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Guest Blog | Promising Programme progress

UK Programme Commissioner Craig Turpie reflects on a busy and exciting time for our Programme...

The excitement is real!

I'm writing this sitting in the field at Meggernie Outdoor Centre in deepest Perthshire, where I've been visiting several Jamboree Units from Scotland and Northern Ireland. The units are making their final preparations for the 23rd World Scout Jamboree in Japan in just a few weeks. They are having an absolutely brilliant time and are going to be wonderful ambassadors!

It all brings back memories of the final few weeks before I departed for my once in a lifetime World Scout Jamboree experience back in 1991. The excitement now, as then, is real and everyone is counting down the days. Talking to a number of those going to Japan about the experiences they have had in Scouting got me thinking about our amazing Programme and how it helps prepare young people for adventures like these. It also got me thinking about the updates that we've made and are making to our 6-25 programme, and our hope that it will enable even more young people to have experiences that will equip them to take life on.

Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers

Five months have passed since the rollout of the refreshed Programme for Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers and it's great to hear that many Colonies, Packs, Troops and Units have already embraced the changes. The feedback we have received has been generally very positive, from young people and leaders alike. The increased opportunities for Explorer Scouts seems to be well liked and the introduction of more challenging badges has been well received. The focus on attainment of top awards in each section is important, as achieving these will indicate that a balanced Programme is being delivered.

Time to change

Inevitably, with changes as significant as those that have been made to the Programme, it's necessary to give people time to make the transition. So, if you've not yet switched over to the refreshed programme, it would be good to start preparing now as the transition period ends in September this year. Do check the Prepared website to learn more about how the programme has evolved as well as for more information and guidance on how to make the transition as smooth as possible.

The UK Programme Support Team has also been very active over the last few months. It has been out and about across the UK, supporting District and County Programme events and sharing the details of the refreshed Programme as well as the objectives that lie behind it. They remain at your service, ready to support any events that you're running, so please do make use of them by completing this form.

We've also been reviewing early feedback on some very specific aspects of the updated Programme as well as correcting small errors in a number of the new resources that have been produced. The new resources have been particularly popular, and we're already updating and reprinting many of them. The Prepared handbook for all adult volunteers seems to be hitting the mark, but if there's anything else that you think it would be useful for us to be including, just let us know by providing feedback at prepared.scouts.org.uk.

We have also been looking at whether we need an additional resource for Beavers, following feedback about how Colonies are using Adventure All The Way. Feedback on the size of the Chief Scout's Award as well as the accompanying certificates has been noted and after the transition period ends, we'll take a view as to whether or not we need to make some adjustments. Watch this space!

A Million Hands

We've also been busy assisting with the production of the resources for A Million Hands, our campaign on Community Impact which a great way to support our young people in working towards and gaining many badges including the Community Impact Staged Activity Badge. If you've not yet signed up for A Million Hands, it's really easy! You can register your interest here.


2016 will mark one hundred years of Cub Scouts and there will be local and national celebrations. Indeed, many Districts and Counties have already made the most of the Year of Adventure in 2015 and are busy making preparations for Adventure Camps, Thanks Events and Promise Parties in 2016! It's going to be a wild year and there are lots of resources to help you at:

Although Cub Scouts remains the largest section, we've seen another small dip in numbers this year. We're aware that some young people are not moving on to Scouts because they're not getting the outdoor and adventure that they anticipated. The Year of Adventure and Cubs100 gives us a great opportunity to rise to the challenge of ensuring that Cubs have access to the kind of activities that they want to take part in.

Scout Network

The new format Scout Network is starting to take shape. Districts and Counties have been making the necessary appointments to support the new structure and work is going on behind the scenes in developing the new UK Scout Network website which will become the hub for sharing all of the exciting projects that will be focussed on Adventure, International and Community. We're also busy setting up the UK Scout Network, with some really exciting and innovative projects, and will shortly announce who the UK Scout Network Commissioner will be.

Final thoughts

It is proving to be a busy year in Programme, but what an exciting year. Everything that we want to achieve in Scouting, locally, nationally and around the world, comes as a result of young people participating in a fun, attractive and adventurous Programme delivered and supported by committed adult volunteers  who understand how Scouting changes lives and communities. If you want to learn more about what we've done and what we're doing, please catch up with us at Gilwell Reunion in September. It would be great to see you.

As I sit in the field at Meggernie, looking up at the hills (and wishing I was up in them), I'm reflecting on what it means to be part of our great Movement of more than 40 million people and the Programme opportunities that enable young people throughout the world to make a difference, for themselves and for others.

It is truly a remarkable and inspiring Movement.


You can follow Craig:

Twitter        twitter.com/cturpie
Facebook    fb.com/craigturpie.wsc



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