SCOUTS - Be Prepared

Changing With The Times

After very little change in the years leading up to the General report, Scouting has changed in leaps and bounds over the last thirty years.

In the Cub section the Bronze, Silver and Gold arrows lasted just eleven years before a new developed arrow scheme was introduced, which allowed Cubs virtually complete freedom to choose which twelve activities they took part in for each of the three arrows. This was again superceded in 1990 by a new award scheme consisting of the Cub Scout Award, Adventure Award and Adventure Crest Award, still allowing the Cubs to choose the activities they wish to take part in, but in a much more structured way.

Another minor change is the age range of the section, with the usual transfer age dropping from eleven to ten-and-a-half.

In the Scout section, the Scout Standard and Advanced Scout Standard didn't last as long as the arrows, disappearing in 1983, to be replaced by the Scout Award, Pathfinder Award, and Explorer Award. These also introduced more choice for the Scout, and yet again modernised the programme. Only minor changes to the scheme have been made since 1983, most noticeably to put traditional Scouting skills back into the core of the programme.

In the early 1980's Scout Groups were allowed to take in boys in the 6-8 age range to Beavers although at this point the Beavers were not part of the Scout Association, only their Leaders were allowed in. This changed on April 1st, 1986 when all Beavers became Beaver Scouts overnight. Initially the section had just one badge to earn after the Beaver had been enrolled, but in 1995 a new programme introduced two new badges, imaginatively known as the First Beaver Scout Badge and the Second Beaver Scout Badge, allowing with the Beaver Scout Challenge Badge for the older Beavers.

The Venture section has, on the whole, not changed much since its inception, a few minor changes to names and requirements for the badges name change but that is all, other than the controversial decision in 1976, when young ladies were allowed to join Venture Units. The first time that girls had been allowed into the youth of the Movement since B-P. started up the Guide Movement in 1910.

The B-P Guild on has all but vanished, being replaced by the Scout Fellowship, a branch of IFSG, the International Fellowship of Scouts and Guides.

Two controversial changes were also made. The first in the late 80's saw the Uniform review, which saw the sad death knells for the Cub cap and Scout beret, which although they have been gone for over five years still seem to crop up as symbols for the movement. It also gave Packs and Troops the option to decide on a uniform nether garment (remembering the image of the movement). The second (very controversial) saw Groups given the option of whether to allow girls in Scouting in all sections.

The only proviso was that if you allowed girls into a Group that was it, there was no turning back, and they had to have the option of staying in Scouting. So, if a Cub Pack went mixed, then the Troop and Unit it fed into had to be mixed, but not necessarily the Beaver Colony that fed it. At the moment approximately 5-10% of Groups in the Country are mixed.