Scout badges which help to develop empathy
From transformative community impact projects to lifesaving skills and writing exercises which encourage us to step into another’s shoes, here are five Scout Badges and Awards which help young people put empathy into practice.
This badge introduces young people to a number of international issues and asks them to step into the shoes of someone directly affected, whether that person is an underpaid garment worker producing cheap clothes for the UK market, or a fellow Scout dealing with a natural disaster.
Dealing with a dangerous or life-threatening situation requires technical knowledge and emotional strength – such as problem solving at speed and remaining calm under pressure. It also requires the ability to see things from the perspective of the person who needs your help. Lifesaver and First Aid badges build these skills, with tangible real-life results. Just look at the story of the Cub Scouts who rushed to their Grandmother’s aid and ultimately saved her life.
As well as encouraging young people to marvel at the diverse wildlife and plants that surround them, this badge looks at the wider context of ecology and natural resource management, encouraging young people to consider how human activities can affect the wildlife we so cherish.
This award produces the skills young people need to become active citizens of their communities. At each stage of completing the award, Scouts find out more about how the world works and how they can shape it more positively and empathetically, whether they’re investigating mainstream views around the issue of disability or gender in different societies, volunteering with their local services, or taking part in an activity which explores values and beliefs.
When we write stories, we have to consider the life experiences and choices of our character, from their perspective, and then convey that back to our readers. Picking up a pen is therefore one of the fastest routes to becoming more empathetic, and the Writer Activity Badge is the perfect catalyst for young people to explore their thoughts and feelings while honing their craft.