Support your young people moving on from Scouts to Explorer Scouts
When we heard from Explorer Scouts about why they chose to move from Scouts to Explorer Scouts their reasons included everything from ‘new friendships’, ‘more activities’, ‘more adventure’ and ‘more fun’ to ‘Banta’. Many praised the new perspective that the new section gave them and the experiences and friendships they discovered.
Unlike the Beaver Scout, Cub Scout and Scout sections, the Explorer Scout section operates at a District level rather than part of the Scout Group. Although this creates an amazing opportunity for Scouts to widen their friendship circle and enjoy Scouting with more young people, this can make facilitating the transition from Scouts to Explorers a little more challenging. To support you as a volunteer to ease this transition, we’ve gathered tips and ideas below.
It’s worth remembering that Scout Leaders, Explorer Scout Leaders and District supporting roles such as Assistant District Commissioners all have a role to play. For more information about making links between sections, your District Commissioner or District Explorer Scout Commissioner can point you in the right direction.
Top tips to supporting the transition
- It’s natural for some Scouts to feel a little nervous about moving up to Explorer Scouts. By establishing and maintaining links between sections you can make the new section’s environment more familiar. To do this you might want to:
- Run a few joint meetings between Scouts and Explorers. Joint activities, run together, help members of both sections get to know each other and feel comfortable with others outside their own section.
- Invite Explorer Scouts to visit Scout Troops. This will be an opportunity for Scouts to work towards their Moving On Award by finding out about the Explorer Scout section from Explorers themselves.
- Encourage Explorer Scouts to run activities for Scout Troops. As well as supporting transition, this will be a chance for Explorer Scouts to develop their skills and work towards their ICV list for their Chief Scout’s Platinum and Diamond Awards.
- Attend District and County/Area meetings or events to meet leaders in your local area. District events are a great opportunity for members of different sections to meet.
- Consider running special District events for older Scouts with Explorer Scouts. For example, Basildon District hosted a 'Lucky 13' District Camp for Explorers and Scouts 13 and up.
- Speak to other Scout/Explorer Scout Leaders to share tips and ideas.
- Provide opportunities for Scouts to move up in friendship groups.
- Promote Explorer Scouts to your Scouts. Explain that it is a more flexible Programme that they can do around school, exams and any other extracurricular activities. They could have the opportunity to plan their own Programme with support from volunteers. Plus, there are loads of exciting opportunities. From taking part in an Explorer Belt to becoming a Young Leader (if there is an Explorer Scout Young Leaders Unit).
- Share this video about the Young Leaders' Scheme to show them more about it.
- If you have a Young Leader in your section/Group (or you can invite one from another Group) they can tell Scouts about it and how they can get involved.
- Use the core badges to structure and support these transitions. For the Moving On Award, Scouts should visit an Explorer Scout Unit for at least three weeks to take an active part in the Unit. And by attaining the necessary knowledge and joining the Explorer section they’ll receive their Membership Award for Explorers.
When should Scouts move on?
The Scouting Programme is designed to support and challenge young people to develop skills that are best suited to their age and interests. By guiding them to the next section, you can be sure that young people continue to develop their skills and find suitable challenges and support.
To challenge them appropriately it’s important that Scouts move at a time that’s right for them. The Scout section is designed for 10½ - 14 year-olds, but there is flexibility in this.
The right time for them will be influenced by a number of factors. Not only their age, abilities and interests but also where their friends are. Moving up with a small group of friends can ease the transition, and the flexibility in the section age ranges makes this possible. Young people can join Scouts from age 10, and can move to Explorers between age 13½ and 14½.
It’s essential that every young person’s personal needs and interests are taken into account, particularly those with additional needs. There may be occasions when further flexibility may be required to ensure they can continue to participate and reap the full benefits of Scouting.
For support with the transition from Cubs to Scouts, take a look at our blog on six tips for moving on.