Australian Scout Medallion – COVID-19 Provisions

Many Scouts hoping to complete their Australian Scout Medallion (ASM) in 2020 will be concerned about meeting the requirements of the award before they turn 15.

The isolation rules in place while we are in the COVID-19 Pandemic have meant Scouts will be unable to undertake their Adventurous Journeys, attend Leadership Courses, or complete some requirements of the award scheme. This page sets out temporary policies, relaxed requirements, changes to procedure, and tips for Troop Councils on how they can support Scouts wishing to achieve their ASM in 2020.

The provisions in place for Scouts turning 15 before December 31st, 2020 are:

  • Requirements of the Adventurer Target badges will be suitably relaxed at the Troop Council’s discretion.
  • Scouts will not be required to physically complete the Adventurous Journey. Instead, the Scout will submit to the Troop Council their Adventurer Journey Hike Plan (including navigation, risk, menu, etc) as if they were conducting the Journey.
  • The Scout must submit to the Troop Council the Review Documents of previous hikes or journeys in which the Scout has had a lead role, as evidence of Plan>Do>Review of similar activities.
  • Instead of the Scout attending a Scout Leadership Course, the Troop Council will conduct a Reflection on the Scout’s leadership skills and experience.

The temporary arrangement will be in place for Scouts turning 15 on or before 31st of December 2020. It will be reviewed on 31st of October 2020 and if conditions are not improved, it will be extended. If necessary, it may be reviewed beforehand to avoid disadvantaging Scouts outside of these dates.

This page has the following sections to assist Scouts and their Troop Councils:

The Adventurous Journey
Leadership Reflection
Adventurer Level when Scouting @ Home

You can download a copy of this page here

The Adventurous Journey

Scout Council Victoria is aware there are 250+ Scouts hoping to complete their Adventurous Journeys in 2020. With isolation rules in place and Scout Troops being unable to meet in person for the foreseeable future, the plans of those Scouts to get out and complete their Journey are on hold.

The Council has reviewed a number of possible provisions and discussed many of them with our interstate colleagues as we wish to have a consistent approach around the country. The policy we have adopted is:

For Scouts pursuing the Australian Scout Medallion and turning 15 years old before December 31st 2020, they will not be required to physically complete their Adventurous Journey. Instead, they will submit their Hike Plan and evidence of previous similar activities in the form of Review Documents in order for their Troop Council to assess that the Scout has the knowledge and skills required to successfully complete their Adventurous Journey.

The above policy will be reviewed in October 2020 and extended if necessary.

We appreciate that the Adventurous Journey is often the pinnacle of a Scout’s experience in the section, a hike that represents hours of pre-planning, the management of participants, an arduous but fulfilling hike/bike ride/canoe trip or other activity… and lots of fun. For the time being, the Journey can’t happen.

Under normal circumstances, the Adventurer Journey is an assessment of a Scout’s competencies in the planning and execution of a challenging hike. It includes pre-planning (route, menu, equipment and program), navigation, camping, physical challenge, risk management and leadership. The journey is not simply a test of the Scout’s ability to carry a pack over the distance. The Troop Council can assess those skills by reviewing the Adventurous Journey plan put together by the Scout, and looking at the review documentation from previous activities the Scout has led, for evidence that they are capable of similar hikes and leading other Scouts.

The plan document should be written as if the Scout is actually doing the Hike. Care should be taken to use real locations and real dates, assessing weather and other dangers. Permission, fees, transport should be planned and documented. Menu, rations, equipment all detailed as well as responsibilities of the team. The Scout can use the Adventure Hike Plan Template here at the Explorer website. Upon submission to the Troop Council, suitable assistance should be sought from a Leader to help assess the plan.

The Scout should also submit evidence of their planning and leadership of previous, similar activities. It might be an Explorer Level Campcraft hike for example. This might take the form of an illustrated report that was completed, or a review done in the Plan>Do>Review process. Once submitted to the Troop Council, they should review the evidence to assess whether the Scout has the experience necessary to complete a three day hike and lead 3 or more other Scouts.

When the Troop Council approves the Scout’s submission, they will effectively approve the Adventurer Campcraft Journey requirement.

Scout Leadership Courses

Isolation rules have required Scout Leadership Courses to be cancelled around the state. A Scout pursuing their ASM would normally have to attend a Leadership Course to qualify for the award. In 2020, the requirement has been adjusted:

For Scouts pursuing the Australian Scout Medallion and turning 15 years old before December 31st 2020, the requirement of attending a Scout Leadership Course has been replaced with a Reflection on their leadership skills and experience led by the Troop Council.

The above policy will be reviewed in October 2020 and extended if necessary.

Under normal circumstances, a Scout would complete a leadership course around the time that they are completing their Adventurer Level. By this time, they are often Patrol Leaders and will have led fellow Scouts on patrol activities, hikes, and camps. The development of leadership is the core business of Scouts. Just by taking part in the Scout program and the method, Scouts learn about and experience successful leadership in an enjoyable and challenging way.

Scout Leadership Courses are designed to cover the following key elements:

  1. Control and Discipline, Conflict Resolution & Management
  2. Brain Storming, Problem Solving, Character Recognition & Self Confidence
  3. Teamwork, Building a Team, Group Dynamics & Group Processes
  4. Planning, Organisation, Camp Organisation & Goal Setting
  5. Instruction Skills & Communication
  6. Patrol/Troop Management, Duties of the Troop Council, Patrol System & Programming

In helping a Scout reflect on their Leadership skills, the Troop Council will review evidence of the Scout’s experience and skills in each of the elements. How they do that will be at the discretion of the Troop Council, but the Scout Council Victoria can provide the following ideas to help guide them.

Conducting the Leadership Reflection

Schedule a 30-45 minute online meeting with the Scout and the Troop Council. This is not an interview, so it shouldn’t be formal, but it’s also not a social gathering- so someone should be tasked with keeping the meeting on track and on time. The Scout should spend some time before the meeting gathering their reports from various activities that they can use as evidence of their experience in each element. During the meeting, the elements should guide the discussion with the Scout using their prepared materials to support their answers. Provided that they have properly prepared and have respected the purpose of the meeting and participants, a Scout cannot fail the process. The Reflection is a process to help them review the skills and experience they’ve gained while in the Scout section.

Control and Discipline, Conflict Resolution & Management
Can the Scout talk about a challenging situation where they had to deal with a conflict in their Patrol? How did they deal with it? What was the outcome? Would they do anything different?

Brain Storming, Problem Solving, Character Recognition & Self Confidence
Describe a moment in their Scouting life where they had to work with people of vastly different personalities and get them to work together on a common goal. What was so different about the members of the patrol? How did they need to adjust their leadership style to manage them?

Teamwork, Building a Team, Group Dynamics & Group Processes
How can the Scout demonstrate that they have been a valuable contributor to their Patrol or Troop Council? How have they developed Scouts in their Patrol to lead after the Scout has moved to Venturers? What are the qualities about their Assistant Patrol Leader that makes them a good leader?

Planning, Organisation, Camp Organisation & Goal Setting
Can the Scout provide evidence of consistent use of the Plan>Do>Review process in the planning and running of camps or major activities? Is the documentation of a standard that would help Scouts run similar activities in the future?  

Instruction Skills & Communication
Can the Scout provide a story about instructing a member of their Patrol in a skill they were unfamiliar in? Can the Scout discuss times when their communication style needs to be adjusted to better deliver a message?

Patrol/Troop Management, Duties of the Troop Council, Patrol System & Programming
Can the Scout discuss the purpose of the Patrol System? How and when do they describe the structure and functions of Patrols and the Troop Council to new Scouts? Can the Scout provide evidence of their contribution to the programming of the Troop’s calendar and Scout Nights?

No documentation is required from the Reflection. When the Scout is completing the Australian Scout Medallion Notification of Achievement form, the date the Reflection was conducted should be entered in the Leadership Course Date field.

Adventurer Level when Scouting @ Home

With isolation rules in place and Scout Troops being unable to meet in person for the foreseeable future, many Scouts are facing challenges completing Award Scheme tasks, especially those that you can’t do on your own.

Scout Council Victoria encourages Troop Councils to find innovative ways to continue Scouting @ Home. In many cases, it will mean an innovative or different approach to interpreting the requirements of a badge. We have the following temporary policy:

Scouts should be encouraged to make use of online tools such as messaging and video conferencing to manage their Scouting life, replace Scout Meetings, and provide a means to connect with each other. Until 31st December 2020, Troop Councils are given the discretion to make adjustments or relaxations to the requirements of the Award Scheme in order for a Scout to progress through the Pioneer, Explorer and Adventurer target badges at a rate of one level over 12-18 months.

The above policy will be reviewed in October 2020 and extended if necessary.

So, are you a Scout looking to complete your Adventurer level badges in 2020? Scout Council Victoria encourages you to continue striving to reach your goals! Don’t let the grass grow under your feet- there are innovative ways to complete the requirements of the Award Scheme that you can do at home. They just need some little adjustments, and when assessing your work, the Troop Council will take into account the constraints of isolation and video calls, and importantly that you have demonstrated an Adventurer Level of skill and knowledge. Here are some examples:

Citizenship:

  1. Values
    1. Promise and Law. Assist and test a Pioneer Scout in the completion of test 1 of Pioneer Citizenship. This can be completed as a nightly activity at your next online scout night video call.
    2. Spiritual development. Lead your Patrol in planning and participating in a Scouts’ Own at a Camp or other Troop Activity (such as World Scouts’ Day or a church service). Write a Scouts Own and lead your troop through it at the end of your online scout night.
  2. First Aid
    1. Complete a recognized First Aid Course (congratulations if you’ve done that!) OR
    2. Assist and test a Scout to pass the First Aid segment of the Pioneer Badge.
          1. Demonstrate how to deal with fractures to the limbs and collarbone. This can be done over a video call with your troop.
          2. With another Scout set up and run a ‘mock’ emergency to cover at least three of the tasks required in Pioneer and Explorer level and First Aid segment. Take a video of yourself running the exercise with a sibling or a parent- imagine the interesting mock emergencies you could come up with in the garage or shed! Present the video at your next online scout night.

As you can see, it’s about finding ways to demonstrate your knowledge without being there in person. And when you can’t be with other Scouts, use family members as fill-ins! Here are two tasks from Air Activities as additional examples:

Air Activities:

  1. Recognition
    1. Be able to recognize by sight 12 types of aircraft. This can be completed at your next online scout night video call. A member of your patrol could share their computer screen and show aircraft types while you name them. Be sure that everyone else is on mute- you don’t want anyone yelling out the answers!
  2. Activity
    1. Arrange to visit a Scout or Air Activity Centre and/or aerodrome, and find out:
      1. Who is responsible for the maintenance of airport services?
      2. What is the function of a control tower?
      3. What is the function of an Air Traffic Controller?
      4. What airlines/aircraft use the aerodrome?
        All of the above information can be researched and then collected into a presentation for your troop. If you’re able to and you know a pilot, have them assess your presentation for accuracy. You might also reach out to the Scout Air Activities team for help (their details can be found on the Scouts Victoria Website)
  1. Complete five of the tests from one of the following familiarization electives, or complete the aeromodelling task. Consider just completing the Aeromodelling task:
    Construct two models selected from the following classifications (use of kit permitted). The models shall have the minimum flight times listed below:
  2. Glider (hand launched) 17 seconds
  3. Glider (hand launched) aerobatics
  4. Rubber powered one minute
  5. Engine powered (maximum 15 seconds motor run) two minutes.
    Be sure to video your method for each of the above models and the results of your flight tests. Be imaginative and make it fun!

In the Air Activities example, we’ve adjusted the requirements slightly but still required a similar amount of effort to complete them- and the knowledge too. Your Troop Council has the discretion to approve any adjustments to the tasks– they are only asked to ensure that you prove you’ve gained knowledge or skills and you can pass that knowledge on to others. Construction might seem like the least likely badge you can achieve in isolation, but at Adventurer level it’s all about demonstrating knowledge and the ability to mentor others. Let’s have a look:

Construction:

  1. Knots and Structure
    1. Demonstrate the knots, splices and lashings in Adventurer Campcraft 1b. This can be done over a video call with your troop.
    2. Assist and test your Patrol or other Scouts to pass the knots and lashings required in a major project. Video yourself teaching a parent or sibling and present the video at your next online scout meeting.
    3. Demonstrate tensioning of ropes with and without pulleys, and rope ladder construction. Most of us don’t have pulleys at home or rope suitable for ladders. So, research these tasks online and present the methods to your troop at your online scout meeting.
  2. Organisation and Management Plan and lead your Patrol or other Scouts in the completion of two of the following major projects:
    1. Braced footbridge at least 3m long
    2. Monkey suspension bridge spanning at least 7m
    3. Camp table or similar complex piece of camping equipment
    4. Tower with a platform approximately 3m above the ground
    5. Ballista/catapult capable of propelling a projectile at least 10m
    6. Swing bridge suitable of safely carrying each Patrol member across a gap of at least 3m
    7. Another project of equivalent safety or difficulty approved by Troop Council.
      The purpose of this task is for you to demonstrate your ability to lead a patrol in the construction of a complicated structure that you can’t build on your own! In isolation, it’s going to be hard to do that in your backyard, so consider writing up the instructions on completing scale models of two of the above structures and then leading an activity at your online scout meetings where your troop or patrol build the structures with paper straws and rubber bands. The troop council can then assess your knowledge from your instructions, and your ability to lead by the guidance you give your patrol during the activity.

 

Are you getting the picture? It comes down to three things:

  • Be collaborative! Work with your Troop Council to adjust a task to something achievable in our current constraints.
  • Be realistic! Where a task is hard or impossible to do, think about what the task is trying to test, and how you might prove your skills or knowledge in another way.
  • Be imaginative! When you film a video, make it fun and creative. Who knows? Your leader might think it’s awesome and want to share it with Scouts Victoria!

 

 Scout Council Victoria April 2020

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