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Thread: Reducing Beaver Starting Age

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    Senior Member lakes_stu's Avatar
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    Reducing Beaver Starting Age

    There is a question posted here..

    https://www.escouts.org.uk/forum/thr...the-Beaver-age

    .. regarding reducing the Beaver start age to 5 in order to possibly encourage more girls to join.

    I have not yet formed an opinion about this, but I thought I would point out that the age for starting the Northern Ireland Squirrel Association is 4. This is a standalone organisation, but one which feeds directly into Beavers.

    I cant help wondering if this is why the starting age for Rainbows in Northern Ireland has been reduced to 4?

    Not sure how things work at Squirrels (apart from the one run by Duggee on CBeebies!!!), but its food for thought one way or another.
    All posts represent my own opinions only. In no way do they speak for anyone else, including (but not limited to) my group, district, county or HQ.

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    As a parent with three kids, one of which is 5 next week, I like the idea of a younger start age to match Beavers. All of the kids have been ready for beavers by 5.

    As a leader in a group who talks to the beaver leaders, it would increase the hard side of their role no end. As the only section in the group with a waiting list already, this would make the situation worse.

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    my life is now quite heavily centred on a 5 year old boy and as far as i can tell, quite a few reception kids are barely potty trained... let alone able to wipe their bums or do quite a few basic tasks.

    a year of reception seems like an excellent thing before we start to work with them.

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    I think our Beaver leader would quit on the spot!

    Don't forget the two aren't comparable. Rainbows doesn't have a structured badge programme nor undertaken nights away - which suits the younger age range they work with. Throw a load of 5 year olds into Beavers and we'd probably have difficulty making nights away a viable part of the programme (given parents concerns about it being too young - plus the greater incidence of difficulties like bed wetting) along with having to restructure the badge programme.

    I'm also not sure that switching our ages to enable us to capture more girls before they get into Rainbows serves the overall youth well. At present between the two movements there is a certain number of spaces for kids who want to do those sorts of activities -drawing more away from Rainbows who'd be happy to move through Guiding, just blocks spaces for those that would be happy in Scouting but not in Guiding (or can't go that way because they are boys). Its not as if most Beaver colonies have space for 5 year olds even without diverting from Rainbows!
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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  7. #5
    Man in a daft hat Hatman's Avatar
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    We don't seem to be having a problem recruiting girls. About a third of our Beavers are girls at the moment. Some of them go to Rainbows or Brownies as well. It's not a competition. Why not do both? After all, they go to ballet and other evening clubs so why not be a Scout and a Guide?
    Years ago, a new girl Beaver walked in and the first thing she said to me was "This isn't going to be like Brownies is it?" I said; "No don't worry". She's an Explorer now.
    If the starting age was reduced to 5, we would need to start a third Colony and that would be a logistical nightmare.

    Nigel
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    www.hovetonandwroxhamscouts.org.uk

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    John Anderson JPA's Avatar
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    I raised the question as we hardly get any female Beavers, and also because my own daughter told me she wanted to join Rainbows because girls in her class at school are there and that no one in the class goes to Beavers.

    I suppose its a form of peer pressure of wanting to do what everyone else is doing.
    Group Scout Leader

    www.6theastkilbride.com

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    Senior Member lakes_stu's Avatar
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    My daughter goes to both Rainbows and Beavers. She loves the programme we run at Beavers, but she does point out that a lot of her school friends go to Rainbows.

    The Rainbow leaders and our team have agreed that it would only be a good thing for a girl to do both, given that we currently have plenty of spaces available (we get on really well - cooperation not competition). Surprisingly, when we all spoke to parents, the reason for keeping away from Beavers (in addition to Rainbows, after all our subs are very low) is that they would not know anyone. But if a few were to take the plunge....

    Personally, I don't see boys and girls, just Beavers and Rainbows.
    Last edited by lakes_stu; 18-01-2016 at 03:25 PM.
    All posts represent my own opinions only. In no way do they speak for anyone else, including (but not limited to) my group, district, county or HQ.

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    I used to assume the starting date was a big factor but I'm not so sure now.

    Even leaving aside the practical difficulties in adapting Beavers to a young age range, and then Cubs likewise etc, it still doesn't get over some remaining issues. Firstly there remains a lack of awareness of Scouting being open to females at all levels. Secondly we don't yet have a significant cohort of parents that remember girls in Scouting to educate their preferences when choosing for their young children. Then taking those two and combining them at the school gate, you'll still get all the Mum's agreeing that their little gang of girls that have play dates etc will all go to Rainbows together which in turn leads to you feeling pressure not to make your daughter feel the odd one out.
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    The unpaid help ASLChris's Avatar
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    But would reducing Beavers ages get parents to send their girls to Beavers instead of Rainbows? I'm not convinced it will make a difference.
    Chris Hawes, District Media Manager, Watford North Scout District and Watford Scouts; Group Treasurer and Webmaster, 9th North Watford Scout Group.
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    Senior Member lakes_stu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASLChris View Post
    But would reducing Beavers ages get parents to send their girls to Beavers instead of Rainbows? I'm not convinced it will make a difference.
    I think you might be right here Chris, for the reasons Mang mentioned among others.

    As I say, we promote girls doing both, but there is still little uptake.
    All posts represent my own opinions only. In no way do they speak for anyone else, including (but not limited to) my group, district, county or HQ.

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    walk down a toy aisle in even the most politically correct of stores and there is still a pink section with glitter and puffy fairy dresses and girls seem to be expected to get their toys from that section.

    society still has expectations of girls and expectations of boys... it is bizarrely OK to say that a girl who likes traditional scouting activities is a tomboy... i hate that.

    There is still an expectation that girls go to rainbows and play with glitter while boys go to beavers and cook s'mores on fires... unless the girl is a tomboy, a freak, not a proper girl.

    It's appalling and it carries on all the way through their lives.

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    We have about 1/3 girls, all except my DD are also Rainbows.

    and no thanks to reducing the starting age, 2 years is enough, we would be challenged to make the programme different enough over 3 years.
    'Simba'

    BSL/ADC Beavers.

    All opinions stated are my own.

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    Senior Member David Kendall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mang21 View Post
    Firstly there remains a lack of awareness of Scouting being open to females at all levels. Secondly we don't yet have a significant cohort of parents that remember girls in Scouting to educate their preferences when choosing for their young children. Then taking those two and combining them at the school gate, you'll still get all the Mum's agreeing that their little gang of girls that have play dates etc will all go to Rainbows together which in turn leads to you feeling pressure not to make your daughter feel the odd one out.
    Some excellent point there Mang.

    In a couple of months we will have a girl starting in Beavers whose parents both met as Venture Scouts (#) and her grandfather was a GSL elsewhere - it was more or less set in stone that she would be a Beaver and not a Rainbow !

    # they will be targeted for a return to Scouting !
    In between roles/helping out where I can......

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    Keith at 2M Keith at 2M's Avatar
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    Brownies start at 7, so why not reduce the Cub starting Age too?

    My understanding is (& its certainly true in our area) is that Beaver Colonies out number Rainbow Packs by at least four or five to one. If they're enjoying Rainbows then great, there are enough YP around to fill most Beaver Colonies many times over regardless of the local competition. The Beaver programme also nicely fits a two year rotation, extending the age range to a third year would possibly mean the older YP get bored at 7 and be ready to move on? It would also undoubtably put extra pressure on our BSL to provide a wider range of weekly activities which I'm not sure would be welcomed.
    The Roman Empire did not become great by holding meetings. It did so by killing everyone that opposed their point of view.

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    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    We already have more demand for Beaver places than there are spaces in our District and that is despite opening two new Colonies in the last few years. The girls we get in our Colony tend to mostly either be sisters of boys who are in the Colony (or have been and are now in the Pack) or friends of such girls although we do get the odd direct enquiry from girls.

    Peter Andrews ESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
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    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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