The new Scouting programme
For many years there was a specific bell ringing interest badge for Scouts, but things have moved on. The new Scouting 6-25 Programme was introduced during 2002. There are different sections for different age groups as before, including Beavers (6-8), Cub Scouts (8-10), Scouts (10½-14), Explorer Scouts (14-18) and Scout Network Units (18-25).
Young people can still take up ringing for a Hobbies badge, but there are far better ways to incorporate and gain recognition for their developing skills in ringing right throughout their Scouting life. No longer is there the issue of taking it up for a short while to achieve a badge and then moving on to something new. At the heart of the new programme are six areas of personal development; Body, Mind, Faith & Beliefs, Relationships, Community and Surroundings. Leaders help young people to grow and develop in each of these areas through their involvement in the ‘Balanced Programme’.
Part of the programme involves ‘Challenge Awards’ which can be undertaken individually or as members of a group. Each section has a top or key award for which members must complete specific challenges. The Explorer Scout and Scout Network sections share 3 such awards between them, which are compatible with and can form part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s awards.
- Beaver Scouts — Chief Scout’s Bronze Award
- Cub Scouts — Chief Scout’s Silver Award
- Scouts — Chief Scout’s Gold Award
- Explorer Scout/Scout Network — Chief Scout’s Platinum/Diamond Awards & Queen’s Scout Award.
Cub Scouts who are starting their Chief Scout’s Silver Award personal challenge are ideally placed to consider starting ringing.
Part of this challenge requires a commitment of 8 weeks, during which they must show improvement in either a new or existing hobby or interest. This challenge is normally started in the last 6 months of Cub Scout membership and is normally completed before the 11th birthday, just before or just after the move to Scouts.
For Scouts there are several options. Ringing could satisfy the requirements of Area 1 of the Community Challenge, which involves exploring how an aspect of the local community works and is organised to the benefit of its members. Area 2 of this challenge requires the member to take part in some form of community service, including fund-raising projects, so there are possibilities here too.
The Chief Scout’s Gold Award requires, amongst other things, the Scout to undertake personally challenging activities which need a certain degree of commitment. Scouts normally start this challenge about six months before they are due to transfer to Explorer Scouts, i.e. around the age of 14. For the personal challenge element, the Scout must complete the following three areas:
Adventure: Take part in a completely new activity or achieve a higher standard in an existing activity.
Leadership: Attend at least two Troop Leadership Forum meetings and successfully achieve an action point from one of these meetings.
Commitment: Complete an activity that demonstrates personal commitment.
This could be community activities, (eg a weekend conservation project or an activity for younger people), Scouting activities (eg website design and maintenance or helping with younger Sections), or hobbies and interests (eg extra responsibilities in a choir or sports club).
Obviously, ringing fits the bill for the adventure area and perhaps the commitment area too.
Explorer Scouts and The Scout Network
The Chief Scout’s Platinum and Diamond Awards and the Queen’s Scout Award ask, amongst other things, for progress and lasting interest in a skill over a period of between 3 and 12 months depending on which award is being done. Again, this can be either a new or an existing interest.
For further advice, or assistance to do with the ringing related awards for Scouting discussed here, please contact me and I will do what I can to help: