Cub Scout forums
A Cub Pack leadership forum is a meeting between Sixers, sometimes Seconders, and Cub Scout Leaders.
If your Pack has young leaders, then they should also be involved, as they are closer in age to the Cubs and will help to facilitate discussions and help the Cubs get more out of the experience.
All young people’s views are valuable and all young people have the right to contribute their thoughts and ideas. Young people who are less confident or have difficulties with communicating or working with others may need extra support or flexibility to express their opinions and views. It is important to enable all young people to play an active role, to achieve meaningful youth involvement in the section.
Some young people may have difficulties with things like taking turns, or find it difficult to share their ideas verbally or in a group setting. Some young people will need more time than others, to process and form their ideas.
Don’t underestimate the ability of all young people to give their views. There are lots of different ways that feelings and ideas can be communicated.
Running a leadership forum
To help you organise a successful Cub Pack leadership forum, you can use the following tried and tested steps as a guide:
- Try out new games and activities.
- Discuss changes in Pack routine (the Sixers can then help to introduce these to the rest of the Pack).
- Discuss ideas for future activities and camps.
- Choose which challenge badges to complete.
- Train Sixers in their responsibilities, including running games and looking after Pack equipment and Six boxes.
- Hold meetings every term, either before or after the Pack meeting, or if necessary on a separate evening.
- Balance discussion with doing activities to stop the Cubs getting bored.
- Bring juice and snacks, such as biscuits, so that the Cubs can have a break and not lose interest.
- At least to start with, provide three activities for the Sixers to choose between. You could provide pictures of these activities, and ask them to stick a sticker on the picture of the activity they would like to choose. When the Sixers have had a chance to get used to the forum, you could increase the number of choices, or let them make their own suggestions.
- Eventually, you could ask the Sixers to come up with their own ideas. For example, give them a large sheet of paper and coloured pens and ask them to suggest activities they would like to do that term.
Below are some practical ideas and tips which could be used, to support all young people to express their opinions/views. Having a number of methods for young people contribute will be beneficial and more engaging/fun, for all young people.
- A slip of paper could be sent home, the week before the youth forum, with a question or questions for the young people to think about and record their ideas. They could use this as a reminder for themselves or the slip could be handed in. This would also be a good means of parent/carers supporting young people to form their ideas, if needed.
- Remember to think about how you communicate the question or topic, to ensure the understanding of all young people. For young people with autism, questions or topics that are specific will probably be most accessible. For more information about autism visit scouts.org.uk/autism
- Some young people may have difficulty remembering or visualising activities that they’ve done in the past. Showing photos would be an excellent memory aid and promote discussion.
- An ‘ideas box’ or ‘thoughts box’ could be used in the section, for young people to submit their ideas in writing and anonymously if they wish.
- For a young person who has difficulty expressing themselves, make sure you give them enough time and take time to check that you’ve understood their views/ideas correctly.
- A young person may be more able to give their ideas individually, to their Section Leader, their Sixer, another volunteer, a Young Leader, or someone who knows them well. The young person could then be supported/prompted to give their views or could nominate someone to speak for them.
- If a young person needs extra time to process a question, ask them if they would like others to answer first, or provide the list of questions beforehand.
- For young people with limited communication skills, it may be useful to speak to the parent/carer about best way for the young person to form and provide their views.
- Our Scouting Speaks to All resource covers a range of speech, language and communication needs, and tips for supporting young people with these needs.
It is important to keep a record of the feedback you get, and make sure you let the Cubs know that you are listening to their ideas by including them in the programme.
It is also important to make sure that your Sixers understand that it is sometimes not possible to do all of the activities you talk about. If something cannot be arranged, explain to them why this is the case and what exciting activity you will be doing instead. This will avoid disappointment.
Youth Shaped Resources
To start you off the national Youth Shaped Team have compiled some great ideas around what to discuss and how to deliver fun and effective activities and youth forums, for the Cub Scout Section.