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ddeelass
23-09-2009, 07:05 AM
Hopefully attending a "Getting Started" for our Squirrel Drey tonight - not sure quite what to expect (have already done a "Getting Started" a couple of years ago and nearly completed my woodbadge training courses - last day Sunday!), has anyone else already completed the Squirrels one?

shiftypete
23-09-2009, 08:02 AM
Care to elaborate as to what on Earth Squirrels are? (apart from the small furry creatures with the bushy tail)

ddeelass
23-09-2009, 08:14 AM
Little cherubs all of them :bigsmiley Squirrels are 4 - 6 year olds, they have become part of scouting here in Northern Ireland since January this year. I'm hoping tonight I'm going to get details of the sort of badges/programmes we'll be able to include in meetings.

shiftypete
23-09-2009, 08:46 AM
Ok fair enough, I hope they don't introduce that over here as i think 5 3/4 is the young enough, we already have some kids that join at 6 that struggle to cope and have a parent stay for a week or two to settle in.

Also I am confused why do you need to redo getting started if you nearly have your woodbadge? You should only need to redo any modules where there would be a difference between your new Section and the one your previous training was in.

ddeelass
23-09-2009, 10:02 AM
Hi, sometimes the wee ones can be hard work but by they time they're ready to be moved up and coming to us in Beavers, hopefully they're aware of the structure of how a meeting is run so it helps us in the long run. I think we have to do "Getting Started" again basically to meet up with other Squirrel leaders in the district (Squirrels belonged to the NI Squirrel Association) and see how it all fits into Scouting and if in fact we have to something additional for woodbadge because of the children's ages. Should be interesting!

Airobat
23-09-2009, 10:47 AM
Don't want to worry you Pete but the SA have a habit of trialling things in NI before bringing them over to the mainland :)

Lilac_Beaver
23-09-2009, 10:56 AM
I had a new starter last night whose brother wanted to come, but the Brother was only 4. His sister and sisters friend who has been with us a while left him howling the house down because he wanted to come. I think Squirrels are a great idea, if only as a small group of the siblings who want to get involved with their older brothers and sisters.

If they introduce them over here looks like three sections a week for me then (and the odd drop in on Cubs of course lol):D

Raksha
23-09-2009, 10:59 AM
Don't want to worry you Pete but the SA have a habit of trialling things in NI before bringing them over to the mainland :)Scary thought! Having worked in Early Years I can sort of see the benefits, but would be wary of how it would fit in.
My main objection would be that if children already feel they have had enough by the time they have been through Beavers, Cubs and Scouts and so do not move onto Explorers, will there be a similar feeling by the time they have done Squirrels, Beavers and Cubs and thus the fall out occurs even earlier at Scouts? They would have to be pretty keen to have been in Scouting since the age of 4!

Airobat
23-09-2009, 11:18 AM
Along with, I suspect, the rest of the venerable leaders, I await all the playgroup/too young/madness comments that were made about Beavers.

weefatbob
23-09-2009, 12:31 PM
I must admit I thought this was an April Fools from Scouting a few years back... I had no idea it was real!

Scary indeed!!

Bob

shiftypete
23-09-2009, 12:36 PM
It was an April Fools joke in Scouting apart from they called the Section Mice IIRC

weefatbob
23-09-2009, 01:36 PM
It was an April Fools joke in Scouting apart from they called the Section Mice IIRC

Ah, yes that was it! Well remembered!

RedCoat
23-09-2009, 03:55 PM
Mice is not an April Fool's joke. It is an optional section run in at least one WFIS association in Germany (where the Maus section is attended by little ones with a parent). Could the joke have actually been a crafty way of testing the water?

Sounds like the Irish SA are now taking the idea on as well. Funny how the "traditionalists" seem to be the ones to come up with these ideas first! ;)

martin1981
23-09-2009, 05:45 PM
nope Squirrels long predate the April Fool in Scouting magazine, the last infoirmation I saw indicated that they have been around for at least 20 years and the Squirrel Association was formed in the early 1990s

mcc78
23-09-2009, 06:41 PM
Sounds like the Irish SA are now taking the idea on as well. Funny how the "traditionalists" seem to be the ones to come up with these ideas first! ;)

So as seems to be normal now, the Scouting Associations on the island of Ireland (are we now down to two?) are working in tandem...

bfgscout
23-09-2009, 09:57 PM
So as seems to be normal now, the Scouting Associations on the island of Ireland (are we now down to two?) are working in tandem...

3 associations in Ireland, Northern Ireland SA, Eire SA and BP-SA Ireland:bigsmiley

Lynn-Cubs
24-09-2009, 07:13 AM
My son is 4 and I know he'd love it (he already loves Cubs when I have to take him). But I wonder how much of a baby sitting - after school service this really is?

What times do they run at? And what sort of programme do they run, my mum does Rainbows and finds they are restricted greatly in all areas, very small girls restricts games and not being able to read/ write/ follow instructions hinders crafts.

As a Stay at home Mum I do feel that the world now revolves around working parents, and I wonder how much priority is actually put on the children sometimes.

mcc78
24-09-2009, 12:02 PM
3 associations in Ireland, Northern Ireland SA, Eire SA and BP-SA Ireland:bigsmiley

I'd forgotten about BP-SA...

Wonder if they operate North of the Border....:bigsmiley

TRH
24-09-2009, 12:08 PM
I tried to warn you all last year

http://www.escouts.org.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=6755&highlight=squirrels

but would you listen :bigsmiley

----------------
The Following Was Added to the post within 60 minutes of posting the above
---------------


I'd forgotten about BP-SA...

Wonder if they operate North of the Border....:bigsmiley

yip they do ( or they definately did) as I had been camping with one of their leaders, but that was a while ago, maybe some of th BP-SA folk can up date me

shiftypete
24-09-2009, 12:27 PM
I had completely forgotten about that thread, I still think it a bad idea

big chris
24-09-2009, 12:39 PM
My questions at the time remain:

if they are not in POR, how do they have rules to follow? (possible answer is, they follow the law re. childcare)

if they are not in POR, who insures them? how does that work?

why are they not mentioned on any official sites? only group ones... is this an official thing?

if they can do it in NI, can i do it in London? it sounds like an ace money spinner... how much do story books and percussion instruments cost?

if one approaches it as a scouting themed playschool... then i suppose it might have vague merits... i'm not comfortable with it... 6 yr old boys are barely able to pee and poo by themselves... 4 yr olds?!? i'd rather get them when they can at least do the basics for themselves...

mcc78
24-09-2009, 12:58 PM
My questions at the time remain:

if they are not in POR, how do they have rules to follow? (possible answer is, they follow the law re. childcare)

if they are not in POR, who insures them? how does that work?

why are they not mentioned on any official sites? only group ones... is this an official thing?

if they can do it in NI, can i do it in London? it sounds like an ace money spinner... how much do story books and percussion instruments cost?

My understanding is that there is a Squirrel Association which is affiliated to the Northern Ireland Scout Council in the way that BEavers were (when I was a Beaver). I don't know how it is that they are able to do it here.

nele
24-09-2009, 01:11 PM
Maybe we should ask Wayne if there are any plans to develop squirrels in the rest of the UK?

Beavers do often start younger then 6 in other countries, so its not as strange as we might think.

I just don't want to think about the extra venues and leaders needed, if we were to start them here...

big chris
24-09-2009, 01:15 PM
would we be addressing a need from the 4 yr olds or the whim of some leaders?

Ian Mallett
24-09-2009, 01:55 PM
The Canadian Beavers start at 5, Rainbows start at 5, Woodchips (youngest section of the Woodcraft Folk) is for 4-6 year olds, the Boys' Brigade Anchor Boys (even though some companies now take girls in the BB girls section) is for 5-8 year olds, and the Girls' Brigade Explorers is for 4-8 year olds.

If parents want it to happen, then over time I imagine Squirrel Dreys will appear around the rest of the UK.

bobbles_lass
24-09-2009, 02:39 PM
and in NI rainbows start at 4 (was an oddity I noticed in the GGUK rules a few years back).

How 'scouty' can 4-6 year olds be?

mcc78
25-09-2009, 12:48 PM
and in NI rainbows start at 4 (was an oddity I noticed in the GGUK rules a few years back).

This is, I understand, because the school starting age is 4 in Northern Ireland. Any info I know on GGUK is from my mother (former Brown Owl - yes that makes me an owlet! - former Division Commissioner, and now "only a Trainer").

allie 1
03-10-2009, 04:55 PM
have just finished my woodbadge training as a Beaver leader. No harm to all the lovely 4-6 year olds that are already in our group, but no way am i redoing my Woodbadge training....for Squirrels..

Bushfella
04-10-2009, 04:36 PM
Much though I hate to think about it, the educational system is staring earlier and earlier and perhaps we may have to follow suit. never mind, no Leaders = not happening.

shiftypete
04-10-2009, 04:53 PM
Well I for one am glad Wayne B has said TSA is not looking into launching a pre Beaver section

Akelu_XSG
04-10-2009, 05:18 PM
agree with Raksha.. they are several studies that a child is mainly engaged in an organization mostly up to 10 years... that mean if squirells began at 4 years old.. that would mean a child at 14 years old will beging to get bored in scouts... i read it in some papers a year ago.. and i think its true... the 10 year age after they start scouts should be around 17/18 so.. at that time the children would be more mature.. and will began thinking about becoming leaders.. :)

roger-uk
04-10-2009, 08:25 PM
Hmm why would you be glad there may be many who would welcome and help with that section. Each one to his own.

The same was probbaly said about Beavers :bigsmiley

Doug in Canada
04-10-2009, 08:49 PM
Well I for one am glad Wayne B has said TSA is not looking into launching a pre Beaver section
Ahh, but could they be looking at altering the age range?! I suspect it would be much simpler to lower the age range for Beavers to 5 - gets you half way there and you have done nothing except change a couple of line of POR!

Beavers in Canada runs three years (5,6 & 7). Not saying I agree with it as there are pros and cons but but lowering the age range would certainly be easier than setting up a new section and you would not have to recruit (many?!) new leaders!

Dramatist
04-10-2009, 08:59 PM
Some of you will not like my view on this; I trust that you won't strike me off your Christmas Card list for uttering such sacrilage but I think that half the problem with drop out is down to Beavers. When they start that young, they get bored by the time they are 13 and view Scouting as 'childish'.

As a small boy, I looked forward to being old enough to join Cubs. It was a sort of 'rite of passage' which indicated that I was growing up - about to become one of the 'big boys'. That coveted necker was the outward sign that I had joined the club! Nowadays, they drop Scouts as a mark that they are throwing away 'childish things' and, if they do go on, we get all that nonsense about dropping neckers (in other words, getting rid of a mark of childhood)!

For that, I blame the concept of 'Beavers'. Starting that early destroys the magic! (Ducks for cover from a hail of abuse and rotten fruit!).

With that as my starting point, I can only say that the idea of 'Squirrels' is totally Nuts!!!;)

roger-uk
04-10-2009, 09:39 PM
Some of you will not like my view on this; I trust that you won't strike me off your Christmas Card list for uttering such sacrilage but I think that half the problem with drop out is down to Beavers. When they start that young, they get bored by the time they are 13 and view Scouting as 'childish'.

As a small boy, I looked forward to being old enough to join Cubs. It was a sort of 'rite of passage' which indicated that I was growing up - about to become one of the 'big boys'. That coveted necker was the outward sign that I had joined the club! Nowadays, they drop Scouts as a mark that they are throwing away 'childish things' and, if they do go on, we get all that nonsense about dropping neckers (in other words, getting rid of a mark of childhood)!

For that, I blame the concept of 'Beavers'. Starting that early destroys the magic! (Ducks for cover from a hail of abuse and rotten fruit!).

With that as my starting point, I can only say that the idea of 'Squirrels' is totally Nuts!!!;)

I'll get my Tin Hat on. The problem about drop outs at 14 is Leaders unable to inspire and challenge the Scouts. Get out camp, walk do things thats scouty - look at the thriving Explorer units and work out how they can do it.

Look at exciting ways to teach the basics knotting, bushcraft etc etc

Its time and effort - I did a back to basics camp last weekend zero cost apart from food and accomodation. Took home tired, dirty and happy cubs we did traking, fire lighting, pioneering, shelter building and gadget making out of bamboo poles. I let the climb trees and make their own fires under supervison.

Sorry I'll get my coat

Dramatist
04-10-2009, 10:34 PM
I agree with you, Roger, that that is one of the reasons for 'drop out'. It was certainly a major factor in my own troop before I took over and I am not 'telling tales out of school' here, it was common knowledge and was the main reason that I was 'brought out' of my Scouting retirement which had been enforced through illness. I was recovering and the Troop was in a corner so to speak!

None the less, I still think that starting too young takes some of the gloss off it and, subconsciously gets YP to associate scouting with young childhood making the transition age (Scouts) absolutely crucial. Sadly, this transition is, sometimes, not made. It is not the fault so much of the Leaders - I have never yet met a Scout Leader who did not do his or her very best - it is more down to the system as it stands and the restrictions which are put upon it by society.
Our society is quick to mock things it doesn't fully understand and to legislate in panic when anything out of the ordinary happens. In such a climate, it is a wonder that we survive at all - a tribute to dedicated leaders!

End of thesis!

wealdbrook
05-10-2009, 06:19 AM
If we can find the leaders then let's concentrate them on supporting the current Beaver colonies (and perhaps open a few more where there are waiting lists), allow a few Beaver leaders to swim up to cubs to support the leaders there and open more packs and the odd cub leader to migrate to Scouts to help out there where we are short of leaders. Perhaps a few leaders moving would help revitalise tired programmes and keep the YP interested.

Bushfella
05-10-2009, 06:38 AM
I don't think that we need Squirrels. And when it comes to the drop out rate, well, I don't know.

I've been surprised by the number of Section Leaders who have folders for each kid, and who run Beavers and Cubs like a school class, doing the fire safety badge by reading about fire safety, colouring in pictures and circling risks. Colouring in pictures, writing, cutting out, colouring writing....

There is a little bit of that at our Group, but by and large they are doing stuff. If they are making thinbgs they get covered in flour, glitter, glue, paint and they have something to take home. However, the greater part of the programme is doing stuff, - campfires, wide games, archery, kayaking, camping, playing with tents, cooking, etc.. The losses we suffer are from external pressures, or because they don't like the idea of discipline in Scouts (I may have had words with them about their behaviour in Cubs, for example, and they don't like the idea of coming to Scouts as a result.)

Of my younger Leader team, they have all come from Scouting, all bar two were with us from Beavers, and two were girls who joined at 11. I have more coming along through Explorers. So, I'm not sure that the 10 year rule holds true.

Fiyero
05-10-2009, 08:12 AM
Some of you will not like my view on this;...
You definitely have a point but none of the recent losses in our Scout Troop were YP who started as Beavers or even Cubs, they started as Scouts and got bored of Scouts (The Scout Troop is in a process of change and the issues that caused some of these departures no longer exist).

Having said that I do not agree with a section before Beavers. They can already start at 5 3/4 and with some of them that seems too young to me.

TRH
05-10-2009, 08:59 AM
As I have posted a question on the related to Cheif Commissioner Questions section, I will point out again. Squirrles is running, has leaders and last week our Beavers got two new members moving up from Squirels. I am confused when Wayne says not to be encouraged and no pilots.

ASLChris
05-10-2009, 01:42 PM
Whether or not 4-6 is too young - and IMHO it is - we already struggle to get enough Beaver leaders to provide colonies for those who want to join!

TRH
05-10-2009, 03:00 PM
Believe it or not I agree 4 - 6 is to young, but that is not my question. The fact is that the Squirels are up and running (maybe as an Northern Ireland HQ entity) as part of the Scout Association but Waynes answer implied otherwise or have I misunderstood.

PeterSheppard
05-10-2009, 03:07 PM
Believe it or not I agree 4 - 6 is to young, but that is not my question. The fact is that the Squirels are up and running (maybe as an Northern Ireland HQ entity) as part of the Scout Association but Waynes answer implied otherwise or have I misunderstood.

Perhaps this quote from a recently released HQ document answers it?


c. In Northern Ireland, reference was made to needing to maintain collaborative relationships with
Scouting Ireland and to the informal provision by some Groups for young people pre-Beavers.

TRH
05-10-2009, 03:49 PM
Thanks again Peter for your ever vigilant post. I might let it rest but still the niggle with me is that it is less informal than people think.

I still look at Waynes reply with some surprise.

BTW, as far as I am aware Scouting Ireland have patrols of 8 and still have Venture Scouts. But we don't and have Explorers

ddeelass
08-10-2009, 12:48 PM
As TRH mentioned before - Squirrels is definitely up and running here in Northern Ireland, we have 24 in our Drey presently and at the last woodbadge training day at Greenmount there were Squirrels leaders - it was also mentioned that they would be doing modules with a slant towards the 4 - 6 year olds, so I'm a bit confused as to how it all fits in, bearing in mind Wayne's response.

Ian Mallett
09-10-2009, 11:50 AM
The following is on page 18 of Agreeing Scouting's Vision Towards 2018, the link is on here somewhere, where it lists the variation in consultation responses due to differing geography:

"In Northern Ireland reference was made to needing to maintain collaborative relationships with Scouting Ireland and to the informal provision by some Groups for young people pre-Beavers."

UK HQ is therefore aware of Squirrels, but doesn't appear likley to do anything to expand them as far as I can see.

TRH
09-10-2009, 12:49 PM
Thanks Ian and Peter but Squirrels in Northern Ireland is now anything but informal. I am still surprised at Waynes response and can only guess that you will follow us soon enough as you did with Beavers.

4thDarwin Akela
09-10-2009, 02:20 PM
What info is out there,Badges,programe idears and stuff.
carl
CSL 4th Melton Mowbray Darwin,

Ian Mallett
09-10-2009, 03:11 PM
Is this called filling the void in an increasingly secular society, caused by the demise of so much church based provision that used to exist? Or did Mum oops Parents & Tots use to stop at 4 anyway, and some families are now looking for something to bridge the gap to beavers?

lanajay
11-10-2009, 12:13 PM
I have to be honest and say I think the idea of a pre-beavers section is a great idea - even if only to introduce the kids to scouting. Rainbows in the UK starts at age 5 and by the time they come to brownies at age 7 they know what expect and seem to fit in quicker than someone coming straight to brownies.

I think a pre-beavers section is a great idea and helps to encourage the concept of scouting at an early age - hopefully setting them up for a long journey within scouting.

However, I do agree with those who say focussing on leaders for current sections first. To overcome this and solve both issues I think the starting age for beavers should be lowered to 5.

ASLChris
11-10-2009, 12:55 PM
However, I do agree with those who say focussing on leaders for current sections first. To overcome this and solve both issues I think the starting age for beavers should be lowered to 5.

Beavers is the most oversubscribed section IIRC - lets not make it even more oversubscribed!

shiftypete
11-10-2009, 04:44 PM
However, I do agree with those who say focussing on leaders for current sections first. To overcome this and solve both issues I think the starting age for beavers should be lowered to 5.

I don't think that would help the Leader situation either as I for one would stop helping with Beavers if that happened and I'm sure I wouldn't be the only one. I find the 5 3/4 year olds bad enough never mind any younger than that thanks

Nodster
11-10-2009, 10:38 PM
Back before Beavers were in the UK, they had them in Northern Ireland and Canada. Our Group started Beaver scouting in the UK 3 to 4 years before it's official launch in the UK.

I think Squirls would be a great idea for the UK. We were attucally talking about this concept a few years ago within our group, and having 2 pre-beaver section the first called "Glimmers" (for "not even born yet" to 4yr old!) and "Gleams" (for 4-6).

PeterSheppard
11-10-2009, 11:21 PM
No no no no no no and more no!!

Absolutely no way should we reduce the starting age any further, or introduce even younger sections! Beavers is already scraping the barrel as far as keeping with the concept of Scouting goes. Any lower and I just can't see how it fits in with what Scouting is supposed to do!

"Originally B-P. had envisaged Scouting as a movement for boys between the ages of 11 and 18"

Wolf Cubs at the time was created because boys wanted to join in with their older brothers; clearly a youth-led demand!

However, its swung the other way, and the vast majority of our membership is under the age of 11. We are already labelled from the outside as a kids organisation, rather than a movement for adolescents, with the phrase "aren't you too old for scouts" being banded all over the place.

Instead of looking to further dumb down the movement, we should be placing effort into the development of the older sections, and fulfilling our fundamental principles - the "development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential, as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities".

We need to concentrate on ensuring that young people progress through the movement, from Scouts into Explorers and on to Network. And to gaining Queen's Scout Awards.

If we were to judge success on the number of people starting the movement, and subsequently gaining the top award, we would be looking at a fraction of a percent. With those sorts of figures speaking for themselves, can we really call ourselves successful?

I can say wholeheartedly that if we were to lower the joining age range any further, I believe we would stop being a youth movement, and firmly be a childrens/babysitting organisation.

Dramatist
12-10-2009, 07:50 AM
...I think Squirls would be a great idea for the UK. We were attucally talking about this concept a few years ago within our group, and having 2 pre-beaver section the first called "Glimmers" (for "not even born yet" to 4yr old!) and "Gleams" (for 4-6).
Never! Never! Never! Never!

We are the Scouts, not a ruddy mothers and toddlers group! IMHO Beavers was a step too far. The fight is on to keep the older age group. We don't need any more at the bottom. What self-respecting 15 year old wants to belong to an organisation where the average age of membership is about six and a half?

This is Scouting, not 'Tiny Tots Anonymous'!!!:smash::mad::smash::mad::smash::mad:

Jeebie
12-10-2009, 10:06 AM
Thre's no way my three would have been ready to start any younger than 5 3/4. the middle and youngest wanted to but that was because they saw their brother going out.

I've worked with children between the ags of 2 and 11 and, personally, any younger than6 would be hard to instill what scouting is all about - it's hard enough with beavers sometimes :smash:

If it's working well in Ireland, then good for you and keep it up.

Would like to see programmes etc and what goals/badges they work towards to prep them for beavers and onward...

TRH
12-10-2009, 03:06 PM
FYI

Squirrel Promise
I promise to be a good squirrel and to love God

Doug in Canada
13-10-2009, 12:04 PM
I can say wholeheartedly that if we were to lower the joining age range any further, I believe we would stop being a youth movement, and firmly be a childrens/babysitting organisation.

Beavers in Canada are 5-7 year olds. Fits with our school system where kids start school at 5. I don't believe that we would be considered a childrens organization and the Beavers do age appropriate Scouting activities. Of course it depends on the leadership teams and some colonies only do crafts and nothing remotely scouting but I know of cub and scout sections where the same could be said!