Make your sessions more Youth Shaped

Burns Night Blog

Whether it's Christmas, Eid, New Year or spring, seasons and special days of the year provide the perfect inspiration to plan sessions. But in the spirit of YouShape month, are your sessions Youth Shaped enough? With Burns Night just past, Beaver Leader Claire Bruce shows us how you can take any holiday or special occasion, and make it more Youth Shaped. 


Burns Night is an ideal opportunity for Scouts to explore Scottish traditions and culture, while working towards the My World Challenge Award. The award challenges Beavers to take part in three activities that reflect England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales or their part of the UK. Claire fills us in on the Colony's Burns Night session with its wonderful YouShape flair. 


‘When planning the session, we contacted Scottish friends to ask for their advice. They were great at helping us come up with activity ideas as they’re far more knowledgeable than we are. They even offered us a kilt for our Beavers to try on! Then we searched for more ideas online and, once we’d gathered a good selection, decided which would work best for our Colony.


We agreed to start the evening with something active to get the Beavers’ energy up and encourage them to work as a team. They’re an active bunch and enjoy trying new things so knew they'd enjoy our version of the Highland Games, complete with a tug of war and stone put. After that we learned a few Ceilidh dances, using YouTube as our guide. YouTube is also a great place to find appropriate music. As an added bonus, this part of the session is cheap to run and involves minimal preparation.


Next we introduced a calmer, more creative activity. We have some extremely creative Beavers in our Colony, so this was a good opportunity for their talents to shine. In the spirit of Burns Night, we wanted them to have a go at writing poems. Although Burns’ poetry may not be very accessible to Beavers, it was a great chance for them to have fun making up rhymes and learning about descriptions and repetition.


To introduce the activity, we gave the Beavers some words that we associate with being in Beavers, such as friends, best, games and fun. We encouraged them to come up with as many words as possible that rhyme with these. Then we asked them to write their own poems about Beavers or about something else they enjoy doing. (Some Beavers might want to do this in pairs, as this activity will be tricky for those who struggle with writing.) We plan to perform the poems in our next session to count towards the Creative Activity Badge


As a final activity, our Beavers had a chance to taste traditional Scottish food with a food challenge. Once blindfolded, we asked the Beavers to taste haggis, nips and tatties, and identify the food using their taste buds alone. As a treat, they had the option of washing it all down with some Irn-Bru, the most popular drink in Scotland. 


Next, we embraced the spirit of YouShape month and asked our Beavers for feedback on how they found the session. We put a few pieces of paper on the walls, each with one of the evening’s activities written on it. The Beavers then put a tick next to the activity they liked the best and a cross next to the one they liked the least. We then got them to vote on if they’d like to do a similar activity again. This  helped us learn more about what our Beavers enjoyed so we can ensure our Programme is challenging, relevant, rewarding for everyone, and most importantly, Youth Shaped.'


In the spirit of #YouShape month, are you making your sessions more Youth Shaped too? Be inspired and show your commitment with The #YouShape pledge.

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