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Cubs, Scouts & Beavers- Confused.Com

(17 Posts)
Minimimimi Thu 24-Nov-16 13:36:39

Hi Fellow mums netters,

Im looking to sign up cubs for my DS who is aged 5, however am a little confused on what it involves, how it differs to scouts and beavers. (Is there a lot of compulsory camping involved?)

My DD is 3, is it better to sign her up for rainbows?

Thank you very much in advance for any feedback.

DEMum101 Thu 24-Nov-16 13:41:16

Hi Minimi, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts are all different sections of the overall Scouting organisation. Beavers are for children aged 6 to 8, Cubs for children aged 8 to 11 (I think) and then Scouts for those aged 11 to 14. There are then Explorers for those aged 14 to 18.

So you should probably get your DS on a waiting list for a Beavers group now but he won't be able to join until he is 6 (or possibly just before if there is room).

Rainbows is part of the Girl Guide organisation and is for girls from 5 to 7 so your DD still has a couple of years but, again, sometimes groups can be popular so it might be worth asking if there is a waiting list for the one you would like her to join.

Girls can join the Scouting organisation at all age groups too, so if you think she would suit Beavers, she will be able to join at 6 and can be a member of both if she wants.

dinkystinky Thu 24-Nov-16 13:42:33

Beavers are aged 6 - 8 (or just before), cubs for kids 8 - 11 and scouts for 11+ as above. Definitely agree with getting your son on a waiting list for a local group.

DEMum101 Thu 24-Nov-16 13:43:15

Oh and none of the groups involve compulsory camping, although there is usually some voluntary camping involved, increasing amounts as you go up the age groups.

The Beavers group my DD attends has an indoor sleepover once a year and a family camp where parents camp with their child. Once you reach Cub age, the children camp with the leaders with (as far as I know) no parental involvement.

EleanorRigby123 Thu 24-Nov-16 13:43:50

At 5 you have to join Beavers or Rainbows. Cubs kicks in at 7/8 and scouts at 10/11. Beavers and Cubs are open to girls and most packs have a good number of girls. I think Rainbows is open to boys but no direct experience as my DD did Beavers and Cubs with her brothers. Choice probably depends on your DDs preferences and logistics - which night, are there other DC to factor in, can you lift share with another child.

ShowMeTheElf Thu 24-Nov-16 13:46:26

Girlguiding (Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Senior Section) is a girls-only space. Scouting (Beavers, Cubs, Scouts etc) is mixed.
Both are run by volunteers and waiting lists tend to be long.

ElfOnMyShelf Thu 24-Nov-16 13:49:09

Camping isn't compulsory- nothing is. At beavers it tends to be one night of camp. They will do something like a camp in the hut, think sleeping bags, games, film, pizza, hot chocolate. Sleep. Bacon sandwich and home. So 14ish hours.
A camp in the summer in tents. Which by the time they've pitched the tent and sung a few songs it's bed time!
They also do occasional sleep overs in museums / national trust properties and that sort of place.
At the beavers my youngest goes to there's more girls than boys. They've done some fantastic stuff and trips.
Cubs they step it up a bit with two nights camp in the summer.
Scouts is your weekend in Wales hiking type. But that's normally the older ones that go.

Speak to some leaders and see, some packs are better than others.

chunkymum1 Thu 24-Nov-16 13:52:36

Assuming you're in the UK- Beavers, Cubs and Scouts are all part of the UK Scouting network. Beavers is for children aged 6-8, cubs 8-11 (I think) and Scouts 11-14 (might be a bit out with the ages for cubs and scouts). They do similar types of activities but in an age appropriate way. So Beavers may have the odd camp night (or may just go to camp for the day), cubs will do a bit more and scouts will be expected to go to camp and take much more responsibility for cooking, putting up tents etc.

As well as camping related activities, they all do lots of other stuff but exactly what will depend on the area and the leaders. My DS's Beavers do lots of countryside activities (short walks, nature trails etc) as we live rurally but they also do lots of crafts and have done some small science activities etc. Friends' DSs in the scouts do a lot of outdoors stuff (again I think because we are in a rural area) but longer hikes and learning to build camp fires etc- they also do music, craft etc when the weather is bad.

For girls, Rainbows starts at age 5 (ie a year younger than Beavers) and in my experience they tend to do a lot more craft stuff (but again, I'm sure it depends a lot of the leaders' skills and interests as well as the interests of the children). Girls can also join beavers, cubs and scouts but boys can't join Rainbows, brownies or guides.

I'd say the choice of which to join depends on what sort of thing your DD likes to do. If I were you I'd contact one or 2 groups and ask if they could send you an example of a programme of activities (DS's Beavers has a programme for each term which they sent me before he joined) or speak to parents. Also different groups can be very different so it's worth asking other parents if you can so you choose a group with activities etc that would suit your child.

If you have a son and daughter one thing to bear in mind is that if they are in the same group then it might be easier for drop offs etc and for getting them to other activities. But on the other hand might they prefer to each have their own 'thing' (or would there be a benefit from them having each other as support).

Hope that's of some help.

HeadDreamer Thu 24-Nov-16 13:53:30

For girl guides, you sign up to be on a waiting list via their websites. You choose which day and time you want to be considered. You get to pick up to 2-3 units I believe. The waiting list is very long so signing at 3 would be a very good idea. DD1 is in rainbows and she loves it. There isn't any camping yet. But they have done softplay party, teddy bear picnic, and a bonfire meeting for guy fawkes. DD1 is very girly so she won't consider scouting at all. She likes all the crafty things they do in rainbows. I think what suits your DD will depend on temperament.

HeadDreamer Thu 24-Nov-16 13:59:14

Just saw chunkymum1's post. Rainbows do have outdoor activities as well. But I agree it depends on where you are located and also what the leader's interests are. DD1 has been in rainbows for two terms. They have one outing each term so far. We are more urban than chunkymum. The first outing was a trip on the train to the closest town city, icecream and then playground. The second one was a walk through the nature reserve, to the playground and back. I have no experience with scouts so I dont' know how this is compare to beavers.

Abzs Thu 24-Nov-16 14:06:05

Your children would go to Beavers first, at age 6. Then on to Cubs at age 8.

As far as I'm aware (newish Cub leader) most Beaver colonies do not camp, but do have sleepovers in their meeting place or another suitable building. Our cub pack camp two weekends a year in spring and summer.

Whether Rainbows would suit your daughter better depends on the Scout and Guide groups available local to you - what they offer their young people, what the leaders are like, where your child's friends go, what time and day the meetings are etc.

BiddyPop Thu 24-Nov-16 14:11:27

Scouting works:
Beavers - Cubs - Scouts - Venturers - Rovers

Girl Guiding works:
Rainbows - Brownies - Guides - Rangers - (Possibly a young adult section but the name escapes me)

Our Cub troupe has 2 single night hostelling trips per year, and 1 camping trip for 2 nights before schools break up. None of those are compulsory, and parents who do the required training/vetting can come if they want (but realistically its just leaders mostly). Lots of parents come on the hikes, geocaching, or other outdoor activities, and some help with boating activities or other sessions in the Den during the year where they have suitable skills. (We are a Seascout Group - so everything that Scouts do, and a lot of "messing about with boats" as well).

In Scouts, they do some hostel trips, and some overnight boat trips, and I think they have 3 camping trips per year: Easter (2 nights), Summer (10 nights) and Halloween (2 nights). Again, leaders go, but there are more parents involved on summer camp as 10 days is long for volunteer leaders and there are adult:child ratios that need to be maintained for safety of all.

Our troupe has 2 mixed (boys and girls) Cub packs, but then the 2 Scout packs are single sex and also cover both Scout and Venture ages (so boys from our Cubs will go into the Boys Scout section from 11-18 years along with boys from the other Cub pack, and the girls from each will go to the Girls Scout pack). Part of the reason to combine Scouts and Venturers is that the boating needs certain numbers, and also the older ones take on a huge role in organizing events etc and are a great set of kids for the younger ones to look up to and also to support those younger ones in their development as young people.

I think Scouting is great (I was a Guide growing up, and was involved through University with a young adults group, and am back as a Leader again for the past couple of years). It has been proven, academically, to support young people's esteem and development, and to have positive impacts on mental health in later years (a recent study looked at the mental health of people in their 50s and the impact of being in the Scouting movement or not on that). It's about camping and campfires and hiking and adventure -yes. But it's also about "Plan-Do-Review", being organized, learning life skills, learning interpersonal skills, learning to be part of a team and to lead a team, and about differences between people. Lots of things that are nothing to do with adventure and wilderness, but are sooooo useful in later life.

I've been involved with interviewing graduates quite a few times over the years, and there are many of the best interviewees who have been scouts/guides, and who have used examples from that or demonstrate those interpersonal skills transferable to the workplace, who have impressed with being "rounded individuals" - and lots of those were not the adventure things, but being able to present things to a group, or negotiating skills (deciding on camp menus among teenagers!), or budgeting (camp menus! and shopping for them), or representing their group at Scout County or Regional forums, not just in their own groups - so dealing with adults who are willing to listen to them as having an equal right to be there.

Sorry, I love the Scouting movement for so many reasons. (Including the Guide Law #8 of the 10: "A Guide Smiles and Sings under All Difficulties" grin ).

Minimimimi Thu 24-Nov-16 14:19:51

Thank you very much to all your comments. Its starting to make more sense now and Im on speed dial to put them on waiting list.

How do people decide on which beavers to go for? Is it mostly from word of mouth in terms of which ones are better?

Thank you!

whojamaflip Thu 24-Nov-16 14:19:56

Scout leader here with DC in all 4 sections!grin

As pp say camping is not compulsory but it does count towards the Chief Scouts Award in each section - beavers need to do at least 1 sleepover, Cubs 3 nights away and scouts at least 8.

Programs between scout groups will vary in how they deliver the badge requirements for the various activity and challenge badges the young people can do but ultimately the aim is for each young person to gain their chief scouts award (highest award in each section) before moving up to the next section.

Both my dds tried rainbows and brownies before joining scouting and both prefer scouting.

Have a look at - has loads of info on how scouting works, with age groups and badge requirements to give you a better idea of some of the things the young people do.

We always encourage any newbies to come along to a few meetings to get a feel for the dynamics and whether it's something they would enjoy and are always happy for parents to stay with their DC if they want to. Most of our leaders have joined up because they enjoyed it! It's how I started when my eldest became a beaver and he's now an Explorer! wink

The one thing I would advise is to put your dcs names on the waiting list to join which then gives you the option when a place comes up - in our troop the waiting list is huge for each section and unfortunately not all kids get the chance of a place - we are in the process of trying to open new sections but need to recruit adults first!

BiddyPop Thu 24-Nov-16 14:24:25

Our group this year has done things like a professional art class, a design-a-thon (using recycled materials to make prototypes of machines to deal with a problem caused by waste/climate change), geocaching, "pet day" (an annual favourite), emergencies, backwoods cooking, biodiversity, watched a movie, gone to the local ice cream parlour, worked on badges for camping, hiking and safety, etc. And lots of boating....and more camping than usual as we are 50 years old this year. (God this is outing me IRL!)

We've also played a lot of games, sang a lot of songs, climbed a few mountains, dealt with a few thumbs cut on penknives, overseen lots of football, listened to hundreds of jokes and funny stories, done loads of colouring in, mopped up plenty of wet floors (between rainy days and boating days), seen lots of quiet children run around and start to answer back (which we LOVE to see as they come out of their shells), while slightly squashing a few being too boisterous or overenthusiastically roughhousing, got ideas for things they want to do, got different groups to work together on different projects (some as patrols, some as different groups).

And that is just the 8-11 year olds.

It really is not just about outdoor adventures!

chunkymum1 Thu 24-Nov-16 17:41:44

Minimimimi- re deciding which Beavers to go for- round here the various groups all offer slightly different activities, have a different number of children and have a slightly different 'feel'. If you know people with children in different groups I'd ask them what sort of thing they get up to etc and then choose one that you think suits your child.

smellyboot Thu 01-Dec-16 23:08:32

Near us there is one Beaver group that boast they are the best but it's bananas. Another is very formal and insists on full uniform incl trousers etc
Ours is in a less 'desirable' area ( think same for schools) but it's been amazing. Tons of really exciting stuff, loads of outdoor stuff, loads of badges etc It's 40% girls. They camp from age 6 at a local scout camp site etc. some of my mates sent DDs to Beavers to expose girly girls to other stuff. Our local rainbows are generally more crafty etc

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