Cross bridges

Reviewing the YP

What are the changes or new features in your NSO’s Youth Programme?

It is essential for the overall health of the Movement that each NSO’sYouth Programme stays current so that it can meet the needs and aspirations of the young people it serves.   These NSOs share the positive changes and new features that came out of their reviews.

The main changes in our Youth Programme are the visibility and recognition of the different development stages of children, teenagers, and young people. This means that those stages are to be aligned with the mission and vision of Scouting in Mexico.

As a result of our research, we identified a crosswise approach that reflects the quality of relationships among all the young Scout members. It is reflected in the way people are considered in their relationships with others and with their common space, in the ways they act based on their values and attitudes. These approaches include human rights, sustainable human development, the four pillars of education, and the intergenerational and intercultural dialogue.

We acknowledge and trust that children and young people in all their diversity, have the right and the opportunity to create new responses to sustainable local and global community development. We assumed

  1. the importance of creating a better world through the involvement and leadership of children and young people in the promotion of a sustainable way of living together, in harmony with themselves and  others, and with Nature.
  2. the mandatory “no-harm” policy to ensure mature and psychologically balanced adults develop a genuine educational partnership with the young people they assist, and assure the necessary conditions to always create a safe-from-harm environment, in order to protect and respect the children and young people’s dignity.

Finally, we clearly stated those educational priorities determined as the most important by our NSO in response to the current social and environmental challenges:

  • A culture of peace and collaborative effort.
  • Personal and social resilience.
  • transformational leadership (being a change agent).

Based on these above, we developed the expected profile for young people completing their Scout formation and the competencies expected when leaving each section. These competencies are expressed according to the four types of relationships and principles along their development.

The new Youth Programme can be characterised as follows:

Learning objectives  (relating to the areas of growth – social, physical, intellectual, character, emotional, and spiritual) were introduced to the Youth Programme for the first time.  Final learning objectives were written for the oldest age section and then appropriate interim sectional learning objectives, which build towards the final objectives, were written for each age section, aligned to four stages of development.

The aim of Scouting Ireland was expanded to include character development, and a symbolic framework was added as an element of the Scout Method of Scouting Ireland.

In the new Youth Programme the focus is on the individual youth member (in cooperation with their peers) choosing their personal learning journey and their own activities and being responsible for their own development.

There are three elements to the progressive scheme, and an additional award for all sections:

  1. Achieving the learning objectives (SPICES) by engaging in the Youth Programme.
  2. Adventure Skills – specific criteria set, 9 stages for 9 awards, available to any young person in any section to build skills towards more adventurous Scouting.
  3. Special Interest Badges – 5 categories to encourage diversity and recognise progression inside and outside of Scouting.
  4. Chief Commissioner’s Award – in each age section, a combination of the a-c plus an additional challenge.

An overarching principle of the new Youth Programme is that scouter should take particular account of the individual developmental needs of the youth member as they undertake the Youth Programme, using flexibility and common sense as required regardless of all other guidelines set down in the Youth Programme.

Our new Youth Programme was developed as a single integrated Youth Programme for all sections and youth members.  It was branded as “ONE Programme” to emphasise its integrated and coordinated nature.

There are many aspects of the programme that have changed in our Youth Programme. Collectively, our Youth Programme leverages a greater focus on young peoples’ involvement in the programme rather than the standardised outcomes, despite having standardised educational objectives. Active participation, assistance, and leadership of the Youth Programme form a core aspect of the achievement system, and increased ownership is both encouraged and required.

  • The educational objectives for the different sections have transitioned from collective statements to align with the six identified areas of personal growth:  SPICES.
  • SPICES has moved from being a staple of programming to being the key (and critical) review tool.

The Scout Method has undergone review and redevelopment, aligned with the development of the Scout Method by the World Educational Methods team. As a result, we have seen:

  • Strengthening of the Patrol System across all ages in the movement.
  • Patrols functioning across age sections as well as within.
  • Community engagement and involvement becoming an integral component of all sections.
  • Sectional symbolic frameworks being updated to align with the theme of one continuous adventurous journey.
  • The core structure of the programme being aligned across all five age sections.
  • The bulk of the programme being situated in four broad areas, known as Challenge Areas, which are consistent across all sections.
  • Criteria being made consistent across sections, with age and developmental appropriateness for the individual part of the focus.

Areas of Personal Growth: The goal is to have a well-balanced Youth Programme in which all of the dimensions (social, physical, intellectual, character, emotional, and spiritual) are attended to throughout the young person’s time in Scouting.

The SPICES dimensions are the same for every section, and in each section young people develop in age-appropriate ways. Each of the SPICES has defined educational competencies which represent the growth and development that a young person should reach through their time in Scouts.


One Programme – Kotahi Kaupapa: The new Youth Programme is a single ongoing developmental programme from when a child enters the Scout organisation until the end of their time Achieving One Programme is simple. A young person is able to explore their own growth in a holistic way (SPICES), supported by an effective and proven non-formal educational method (the Scout Method). This is supported by educational competencies across the SPICES areas of personal growth for each age section. We have also linked our SPICES model to Te whare tapa whā – Hauora, a Māori philosophy for wellbeing, unique to Aotearoa New Zealand.


Reshaping the Scout Method – Te Tikanga Mahi Scout: Some of the key changes and differences in the Scout Method include the following:

  • Promise and Law – Scouts New Zealand had re-expressed the Scout Promise and Law back in 2015 and 2016, so it was already contemporary and well adapted to the age sections.
  • Small Teams – Within the Youth Programme young people learn, grow, and develop by working in small teams. Using the principles of One Programme, groupings were re-expressed as “Small Teams” across the developmental age sections.
  • Youth Leading, Adults Supporting –  Adults support young people to lead their own development and experiences through the Youth Programme by coaching, mentoring, and guiding.
  • Adventure – Adventure-based learning provides an opportunity for exploration, adventure, and outdoor appreciation. It can empower a young person, and improve their confidence, resilience, and environmental awareness, whilst also acknowledging that the concept of adventure is different for each individual. This element is best described as “Nature” within the context of the World Scout Method.
  • Seven elements and not eight – The element of Symbolic Framework is not present as an element within the New Zealand Scout Method. This is due to a number of factors such as how we had defined our other elements of the Scout Method that represented the symbolisms and traditions of Scouting in different ways, such as Adventure and Promise and Law.

This is not to say that the New Zealand Youth Programme does not have its own symbols and rituals. It is a point of progression where we look to the future and ensure our current Scouting traditions and rituals are inclusive, have a current benefit, and enable positive youth development.


Programme Areas:  A characteristic of the Youth Programme and the progressive scheme is that it is based on educational competencies. We translate these competencies in a non-prescriptive way through the use of Programme Areas. Programme Areas embed the Areas of Personal Growth (SPICES across a wide range of learning opportunities that fall under the three categories:

  • Personal
  • Adventure
  • Community

Learning opportunities that fall across the three Programme Areas link back to the educational competencies providing balance to the Youth Programme.

Within the Programme Areas we have also embedded a methodology of Participate, Assist, Lead. This model allows for the learning opportunities to be structured in a way that young people can actively participate in the programme and lead their own learning opportunities. This model actively uses the Scout Method and develops leadership competencies in the Youth Programme.


Redefining the role of adult volunteers in programme delivery: One of the biggest changes we made in the area of “Youth Leading, Adults Supporting” was to define what it means to be an adult volunteer leader within Scouting. The term “Scout leader” was widely used to describe our adult volunteers who operate across all of our age sections. This term does not reflect our commitment to One Programme or to a youth leading, adults supporting organisational culture moving forward. We expect the behaviours and attitudes of our adult leaders to change so that they are facilitating and mentoring young people through the Youth Programme instead of developing and running it.

A new progressive competency framework was developed for all adult leaders that forms the basis for our adult training frameworks and more. The focus is on five developmental areas: Scout Programme, Safe from Harm, Risk Management, Youth Empowerment, and Youth Worker Skills.

Areas of personal growth as a tool for adult leaders were introduced. We now use educational indicators (we do not speak of educational ‘objectives’ but of an ideal) to set the direction. We also found  a new way of expressing the Scout Method and re-introduced a section-based Youth Programme with new badges. In addition, we published a new set of guidebooks for adult leaders in magazine format and crucially using an article format, so that the reader can ‘dip in’ wherever their interest leads them that day.

Areas of Personal Development were reviewed and a  new Progressive Scheme was added to the Youth Programme. The Youth Programme is now aligned with the Ghana Education Service syllabus so that Scouts who do not have the privilege of attending can benefit from things taught at school through the Scout programme. This also deepened the partnership of the Ghana Education Service and Ghana Scout Association. Project-based activities are now included to create social impact and we have made a link between the educational competencies and the progressive scheme as follows:

  1. All learning opportunities contribute to the achievement of the competencies (the emphasis is on the real and individual progression and reinforcement of  youth involvement, but leaders can be lost without some structure in place).
  2. The competencies are related to the content of the badges, i.e., if the young people complete the badge, they have somehow achieved the competencies (lacks youth involvement and attention to the individual progression but easier to apply in a unit.)
  3. The NSO provides a list of possible learning opportunities (not very specific) that contribute to the development of the competencies, but reinforce the need for individual evaluation on the progress (to provide more structure and support to the leaders).

Recognising the relevance today of the educational principles envisaged by Baden-Powell in Scouting for Boys and Aids to Scoutmastership as well as the Scouting Fundamentals, our revised Youth Programme aims to establish the importance of group life, embedding the team system within the context of the badge scheme and promoting activity-based schedules while being explicit in character outcomes and objectives in the programme scheme to provide clearer guidance and reference to unit  leaders. The approach allows unit  leaders to determine the required level of attainment in order to draw out learning outcomes in character domains (SPICES). This allows space for Scouts to demonstrate their best, both in skills, knowledge, and achievement as well as character traits. Emphasis was also placed on using the Patrol In Council (PIC) and Patrol Leader Council (PLC) protocols to facilitate reflection to draw out learning.

To facilitate the renewed approach, the team conceptualised a learning framework – the PESR Learning Cycle – to assist unit leaders. PESR is short for the four steps a young person would take, namely:

  • Personal learning goals and plan
  • Explore and experience
  • Show and share
  • Reflect and record

A set of recommended actions are provided for unit leaders to facilitate and scaffold the steps.

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