Environmental project for Explorers

Environmental project for Explorers

Take part in an international study

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 .

Supporting young people through periods of change

Supporting young people through periods of change

Supporting young people through periods of change

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.

Scout Brand Update

Scout Brand Update

New Branding

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/ …

Pentland District’s Year by Numbers

Pentland District’s Year by Numbers

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.

Pentland District’s Year by Numbers

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.

Pentland District’s Year by Numbers




Pentland District’s Year by Numbers

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!

Borders District Report 2018 for Regional Report

Borders District Report 2018 for Regional Report

Borders Brass MonkeyThe 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.

Borders District Report 2018 for Regional ReportThis 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 Report 2018 for Regional ReportBorders 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.

Douglas Allan
District Commissioner
Borders District

Explorer Scout Young Leaders with Beavers, Cubs and Scouts

Information for GSLs, Section Leaders and ESYLs

Explorer Scout Young Leaders are an extremely useful resource for the younger sections.  The experience of being a Young Leader is very rewarding, particularly if all the training is completed, and contributes hugely towards the Skills for Life that Scouting is committed to providing.  They are one of our main sources for recruiting the adult leaders of the future, and section leaders play a crucial role in giving them the opportunity to develop their skills. In recognition of the value of Explorer Scout Young Leaders, Scouting is investing in this area to improve the experience for young people and adults alike as outlined below.

The full title for young people who help run the younger sections in Scouting is now Explorer Scout Young Leader (ESYL) to emphasise that they are, indeed, Explorers (exception for candidates from outwith Scouting: DofE only; Girlguiding). There is little change to the role, but the paperwork has been simplified.


The Explorer Scout Young Leaders’ Award Scheme has been reviewed and the support on offer is much ESYL badgeimproved, following a long period of consultation across the UK.  The inclusion of ‘Award’ in the name reminds everyone that the Explorer Scout Young Leader Belt is one of the top awards in Scouting, and all ESYLs should be encouraged and supported to achieve this.


ESYL Logbook cover

The new Explorer Scout Young Leader Logbook, contains much useful material and should be used by all ESYLs, including DofE helpers from outwith Scouting, as it provides information for all parties as well as recording information and progress. The first section replaces the old Placement Agreement, but it should be emphasised that the requirement for all placements to be agreed with District and to be recorded has not changed. The Logbook contains an agreement to be signed by the ESYL, the Section Leader, and the ESL(YL) or DESC.  To support this, the Region has agreed to fund the cost of the Logbook, and this will be arranged with the DESC/ ESL(YL) as appropriate.

The new process – quick checklists

For each new ESYL 

  • Contact ESL(YL) or DESC to agree the new placement and register the ESYL
  • Issue Explorer Scout Young Leader Logbook
  • Enter details and sign Expectations section (signed by ESYL, the section leader, and the ESL(YL) or DESC)
  • Training and missions are recorded when completed, starting with Module A within 3 months

For each ESYL who already has an existing Placement Agreement 

  • Issue Explorer Scout Young Leader Logbook
  • Enter details on inside front cover and sign Expectations section on page 3
  • When time allows, ESL(YL) will enter information in Completion overview section
  • New training and missions will be recorded in the new Logbook


Further details are available below.
Local information will be available in your District from the ESL(YL) or DESC.
You are also welcome to contact Kirsty Ireland – Regional Adviser (ESYL) youngleaders@sesscouts.org.uk


  • ESYL: Explorer Scout Young Leader
  • ESL(YL): Explorer Scout Leader (Young Leaders)
  • DC: District Commissioner
  • DESC: District Explorer Scout Commissioner
  • GSL: Group Scout Leader
  • DESA: District Explorer Scout Administrator
Logbook Expectations

Extract from ESYL Logbook

As an ESYL, you are an integral member of the Beaver Colony, Cub Pack or Scout Troop leadership team. As such, you are expected to contribute to the running of meetings and to support section leaders. In doing so, you will gain the self-confidence to take an active leadership role and progress with your ESYL Leader Belt, Chief Scout’s Awards and/or Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

As an ESYL, I will…

  • Act as a positive role model to the Beavers/Cubs/Scouts that I am working with
  • Carry my Young People First (Orange Card) and follow the safeguarding standards at all times
  • Take an active role in supporting the section leaders during the whole meeting
  • Contact at least one of the leaders if I am unable to make a meeting, giving as much notice as possible
  • Assist in setting and clearing up the session alongside other leaders

As a section leader, I will…

  • Actively involve the ESYL in the running of the meetings
  • Sign off the ESYL’s evidence promptly after they have completed their service towards the completion of their awards
  • Inform the ESYL of any concerns
  • Set achievable tasks and review them with the ESYL to help them gain their missions and awards if relevant
  • Involve the ESYL in planning meetings as an integral member of the leadership team

Signed by Explorer Scout Young Leader:

Signed by section leader:

Signed by Explorer Scout Leader (Young Leaders) or DESC:

DofE Volunteering

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award requirements and Explorer Scout Young Leaders

The timescale and start date for DofE depend on a number of factors and should be approved by the DofE Leader on eDofE – the electronic system used to record progress through DofE.  It is important that those from outwith Scouting do not continue to help in a section beyond the period of time they have chosen unless they choose to become Explorers. If there is any doubt about the timescale, the candidate can be asked to show the relevant section on their eDofE account, or the DofE Leader can be contacted.  The timescale and dates should be recorded on the inside cover of the Logbook.  DofE candidates who are Explorers can, of course, continue as ESYLs, but it is in their interest to have the Volunteering section signed off promptly at the end of the required period.  Section Leaders acting as Assessors should ensure that Module A has been completed before submitting their report.

Training requirements are the same for each level: to complete Module A plus a further two hours of training appropriate to role.

The required period for the Volunteering section will recorded on eDofE as:

  • Bronze: 3 months or 6 months
  • Silver: 6 months or 12 months
  • Gold: 12 months or 18 months
  1. To become an ESYL a young person must be registered with District via the ESL(YL) who is responsible for all ESYLs in the District and who must be consulted before a placement is arranged. Primary registration for an ESYL should be done by their ESL or by the ESL(YL) if they are a member only of the District ESYL Unit. 
  2. Contact with the ESL(YL) should be made by the section leader with the approval of the GSL.
  3. The Scout Association’s advice that a period of twelve months should elapse before ESYLs can operate in their old Scout troop should be followed. Where geography permits ESYLs should be encouraged to move to a different group as this will broaden their experience.
  4. There should be no more than three ESYLs in a section.
  5. Each ESYL (including DofE candidates from outwith Scouting) will be issued with an ESYL Logbook by the ESL(YL), who will ensure that the information on the inside cover is entered and that the declaration on page 3 is signed so that all parties understand their responsibilities. The ESYL should show it to their parent/guardian.
  6. The ESYL should operate in the one section listed in the named Group. If, in exceptional circumstances, an additional section is agreed by the ESYL, the GSL and the ESL(YL), an additional copy of the summary record should be issued and completed.
  7. All ESYLs (including DofE candidates from outwith Scouting) must complete Module A within three months. All ESYLs should be encouraged to complete more (and hopefully all) of the modules and missions required for the award of the Young Leader’s Belt.
  8. The Safeguarding Policy of the Scout Association applies to the Young Leader just as it does to any other young person under 18 years. The ESL(YL) will issue the ESYL with the ‘Orange Card’ which is a modified version of the adult leader’s ‘Yellow Card’.  The ESYL should carry this at all times.
  9. An ESYL must be supervised by an adult leader at all times and should never be given sole responsibility over a group of younger people.
  10. If an ESYL takes part in any residential or adventurous activities as a Young Leader their parent or guardian’s permission should always be obtained.
  11. On a Nights Away an ESYL must have separate sleeping accommodation to both adult leaders and Scouts.
  12. An ESYL should not normally be expected to pay for a camp or outing for the section they are helping.
  13. Candidates from outwith Scouting must also be registered immediately. DofE candidates should be registered only for the period required by their DofE. This will be recorded on the contact page of the Logbook and at the end of that period they must cease to be an ESYL or become an Explorer Scout.  Failure to observe this rule has serious implications for insurance.
  14. All ESYLs other than those mentioned in the previous bullet point are Explorer Scouts and can participate in all Explorer Scout activities, whether they belong to a specific Unit or only the Explorer Scout Young Leaders’ Unit. They should be encouraged to do so.
  15. It should be noted that ESYLs using their role for the Volunteering section of DofE (whether with Scouting, school or elsewhere) must complete the minimum training requirements (Module A and two additional hours of training per level) before their Assessor can sign them off by submitting their report.
  16. An ESYL cannot continue as an Explorer Scout Young Leader beyond their 18th birthday.
  17. Training should be recorded in the Logbook and signed off by the person delivering the module(s).
Further information