The Four Week Challenge - weeks three and four

An open ended volunteering commitment can be a scary thing. For parents and other potential volunteers who might not know much about Scouting, agreeing to volunteer in itself can be a huge leap. They’re unsure whether they will enjoy it; they may well feel out of their comfort zone and might be equally worried about letting the leader down.

That’s why the new Four Week Challenge, being piloted in some parts of the UK by the Regional Development Service, is such a proving such an interesting experiment. It is a time specific volunteering commitment for those interested in supporting young people, staggered, as the name suggests, over four weeks.

If they want to continue, then this is a great time to discuss the range of roles available, the training requirements and benefits. Equally, if they want to stop there, then leaders can present a certificate and thank the volunteer in an appropriate way. If they have had a good experience, there is a good chance they will volunteer again in the future. 

Cub dad Chris took on the Four Week Challenge! You can see how he got in in his first two weeks here. Read on to find out more about weeks three and four...

Week three

Week Three Leaf Art

It’s mid-autumn, and this week we are in for a bit of leaf art.

The other leaders and I head off into the dark with the Cubs with the aim of collecting sticks and leaves for the artwork.

For some children, it’s clear that this a novel experience. ‘I’m never allowed out in the dark,’ says one. ‘I’m never allowed out at all!’ says another, slightly worryingly. The Cubs rake the grass for interesting looking leaves and twenty minutes later they are piled high on the tables inside the meeting place.

The Cubs are soon busy pasting them onto giant sheets and some are plainly amazed that they have different names, beyond brown, green and yellow. They each get to laminate a leaf, with a little note with the year and their name beneath it. I wonder how many of these will be kept as book marks and treasured in years to come? 

Week four


This week we’re doing human table football,’ reveals Duncan.

‘Of course we are!’

What follows is in fact a cunning way of teaching Cubs their knots and lashings (specifically the clove hitch) under the guise of an amazing amount of fun.

The Cubs are divided into pairs and are given a couple of staves each. Their task is to lash them together to form a longer pole. This is then slotted between two plastic chairs to form the cross bars. Cubs in twos and threes are then allotted to each spar, holding on using a rope handle. 

The young people are impressively quick at learning the knots (much quicker than me) and what’s really inspiring is to see the ones who have got the hang of it, passing this knowledge on to the others.

After an epic amount of tying and retying, and then arranging and rearranging Cubs in different directions, we are ready to go. A foam ball is thrown into play and it’s game on! Believe me, it’s an astonishing sight to see twenty odd Cubs playing real life table football. The noise following the first goal is deafening!

Reflecting on the Four Week Challenge

If there’s one thing that these four weeks have taught me, it’s that young people don’t need much to have a good time. A little structured activity and a lot of access to the great outdoors is a powerful combination.

Often a helper’s role is just to talk to the children, help them with the activity and just provide a friendly, reassuring presence. You don’t need amazing Scouting skills or knowledge, just a willingness to get involved, try new things and have fun yourself. And it really is true what they say – seeing the children’s smiles at the end of a meeting is an amazing reward.

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