Programme Restrictions by Section

I was recently asked the question regarding my thoughts on programme restrictions by section for activities in scouting.


So what do you think about programme restrictions by section? –

Should there be restrictions on activities for certain age groups e.g. Cubs can abseil, scouts can climb but indoor only and explorers can climb outdoors single pitch and network can do outdoor multi pitch.  Or should it be up to the young person ability to tackle the challenge.


I would have to say I see no reason for programme restriction by section.  I can see why people would ask for it, with more and more young people driving their leaders to provide the adventure in scouting there are beavers doing activities which previously were only started at maybe a scouting level. However I wonder if this is a cop-out from leaders. Are leaders looking for restriction because the drive for adventure by young people is making them have to think a little more about their programme.

Take my climbing example, if the beavers have been climbing at the indoor climbing centre down the road and then the cubs do the same by the time the young person gets to scouts and the suggestion is let’s go climbing they are going to be keen and interest, however your going to have to look at somewhere different to do it.
If you just take them up the climbing centre again then you will not engage them and they will very quickly lose interest. That said it is not that difficult to get them outdoors and on to real rock or get them starting to lead.

There will be some activities that have a natural selection take water activities like kayaking beavers are more than likely going to be just getting water confidence but even something small like a rotobat is going to be very difficult for a beaver to paddle, at cubs they will be able to start to paddle and understand about the boat ready for scouts and explorers to start tackling things like the BCU star system.

The Scout Association programme is based on progressive learning and in my opinion you would want young people to start that progression as early as possible any programme restrictions would only act as a barrier to progression. As someone who has taught kayaking to scouts, believe me the earlier they get in a boat and understand that it will rock and that if it goes over your buoyancy aid will pull you to the surface the better.  Getting some experience of falling out of a boat etc makes life so much easier later on.

There is always a way to make a challenge or task harder you just need to sit down and think about it a little maybe communicate (now there is a novel concept) with those section above and below you so are aware of what experience a young person is likely to have and thus plan accordingly.

Take this for Pioneering – Pioneering Unleashed

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  • There should be informal restrictions. I personally believe each section should train and educate their youngsters, so that when they move up they have the basic knowledge to then move on in their new section. I know of leaders that want their youngsters to do everything, but it then defeats the object of learning through scouting. Why would a Cub want to join Scouts if they have done everything the Scout troop does.

    • Ben where do you think those informal restriction should be placed, I would suggest that it is the role of the Group Scout Leader to ensure there is a development route for the young people.

      I also think naturally there will be some cub who might be able to climb a a HD or a VD route but the most will probably never have climbed before so be just starting out. The Cub leader can just expect everyone to be out on open rock leading VD’s so would need to adjust the programme accordingly.