Selfies, Text Messages and Disability Access: The UK Scouts' Trendy New Badges

Selfies, Text Messages and Disability Access: The UK Scouts' Trendy New Badges

Britain’s Boy Scouts have launched a range of new badges aimed at being more in tune with the 21st Century. This new range will teach scouts skills such as posting images to the internet and assessing disability access to buildings.

A total of 17 badges are being introduced by the 104-year-old Scout Association, some of which seem far removed from the first go-getters who set up camp on Brownsea Island in 1910.

The “communicator” badge for Beavers (aged six to eight) will include sending emails and text messages; a photography badge – dubbed the “selfie badge” – will teach scouts how to upload photos to the internet “appropriately”; and a disability badge will require Cubs (aged seven to 11) to take part in activities such as drawing a picture with their feet and criticising the disability access at a local public building.

Even more traditional-sounding badges contain some very modern advice. Although Scouts are allowed to trap and kill animals for the survival skills badge, they must be “made aware of the law and issues surrounding inhumanity to animals outside of a real survival situation.”

Similarly, advice for the the Beavers’ cycling badge states: “Please remember that all those riding a bike must wear a cycle helmet except for Sikhs wearing a turban. This exception does not apply to a Sikh wearing a Top Knot.”

These are in stark contrast to the original badges, which focussed more on practical outdoor survival techniques. Founder Robert Baden-Powell taught young men skills such as setting up camp, building a fire, searching for food and navigating using a map and compass.

Now, these new badges will add to the existing list of modern-sounding badges already in existence. These include:

Arts Enthusiast (“Take an active interest in a particular art form or artist. For example, this could be painting, pop music, sculpture, theatre, architecture, break dancing or similar.”)

Circus Skills (“Observe at least two circus or street performers events and discuss these.”)

Global Conservation (“Get involved in a campaign to make others aware of an environmental issue.”)

Public Relations (“Find out about local media outlets (for example: radio, TV, newspapers and online opportunities.)”)

World Faiths (“Learn about the life of a founder or a prominent leader of a Faith (such as Prince Siddartha Gautama, Mohammed, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi or a saint such as St George)”)