Beaver Scouts (The Scout Association)
|Owner||The Scout Association|
|Membership||122,645 children (2014)|
Beaver Scouts, often shortened to Beavers, is the youngest section of Scouting operated by The Scout Association in the United Kingdom. The core age range for Beaver Scouts is six to eight years, though exceptions can be granted. Individual sections of Beaver Scouts, known as a Colony, are run by the local Scout Group.
After reaching the age of eight, a Beaver Scout will then move on to Cub Scouts.
Since the creation of Scouting in 1907, many younger brothers wanted to join in with their older siblings. This led to the creation of Wolf Cubs (now known as Cub Scouts) in 1916 but there was still pressure from the younger brothers to become involved.
The first Pre-Cub scheme was set up in Northern Ireland by the 1st Dromore Group in 1963 and was called The Little Brothers. As the scheme expanded throughout the rest of the province, it was given the official name of 'Beavers' in 1966, this name having been considered by Robert Baden-Powell when creating Wolf Cubs. The following years saw the development of the uniform, age-range and general organisation before the section was renamed Beaver Scouts in 1974.
Beaver Scouts were trialled in Scotland after the Wellbeloved Report supported pre-Cub organisations. In October 1982 Beavers were introduced throughout the rest of the United Kingdom before officially becoming part of The Scout Association and the World Scout Organisation on 1 April 1986. Since then, Beaver Scouting has been a major part of the Scout Programme in the United Kingdom, and has a large participation rate across most of the country. Most Scout Groups have at least one Colony, and can have as many as three or four.
As Scouts were previously known as 'Boy Scouts', many still assume that all sections within Scouting are still primarily just for boys, but girls have been welcomed into all sections since 1991. The total number of Beaver Scouts in the UK Scout Association was 122,645 in 2014, up from 118,182 in 2013. The number of girls in the section in 2014 was 18,472.
Beaver Scout Colonies are controlled by the local Scout Group, which usually also have Cub Scout and Scout sections. The Colonies are run by a Beaver Scout Leader, who must hold a warrant. There must also be at least two adults, one of whom must also hold a warrant. Other adults who assist in running the Colony can include: Assistant Beaver Scout Leaders, uniformed and warranted adults; Colony Assistants, who may or may not wear uniform but assist regularly; parent helpers, who may irregularly help as part of a rota scheme with other parents and Young Leaders. A Colony is recommended to have a maximum number of 24 members.
Colonies usually meet once a week during school term time, meeting times varying between an hour and an hour and a half. The emphasis for Beaver Scouts is on having fun, so a meeting involves playing games, and some sort of activity – such as painting, cooking or acting. Beaver Scouts are also taught about the basic aspects of Scouting, though much of this is left for older sections. Beavers also can go on organised indoor sleepovers and outdoor camping trips, but only for one night away from home, unless they are with their own family.
The core age range for Beaver Scouts is between six and eight years of age. Some members, however, can join up to three months before their sixth birthday or leave for Cub Scouts up to six months after their eighth birthday. Deviations on when members join or leave Beavers can be made upon the discretion of the leader depending on the circumstances; for example, it may be decided that a member will stay on in Beaver Scouts for some time after their eighth birthday in order to join Cubs with a friend if the leader feels the member's chances of staying in Scouting will be increased if they are allowed to move up with their friend. Other exceptions can also be made on medical grounds, for example if a member has special needs.
The Beaver Scout promise is a simpler version of the Scout promise:
- I promise to do my best,
- To be kind and helpful,
- and to love God.
The Beaver Scouts share the general Scout motto of Be Prepared. Prior to 2002, the motto was Fun and Friends, which is reflected in the usual programme for the section, which makes use of play to put across Scouting ideas of friendship and community.
The Beaver Scout uniform is a turquoise sweatshirt and group scarf (neckerchief) with navy blue activity trousers. Prior to 2003, it was a grey speckled jumper and turquoise scarf. Now the turquoise jumper has the beaver emblem in the bottom left hand corner.
Awards and badges
Beaver Scouts can gain a number of awards and badges, though not as many as in higher Sections of the Movement. The Membership Award is given to Beavers after they have made their promise and been invested into the Movement, whilst the Moving-On Award is given once a Beaver Scout has completed their time in Beavers and moved into Cub Scouts.
Joining In Award
The Joining In Award recognises a young person's commitment to Scouting and are usually given on each anniversary of Members joining the Movement. Two Joining In Awards can be received by Beaver Scouts and when they move up to Cub Scouts they wear the highest one they attained in Beavers. The badges take the form of a small coloured star with a number showing the amount of years they have been in Scouting.
There are currently twenty one activity badges which can be awarded to Beaver Scouts. These are Adventure, Air Activities, Animal Friend, Camp Craft, Collector, Communicator, Creative, Cyclist, Disability Awareness, Experiment, Explore, Faith, Gardener, Health & Fitness, Healthy Eating, Hobbies, Imagination, Photographer, Safety, Space and Sports. Some requirements of the badges may be covered during Colony meetings and activities, though most Activity Badges require some individual work to be done.
Staged Activity Badges
Staged Activity Badges can be completed by any member of the Movement between the age of 6 and 18. They are completed in different stages, so after completing each stage Members are awarded the relevant badge. As they can be completed in Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts and Explorers it is possible for a Beaver Scout to attain a higher level of a Staged Activity Badge than a Member from a higher Section. The Staged Activity Badges are Emergency Aid, Hikes Away, Information Technology, Musician, Nights Away, Swimmer and Time on the Water. Nights Away has sixteen stages, Hikes Away and Time on the Water both have eight stages, whilst the remaining badges have five stages. 
Partnership Awards are completed in association with either another Section of Scouting or with an outside organisation. The three Partnership Awards are Environment, Faith and International Friendship. There is no set criteria or time period to complete Partnership Awards. In order to attain it a project or activity must be agreed between the two partners relating to one of the three themed areas, the objectives set, planned and completed before assessing the benefits of the activity or project to the participants.
Challenge Awards are completed as a Colony rather than individually and should completed within a Colony's normal activities. There are six Challenges, one for each Programme Zone set by The Scout Association. The Challenges are Promise, Creative, Fitness, Friendship, Global and Outdoor. A Member can complete a Challenge Award more than once though they should show greater skill and development than from when they first completed it.
Chief Scout's Bronze Award
The Chief Scout's Bronze Award is the highest award which can be gained by Beaver Scouts. In order to attain it, Beaver Scouts must have completed six Challenge Awards by the time they join Cub Scouts. If they have nearly completed the requirements by then, Members have a few weeks after joining Cub Scouts in which to finish the requirements.
- "The Scout Association's Annual Report and Accounts 2013-2014" (PDF). The Scout Association. Retrieved 9 October 2014. (pp. 51-52)
- "Notes for New Adults in the Colony" (PDF). ScoutBase. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "The Scout Group: The Beaver Scout Colony". ScoutBase. Archived from the original on 31 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Guidelines for Beaver Scout Residential Experiences" (PDF). scouts.org.uk. The Scout Association. January 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- "Rule 3.11 Section flexibility". ScoutBase. Archived from the original on 31 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-23.
- "Beaver Scout Badges: The Beaver Scout Membership Award". ScoutBase. Archived from the original on 15 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
- "Beaver Scout Badges: The Moving-On Award". ScoutBase. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
- "Beaver Scout Badges: Joining In Awards". ScoutBase. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
- "Partnership Awards badges". ScoutBase. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
- "Partnership Awards Badges: International Friendship Partnership Award". ScoutBase. Archived from the original on 10 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
- "Beaver Scout Badges: The Challenge Badges". ScoutBase. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
- "Beaver Scout Badges: The Chief Scout's Bronze Award". ScoutBase. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
- Beaver Scouts at ScoutBase
- Beaver Scouts at the Scout Association
- History of Beaver Scouts
- The Scout Association: Beaver Colonies at DMOZ