Badge support | Community Impact Staged Activity Badge
Having a positive impact on the wider community has been a staple of the Scout Movement since the very start. From doing a good turn every day, to the current A Million Hands project, helping others is what Scouting is all about. The Community Impact Staged Activity Badge is a great way to encourage young people to take practical action and create positive social change. It will benefit the wider community, and be very rewarding for the young people who participate.
This is a Staged Activity Badge, with four different stages that can be completed by any section. These badges allow young people to develop skills throughout their time in Scouting, and to explore Community Impact in depth as they go through the sections. This badge will also tie in with the community elements of the World Challenge Award for Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.
You can start a Staged Activity Badge at any level, but you may find that the lowest levels are most appropriate for Beavers. Community Impact activities aimed at Beavers are great fun, and a gentle introduction to the idea of Community Impact and helping others. It may be easier for Beavers to understand the idea behind this badge if it is spoken about as ‘helping people’ or ‘being kind’.
Before you start any kind of Community Impact action, it’s important to identify something in your community that you’d like to change. Encourage your Beavers to pick the issue they’d most like to tackle, or tell them a little about the four A Million Hands issues, that have been chosen by other young people and ask them to vote for the issue that they care most about.
There are plenty of activities aimed at Beavers in the free downloadable resource packs for each issue. The packs take you through each step of the process, from understanding the issue to celebrating the actions you’ve taken to make change.
The Handy Hygiene game is a great way to introduce Beavers to the issue of clean water and sanitation. The game is a visual representation of the issue of handwashing and hygiene, which will help your young people to understand why it is an issue for people around the world.
Beavers can pick any of the four issues. Take a look at the winners of the A Million Hands Project of the Year 2016, 109th Leicester (Countesthorpe) Beaver Colony, for inspiration.
Cubs will be starting to explore social issues in more depth, and may have begun to form their own ideas about what is important to tackle in society, so you may choose to spend longer on the project and stretch the Cubs to complete their Stage 2, over the course of at least 12 hours.
Encourage the Cubs to get involved with the planning and decision-making around the actions that they would like to take. If, from the four issues, they choose the issue of disability, remember that this can tie in with their Disability Awareness Activity Badge too.
If the Cubs chose dementia as a key issue in their community that they’d like to tackle, encourage them to read Roy and Joyce’s story about living with the disease, and use it as a tool to generate ideas about ways things like public toilets could be adapted to make them more dementia-friendly. Support their ideas and make sure they are practical and achievable, but ensure that the ideas come from the young people as much as possible. Download the relevant resource pack and use it as a guide throughout the project.
Scouts should have a good grasp on the four A Million Hands issues, and are at an age where they can personally benefit from a Community Impact project: it can teach them teamwork skills, improve their communication and confidence, and provide them with knowledge about certain topics that can help them in later life.
Taking action in the community should be a chance for the Scouts to physically get out of the Scout meeting place and interact with members of the community. It should also have an end goal. You could design a project with our partner, Canal & River Trust, adopting a stretch of waterway and making it more accessible for the community. This will help the young people to judge that their actions have made a clear difference.
1st Honiton Scout Group took action for dementia, and learned a great deal about how to approach and talk to people with the disease in the process. The young people ended the project much more informed about the difficulties people living with dementia face, which may help them to cope with issues arising in their own families.
Taking action could be tied into existing events to limit the amount of planning required, including District or County Scouting events that could help get the word out to the wider Scouting community, or well-known charity days, like World Mental Health Day in October.
Explorers can really get their teeth into an issue and use their social networks, in person and online, to spread the message of their work. Once they have taken an action, it’s important to reflect on the work that was done, and what the young people learned through the project. The Community Impact Staged Activity Badge is not just about helping others, but also about developing skills in the young people who participated. Here are six ways that an A Million Hands project can enhance your CV and help you talk about skills in a job interview, college or university application.
It’s also important to monitor the outcome of the project, to see what impact it has had several weeks or months down the line. Could things have been done differently to involve more people and have a bigger impact?
Network - Community Impact work
Community is one of the three key Network Programme pillars (alongside Adventure and International). Network Members can can earn A Million Hands virtual badges when they participate in activities that help the community – something like a quiz night for World Toilet Day can raise money and awareness for the issue of clean water and sanitation. Here are some other inspirational ideas for Network projects.
Community Impact also forms an important part of the Scouts of the World Award, which encourages Scouts to take action for the global community, and to become active global citizens.
Find out more about the A Million Hands issues and resources by visiting the website. Log in and record your action before the end of April 2017 to receive a free A Million Hands wristband. You can also access additional local opportunities for your section, saving you time and helping you build contacts in your area.
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