Beavers in Scouting is one name for the youngest section of Scouting with members younger than Cub Scouts and sometimes going to as young as five years of age. Other names are used in some countries. The programme is based on the concept of co-operating and sharing.
The reasons for Beaver Scouting to be started were similar to the Wolf Cub, or Cub Scout, section in 1916: that adult leaders were bringing their younger children to meetings, and the youth members were in turn bringing their younger siblings.
Beaver Scouts were not formally recognised by many Scouting Associations until well into the 1980s, but were still run with the ideals of Scouting, as laid down by Baden-Powell in 1907, influencing them.
Beaver groups are often called colonies and meetings sometimes include a ceremony with a "beaver dam" in which the Beavers work together to fix a breach in the dam.
Beaver Scouting around the world
In Scouts Canada Beaver Scouts are aged five to eight. Members normally wear a brown vest as a uniform with a cream T-shirt and a blue Beaver Hat. The programme is based on a specially written story called Friends of the Forest.
Beaver Promise: I promise to love God and help take care of the world.
Beaver Law: A Beaver has fun, works hard and helps their family and friends.
Beaver Motto: Sharing, Sharing, Sharing
A new Beaver is called a "Kit"; a Kit must learn the Beaver Promise, Law, and Motto and go through an investiture ceremony to become an "Eager Beaver". The investiture ceremony officially welcomes the Beaver into the Scouting programme and during this ceremony the Beaver receives a tail, neckerchief, and badges for his uniform.
A five-year-old Beaver is a brown tail, a six-year-old is a blue tail and a seven-year-old is a white tail. The tail is attached to the back brim of the Beaver Hat.
The beavers 'swim up' to Cubs towards the end of the year that they are white tails.
In the Association des Scouts du Canada Castors (Beavers in French) are aged from seven to nine. Members normally wear a yellow T-shirt and tan or brown pants. The programme is based on a specially written story called Les aventures de Cartouche et Namor (The Adventures of Cartouche and Namor).
Castor Promise: Je m'engage à faire des efforts pour jouer avec et comme les autres. (I promise to do my best to play with and like others)
Castor Motto: Effort (Effort)
The new Beaver receives his neckerchief and uniform at a promise ceremony where the Beaver, generally, must demonstrate that he has joined the unit. From that moment, the new Beavers have entered the Scouting programme.
Beavers collect individual badges following a four-step programme:
- Source (spring) which is for objective integration
- Ruisseau (stream) which is for objective participation
- Cascades (waterfall) which is for objective initiative
- Étang (pond) which is for objective sharing
They can also collect two technique badges which are called buchettes (splint): Security and Environnement.
When they climb to Cubs, they receive a badge called "Castor découvreur" (discovering beaver).
The Scout Association
The Scout Association officially recognised Beaver Scouts in 1986, but there had been informal colonies around the country for some years beforehand. The programme is run for five and ¾ to eight year olds, and precedes Cub Scouts.
The Beaver Scout section currently has the largest proportion of members within Scouting in the United Kingdom, with many colonies servicing waiting lists, some of which may have several times as many waiting as there are actual members.
The uniform is a turquoise sweatshirt or T-shirt, with the group colours for the neckerchief. The motto, shared with the rest of the UK Scout Association sections, is "Be Prepared".
Baden-Powell Scouts' Association
The Baden-Powell Scouts' Association recognised Beaver Scouts in 1982, although some Groups do not operate Beaver colonies as they were not part of Baden-Powell's concept. The programme serves 5 to eight year olds, and is followed by Wolf Cubs.
The uniform is a vest that can be many colours, with the group colours for the neckerchief. Some groups also issue Beavers with caps.
They usually only wear the troop's neckerchief but have no uniform.
Tiger Cubs were started in 1982 as a pack associated program for seven year old boys. It continued as a separate program section until 2001 when it was moved into the Cub Scouting division.
- The Canadian Leader Magazine, August/September 2006, page 37.
- Baden-Powell Beavers
- "Pfadiwiki.ch - Entry on Beaver Scouts". Pfadiwiki.ch (Independent Swiss Scout wiki). Retrieved 2007-05-08.