First published in November 2017 and updated September 2021.
Information on all the awards is available below, and on the Scouts Scotland site. You are welcome to contact the Region to discuss the best way to support individuals or groups. It is worth noting that the Mencap Gateway Award is available for people (of any age) with a learning disability and that it can be done along with DofE.
DofE Bronze can be the main part of CSA Platinum, and leads on to DofE Silver.
The Chief Scout’s Platinum Award leads on to CSA Diamond.
DofE Silver can be the main part of CSA Diamond.
The Chief Scout’s Diamond Award leads on to the Queen’s Scout Award.
DofE Gold is the highest level of DofE and can be the main part of the Queen’s Scout Award.
The Queen’s Scout Award is the highest in Scouting.
The Explorer Belt is an expedition abroad for Explorers and Network aged 16-25.
The Scouts of the World Award is for members of Network, working individually.
Chief Scout’s Award, Queen’s Scout Award and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is complementary to the Chief Scout’s Awards and the Queen’s Scout Award, and both sets of awards fit perfectly within the Explorer Scout programme.
Scouting and DofE
The Adventure Begins
Two awards at the same time
The requirements of the two sets of awards are very similar: for example, an Explorer who completes DofE Bronze has only a few extra requirements to complete Chief Scout’s Platinum. The best explanation is given in The Adventure Begins. Many Explorers count being a Young Leader for the Volunteering section of DofE. All Explorers, including Young Leaders, are encouraged to do both DofE and the Scouting awards. Those who do DofE at school can ask their Explorer Leader to use it towards the equivalent Scouting award. Network members who are Leaders can count this for Volunteering or Service.
Expeditions are part of most of the Awards and there is a lot of advice available. Much of it provided by DofE but it is relevant to any expedition. See our Expedition Information page. All expeditions must be carried out in keeping with the requirements of The Scout Association, including Activity Permits and Nights Away; for Explorers this may involve the issuing of an Event Passport.
Please note that you must register for QSA to start, and have a mentor in place to help you. If you are an Explorer, your leader is likely to do this. Those over 18 should contact their District or the Region for help.
It should be remembered that candidates have until they are 25 to complete DofE Gold and The Queen’s Scout Award, so they should not give up if they have not completed them when they leave Explorers. Any Network member can do the awards.
The other Awards
The Explorer Belt – an international experience
The Explorer Belt is not just for Explorers! In fact it can be done by Explorers aged 16 and over, by Network members and by members of Girlguiding aged 16 and over.
The Explorer Belt is a challenge of a lifetime. It is a chance to take part in a ten day expedition that brings you a real understanding of a different country, its culture and way of life. You will develop this understanding by travelling through your chosen country, working as part of a small team to complete a series of projects and most importantly by meeting local people. It is an experience and an achievement that you will remember for the rest of your life.
Looking for a programme idea? Your Explorer Unit could take part in a study of environmental attitudes and behaviour, run by Athina Georgiou Shippi, a PhD student at Edinburgh University. She will visit your Explorer Unit and get the Explorers “to join in a number of activities which are both fun and interesting as well as providing me with data. Thus, you could support this study by allowing me to carry out these activities, ideally within a normal meeting. Please note that all information collected during the activities will remain anonymous.”
Athina has already started her visiting and the project is scheduled to run between June and October.
Two documents are attached, one for leaders, and one for Explorers. For further details, please contact Athina using e-mail: S1226472@sms.ed.ac.uk .
Young people face many periods of transition. Scouting offers the perfect opportunity to support them and give them the benefit of your knowledge and experience.
Here’s some advice on tackling a selection of issues that might come up in each section.
Beavers: experiencing change at home, such as divorce or moving house
At this age, you can focus on the emotional impact of change and how to cope. Give young people the chance to talk about their wishes, worries and fears, and let them work through them. For some Scouts experiencing change, attending Beavers will give them a chance to take their minds off what is happening, so they might not want to talk. For others, being able to speak to their friends about how they’re feeling is really valuable. All you need to do is create a safe space.
This is also a great time to start introducing messages about change often being positive. Emphasise this when new members and volunteers start, and if you have to move locations or change the time of your group.
Cubs: moving into secondary school
According to one in10 school leaders, over 50% of young people don’t achieve the right levels of ‘school readiness’ when they start secondary school. According to leaders, the most common ways young people are under-prepared include lack of resilience (53%), lack of social skills (46%) and low self-esteem/confidence (47%).
By becoming Scouts, young people will already get a boost in these areas. However, almost everyone gets nervous about moving into secondary school. Hold a session where older Cubs can discuss the move, and bust some myths together! If they’ve been told that having to attend so many different lessons is overwhelming, you can reassure them by drawing a connection between their new timetables and the range of badges they work towards – for example, young people who were excited about their Backwoods Cooking Badge can look forward to food technology, and those who got stuck into their Science Badge will be able to explore physics, chemistry and biology in more depth.
It’s also good to remind older members how expectations of them at secondary school will be different to primary school. They will have more responsibility over their time management, learning, clothing and equipment. Having them prepare for trips and activities will teach them these skills anyway but you can remind them that at their new school, they’ll need to pack their own bags and learn to prepare properly every single evening. You can also talk about how they can plan their own journeys to school, emphasising the importance of safety. Linking this to their Personal Safety Badge is a great way to do this.
Scouts: coping with exams
90% of success is preparation. You can show your young people how to prepare for exams by creating timetables (except with something more fun than revision – like preparation for a trip or a new badge).
You can also talk about relaxation techniques. Introduce your Scouts to mindfulness apps and gentle forms of exercise like yoga, and emphasise taking regular breaks. Getting into nature has also proven to be beneficial for mental health, reducing brain fatigue, stress and anxiety. A 2010 study found that participants who walked in a forest had lower blood pressure and levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) afterwards than those who strolled through a city. So plan an expedition into the nearest forest or green area around the time of exams, to help everyone relax.
Explorers: going into further education
One of the best ways you can support your young people in preparing for further education is by helping them work out what they’re passionate about. What badges have they particularly enjoyed working towards? Are they happiest when teaching and helping others, or do they come alive when they’re using their hands to create something?
Once they know what they’re going to do, encourage independence by getting them to take their Scouting to the next level. It could be a good time to discuss going for their Queen’s Scout Award or their Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, for example. These awards involve committing to activities such as learning a skill, taking up a physical activity and providing a service, for six months to a year – demonstrating commitment and dedication, and preparing them for the reality of a minimum of three years at university or similar environment. They also involve overnight stays in unfamiliar environments with people that are unknown to them – an excellent way to get them ready for leaving home.
Finally, although Scouts always look out for each other, it doesn’t hurt to remind them to support each other during times of transition and to look out for any other young people who seem vulnerable or lost during periods of change. It’s not just about getting each other through difficult times, but about helping others to get through them too.
SHQ Scotland says “We truly believe that the new Scout brand will help make sure that Scouting is clearly understood, more visible, trusted, respected and widely seen as playing a key role in today’s society. We have a small amount of funding available to help Groups with the cost of updating your Scout Hall or your materials to the new brand.
Would you like to start the new Scouting year by updating your Scout Hall or other materials with our new brand? If so, we’ve got some funding to help you do this. Head to our funding page to find out more: http://www.scouts.scot/members/funding/ …
13,800,000,000 – the number of years travelled in time by the 80 Beavers who took part in a sleepover at Dynamic Earth in May. It was a great experience to explore this popular attraction after all the visitors had disappeared.
6.4% – the increase in young people in the district since the 2017 census.
4 – the number of special awards that have been presented in Pentland. Well done to Ben Walker (19th Scouts) and to Stewart Nicoll (98th Scouts) in receiving the Commendation for Good Service Award, Claire Dallas (Active Support) for being her Award for Merit and to Natalia, who is a Cub at the 92nd who was presented with a Meritorious Conduct Award.
11.6 – the number of kilometres that the 40 Scouts who took part in the Pentland Hills Expedition Challenge hiked over 2 days.
530 – the number of sausages cooked for breakfast for the 180 Scouts, 60 adults and 10 Explorers at the Brass Monkey camp at Bonaly in February. The wet weather didn’t dampen the spirits for those taking part in the Monopoly themed event and a great time was had by all. Well done to the winning team who were from the 100th.
10 – the numbers of days that 2 patrols from Pentland spent at the Blair Atholl Jamborette taking part in a variety of activities and meeting Scouts from all over the world.
5 – the total number of goals scored in the final of the Pentland District Football Cup which was held at the World of Football in May. The winner of the trophy were from the 19th as they overcame tough opposition in the final from the 107th.
50 – the number of Cubs who came along to Bonaly for the Sixers and Seconders camp in September. During the camp the Cubs learned some of the skills they needed to be effective leaders as well as having a shot on the challenging high ropes course.
265 – the number of fantastic adults who make Scouting happen in the District. Without all their hard work and support, the young people would not get the amazing experiences that have been offered to them over the past year.
485 – the score of the winning team from the 9th at this years District Flag camping competition.
200 – the number of cars that were raced at the first ever Pentland Cubs Pinewood Derby in November. Cubs designed and build their own cars from kits given to them and over the space of a day in November, raced them on the specially designed track.
12 – the number of action packed months that have taken place in the District
1 very happy outgoing Acting District Commissioner!
The past year has seen an increasing number of Young People taking part and Adult volunteers becoming involved in Scouting in the Borders which is excellent news. This has kept our Appointments Advisory Committee and Getting Started training busy and active on a regular alternate bimonthly programme. Groups are offering a varied and engaging programme to all Young People from regular weekly meetings to all manners of trips out be they local or city based. Nights Away Experiences are a regular part of many Groups activities involving all sections on a local, national and International level. The Borders were very fortunate to have 10 Explorers participate in the Blair Atholl Jamborette along with 7 selected for the 2019 American World Scout Jamboree. In January a District Brass Monkey camp enjoyed by 100 Scouts was held at Kelso Racecourse which celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the first one held in the Borders which is said to be the birthplace of the Brass Monkey camp.
This year we have also appointed our first Assistant District Commissioners for Youth Involvement – one will be appointed in each cluster and so far, two out of three are in place. These roles are being filled by young people between 18-25 who are bringing a fresh new viewpoint to the District team and they are already ensuring that the views of Young People are at the heart of what we do.
Borders District have been very fortunate to be the beneficiaries of a substantial bequest by the late David Hendry of Jedburgh for which we are extremely grateful. Part of this has been used by SHQ to fund a Local Development Officer for a two-year period. This is allowing us to target specifically three groups, one in each Cluster with the aim of growing them in adult volunteers, sections available and number of young people involved. Whilst the benefits of having an LDO directly involved in the District are immense, it cannot be under estimated the additional work load placed upon the District team. The balance of the bequest has been made available to the District to benefit directly all of the Young People. This is now beginning to take effect with distributions flowing out to groups.
Borders District has a huge geographical spread covering approximately 5000 km2 which creates a logistical challenge for all involved. Huge thanks to all of our dedicated leaders, District Executive and District Team for tackling this head on and making opportunities available for the Young People over all of this area. It was with great pleasure at our District AGM in May I was able to present four Chief Scout’s Commendations for Good Service and four Awards of Merit to leaders and Executive members.