1. Ask ESYLs if they were involved in the planning of their programme:
  • How were they asked?
  • Do they think they were listened to?
  • Do they think it's important to ask young people what they think?
  • What are the positives and negatives of asking young people? Is it appropriate for all sections?

     2. Initiate a discussion about why it's important to practice Youth Shaped  Scouting. What are the benefits of young people feeling empowered to plan their programme?

(suitable for bigger groups, approx. 15 minutes)

  1. Give each ESYL a piece of paper. On it, they should write down one activity they could use to gather feedback from young people.
  2. Once they have written down their ideas, they should screw the paper to make snowballs.
  3. Let the snowball fight commence!
  4. After a few minutes, ask the ESYLs to freeze and pick up the snowball closest to them.
  5. Go around the group reading each idea aloud. This should bring up lots of different ideas you could use to gather feedback from young people.
  6. Go over the following points together:
  • It's important that young people shape their own programme and have input planning and running it.
  • You can run a forum as to get specific feedback or to gather young people’s ideas for planning.
  • You can run a simple activity at the end of a session to evaluate the session you have just completed.
  • The best way to get feedback is to make it fun, interactive and embedded into the programme.
  • Once you have ideas and feedback from young people it's important that you use them.

Plan them into the programme. Better yet, support the young people to bring their ideas to life themselves. This teaches them valuable life skills.

Top tip: There are lots of ideas for running Youth Shaped sessions with different sections, for ideas on youth shaped programme activities, take a look through our activity finder.

(suitable for bigger groups, approx. 60 minutes)

  1. Split the group into four teams and set up four bases.
  2. Place different objects or materials at each base.
  3. Give the ESYLs five minutes at each base to come up with an activity that encourages feedback from young people, using the different materials provided.
  4. At the final base, ask each team of ESYLs to run one of the activities they have come up with.

(suitable for groups of 4+, approx. 20 minutes)

  1. Run a ‘fishbowl’ activity. You'll need four players: one who will chair the meeting, one who is instructed to say nothing and look very bored, one who is instructed to look and act in a frustrated way because they are not being listened to, and one who can’t stop talking and keeps interrupting everyone else.
  2. Start a forum meeting with a discussion about what activities members would like to see in the next session. Give the players in the fishbowl some notes to indicate which topics you would like them to discuss.
  3. At the end of the exercise, ask the other ESYLs watching to comment on what happened. Make sure they appreciate the importance of giving everyone the chance to speak. Emphasise the importance of ensuring that quieter people have a say, and that louder people don’t drown out everyone else. It’s important to take everyone’s views into consideration, not just the views of a vocal minority.

(any size group, approx. 20 minutes)

  1. As a group, ask the ESYLs to talk about their own experiences of how they help with the planning of the section programme. Are they actively involved? Does the section leader do the planning? What method do they use to plan? Do they plan at all?
  2. Depending on the experience of the ESYLs, they may not have had the opportunity to be involved yet. If this is the case, ask them to think about how they would like to be included. Do they currently know what the programme is for their section? How much has been planned? Ask the ESYLs to think of examples of this from their own experience.
  3. Try to use as many different modes of communication as possible. This should include ideas coming from individuals. Ask young people to make lists of what they would like to do, encouraging them to evaluate activities they have done, and to be honest about how they could improve next time.

(suitable for groups of all sizes, approx. 30 minutes)

  1. Ask the ESYLs to get into groups based on the section they support. Give each ESYL a scenario from below, or create your own. Suggestions include:

Squirrels who want to go into space

Beaver Scouts who want to climb Everest

Cubs who want to camp in the rainforest

Scouts who want to go skydiving


  1. Ask the ESYLs if it’s possible to turn these ideas into a reality. If so, how can you make these ideas happen? If not, can you offer something similar? Discuss how you might bring these ideas to life.
  2. If your Squirrels want to go into space, find out if there is a fun and easy way to inspire them with space themed activities, or a visit to a local space centre. You could look on the Activity Finder for space themed activities for the Squirrels to learn about space travel, and what gravity is, or get them to make their own rockets. 
  3. If your Beaver Scouts want to climb Everest, find out how far the distance would be. They may not be able to visit Everest itself, but they could cover the equivalent distance between them on a hike. Learn about the area and the terrain. Discuss what you would need to take with them, and pack a bag with the right kit. Talk about what you would need to know and learn and start that journey. You could find out the highest point in the County and pledge to climb it, though this will depend on the location and the risk assessment.
  4. If your Cub Scouts want to camp in the rainforest, start by learning about the conditions there. What is the weather and terrain like? You could recreate your own rainforest in the meeting place out of recycled materials, go on a kayaking taster session to think about what it might be like to kayak in the Amazon, organise a camp with a rainforest theme and use music to recreate the sounds of the rainforest or learn all about the animals who call the rainforest home.
  5. If your Scouts want to go skydiving, you could encourage them to research places where you can go indoor skydiving. Get them to think about how you could cover costs. Could they fundraise for this?

Conclusion of Module I

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.