After a number of discussions and observations in recent times I’d like to touch on a number of topics associated with the award scheme.
It’s no secret that the Scout Section operates around the Patrol system. A Patrol is made up of from 4-8 Scouts including a Patrol Leader and an assistant Patrol Leader. There are no other leadership positions within a Patrol though a Scout may be assigned a particular duty such as Patrol Quartermaster, scribe or librarian. Under normal circumstances the Patrol is made up of Scouts with a spread of ages and abilities. Correspondingly the award scheme is comprised of three levels which relates to the varied development of the Scouts within a Patrol. The levels are:
- Pioneer – focussed on participation and learning
- Explorer – focussed on knowledge and skill
- Adventurer – focussed on instructing others
Careful consideration should be given to the selection of Patrol members so that there will be Scouts working at all levels of the award scheme. The award scheme is designed around this premise and the tasks are set accordingly so that for any given undertaking there are opportunities at all levels for the Patrol members to achieve some recognition within the award scheme. The norm should be that this Patrol stays together for all activities and they progress in unison. Older Scouts who go up to Venturers are replaced at the entry level by linking Cub Scouts or new members. Rarely it may be necessary to put together an Activity Patrol for a specific activity or event but the emphasis is on rarely.
As can be seen from the levels above the award scheme focusses on skills and abilities relevant to the Scouts level of development and maturity. It is progressive in nature to parallel the progressive development of the Scout. This brings me to an often asked question which revolves around a Scout that has floundered at the Pioneer level for most of their time in Scouts and has suddenly had an epiphone and decides they really would like to earn an ASM in their final months in the Scout Section. The next logical step in their mind is to skip the balance of Pioneer and Explorer level awards and go straight on to Adventurer. Unfortunately they don’t have the knowledge, skills or emerging instructional experience to be able to undertake the Adventurer level. So the answer to the question is no you can’t play one, two skip a few and jump levels. They must be progressed in an orderly manner. The only time starting at a higher level would be considered is when a new member joins that has had demonstrable experience in another organisation.
Patrol activity badges are an area of the award scheme which is exposed to a diverse interpretation in their application. These badges are awarded to the entire Patrol when they undertake an activity together that meets the requirements. It is not just for the Scout that may do the lion’s share of the organising. The PA badges are coloured the same as the three award levels but the similarity ends there. There is no difference in requirement between the red, blue and green PA badges.
Changes are afoot for this year’s SSS. In the past you would have forwarded an expression of interest which was filled in by a Patrol Leader and the application process would follow. This year we will be using the Branches application management system which requires Scouts to individually apply online. Patrol Leaders will be able to define who is in their Patrol from those that have completed an application. Very shortly some detailed instructions will go up on the SSS website and be emailed out. Applications will open on the 1st of April and close on the 10th of June. The application system will not accept late applications so don’t let it slide once applications are open. The number of Patrols will be capped at 140 as in past years.
Scouter Skills Day
Do you need a little help with all of the technical skills required to run a great Troop program? Do you have difficulty instructing skills to Scouts? Are you looking for different activities in which to practice a skill? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you need to make to make your way to the next Scouter Skills Day. The first one for the year will be on Sunday the 20th of March at Karingal. Registration will be from 8:30am on Logan Hill with activities kicking off at 9:00am. Cost for the day will be $5 per person which will include morning and afternoon tea. Lunch is BYO. Come prepared for a day in the outdoors. Don’t worry if you miss out on this one as there will be at least three more days throughout the year. Check out the Branch Calendar for the dates.
2016 Thailand Friendship Jamboree
Can’t get enough of Jamborees after AJ2016? You may be interested in attending the AJ2016 Thailand Friendship Jamboree in Vajiravudh National Scout Camp, Sriracha, Chonburi, Thailand. Currently 10 other countries in the Asia Pacific have expressed an interest in attending. This is a fantastic opportunity for Scouts, Venturers, Rovers and Leaders to travel overseas to an international Jamboree, learn from other cultures, badge swap, taste local cuisine, and experience the sights and sounds of Thailand with Scouts from all over the World. Refer to the Branch website for more details and an expression of interest form.
“The Scoutmaster must be alert to check badge hunting as compared to badge earning..” Sir Robert Baden-Powell
Steve Marshall (Wolf)
BRANCH COMMISSIONER SCOUTS