Hi loyal readers. My apologies for the brevity of this article but with AJ2016 and SSS probably in play as you read this I have had very little time to reacquaint myself with the inside of my eye lids.

A53 Proficiency Badge Form

A new A53 form is now available on the Branch website. You should all be familiar with this form as it is the first step in the undertaking of a proficiency badge. This form essentially forms a contract between the Scout and the badge examiner. It is a very valuable experience for a Scout to engage in a discussion with an adult and negotiate the terms of the badge and then to follow through on that to honour the agreement. This badge is an individual achievement and shouldn’t be churned out sausage mill style across the Troop or a course.

I’ve spoken on this group of badges several times because I see them as one of the most abused parts of the award scheme when instead they have some great value to be added to the development of a young person if applied properly. Proficiency badges are subject to a lot of variation and individuality so I think it is pertinent to have a quick review of the requirements:

  • There are three elements to the award: demonstration or investigation; learning one or more skills; participating in an activity.
  • The badge requires a minimum of 10 hours effort or participation by the Scout and must be completed within 4 months of commencement.
  • The Scouts knowledge will be assessed in the chosen area and they must then show advancement from an existing skill level in that area. You cannot receive recognition of prior learning on a Proficiency badge because you must have advanced from your current knowledge / skill level.
  • The details of the badge are to be discussed with the Assessor and recorded. A specific form exists for recording this simple contract between the Scout and the Assessor, the A53, which is available on the Branch website.
  • There is only one level of each Proficiency badge; the same badge cannot be done twice. Some special badges also count as a proficiency badge.


Over the past months I am continually hearing about local rules being created for Scouts undertaking the Journey segment of their Campcraft Target. A lot of time and consultation went into the creation of the Journey Guidelines, viewpoints were well considered and debated and the resulting document represents a balance of ADVENTURE, safety and ability to deliver the award scheme element through the Scout troop.

A few points to note:

The Supervisor in almost all cases should be the Scout Leader for the Troop. They are responsible for delivering this training element to the candidates. It is not the Examiners responsibility to train the Scout.

  • The Scouts should be undertaking the Journey on their own and not be surrounded by a sea of adults watching their every step or leaving a trail of food and water in front of them that blind Freddy couldn’t miss. A checkpoint doesn’t even need to involve contact if you can assure yourself that they are on track.
  • The Examiner doesn’t need a PhD in bushwalking. Some journeys don’t involve bushwalking at all.
  • The Examiner is appointed by the DC or RC and not self-appointed.
  • It is OK to interchange Scouts at lower levels of the Journey. For example if it is an Adventurer level Journey (NOT a green cord hike) then a Pioneer level Scout could be swapped out each day.

Please take the time to read the Journey Plan and Guidelines carefully. If you have any concerns then talk to your District or Region Scouter Leader as appropriate so they can be allayed or taken to the Scout Section Council for further review. This is the appropriate level for addressing the award scheme, not locally.


Our current numbers are looking like 26 Jamboree Troops will be heading to Cataract Park in 2016. Many applications have been started but not completed and we are working through these. I suspect that there are a few out there that are a bit casual about it and still to be acted on. Our applications have closed as of the 30th of June. To make this date your application and payment needs to have been received and processed so its definitely not a case of emailing it at 11:59pm on the 30th June. Any applications processed after this date will attract a late fee from the Jamboree Executive Committee (JEC) of $100. In previous Jamborees this fee has been overlooked but for this Jamboree I’m sure that this will not happen.

Sc2 Sc3

If you make listening and observation your occupation you will gain much more than you can by talk..” Sir Robert Baden-Powell

Steve Marshall (Wolf)
Branch Commissioner Scouts