Frequently Asked Questions
You hopefully all remember this bit—which is on the registration form you filled in when your child joined us—
“ Due to the accommodation arrangements and provision of facilities at some camp sites, or gender ratios of participants, it may be necessary for boys and girls to share tents / dormitories for reasons of practicality and/or safety. Where this option is required, young people will always have access to private washing and changing areas. Any concerns on this matter should be addressed with the section leader prior to the event.”.
In effect what this usually means is we, for example, may place two girls in one “room”of a tent and two boys in the other.
- There is first aid and catering provision.
- There is a minimum ratio for children to adults at such events, and all those sleeping overnight have full scouting DBS clearance.
- The person responsible for the event must hold a valid Nights Away Permit.
- We follow the Policy, Organisation and Rules (POR) of the Scout Association in all that we do.
- We do not plan anything we are not happy for our own children to do.
Below is a web version of the Beaver Newbie Nights Away document created by Badger, there is also a Cubs version Cubs Newbie Nights Away the FAQ's in the documents will become their own FAQ's. Local variations may derive from this, but it's a good starter for 10
We are very aware that for some this will be their first ever time camping, or camping as part of anything other than a Family Camp through scouting. Here’s some really basic information we thought we’d share with apprehensive Beavers and nervous parents alike! Whilst aimed at those new to nights away with scouting it might help a few more experienced campers too.
- If your child has not yet slept anywhere except with family then why not have some fun at “practice” events with fellow Scouters? One weekend at your home and another at theirs....
- For those booked to attend (and who have never camped before) maybe see if you can fit a practice in, any back garden is ideal!!
- Often Groups offer an indoor introduction before the outdoor events start.
- Unless otherwise stated it’s traditional that all members (adult and child) arrive and depart in uniform.
- Please, please, please,please resist the temptation to pack their bags for them! Believe it or not even at 6 years old most boys and girls are quite good at getting things together, even if they aren’t the neatest packers in the world. In letting them pack it helps them remember where things are when looking for them, and at the end of camp they will be expected to pack their own things anyway! Nothing to stop you checking it once they are asleep of course...
- All equipment and clothing must be clearly marked with the owner’s name, and we take no responsibility for loss or damage of any personal property.
- Electronic games, phones, radios, mp3 players etc are all banned items and not really needed (in Cubs and Scouts too) unless otherwise stated ~ the only thing they should bring with batteries is their torch!
- We do normally carry on in the rain, all be it with an amended programme, so please make sure footwear / clothing is appropriate if the forecast is soggy. When we say waterproof please note that’s what we mean—not “can cope with a shower on the walk to school” proof 🙂
- Suitable sleeping bags need to be provided. Please note that it is highly unlikely that the ones sold in supermarkets with characters on will be of sufficient warmth. If camping Sept -June then a 3 season, with a 2 season minimum for summer.
- Exact kit required will vary from camp to camp but please see the generic list at the end.
All About Tents
- Before bed time we do get them all to clean their teeth and pop to the toilet.
- Lights out varies from camp to camp, but we always make sure they know what time they have to be in their beds by, and what time they then have to be quiet by.
- Out of courtesy to other campers (especially the leaders) and any neighbouring residential properties we also explain what time they have to remain quite until, and what time they can leave their tents / get up. Some sites have specific rules covering this.
- If they need to go to the toilet during the night that’s fine (but a reason why they need to sleep with their torch close to hand). They don’t need to ask permission but are simply expected to try hard not to wake the others, and to make sure they do their tent up properly when leaving / getting back in (especially when it’s raining). Sometimes they will be going into a building and sometimes using toilet tents—but we always ensure they know.
- When pitching tents we arrange them so that the Beavers know exactly where the adults are, so that if they need to wake us during the night they can (although some of us don’t sleep much anyway).
- Leaders are normally up after / before the children so check all is ok before going to bed /on getting up. If an adult gets up during the night we do the same sort of walk round to check. We do not stay up all night (although sometimes it can feel like it!).
- Respect for fellow campers is important. For example we do not walk through other people’s camping areas, we do not go into other people’s tents and we do not wake people up early by running round outside when we should at least be quiet if not asleep.
- Everyone is responsible for clearing up after themselves, from washing their own kit up after a meal to clearing up something they drop or spill.
- We always operate a “leave no trace” policy—the site should be left exactly as it was found. Any items moved (natural or man-made) should be returned to where they came from, all rubbish should be disposed of correctly.
- When catering for large numbers we do not factor in “likes” and “dislikes” (only food intolerance and allergies) as to do so would be impractical (we’re sure many of us also know that when on camp it’s amazing what young people will eat when they are hungry and away from parents...). Rest assured there will be something they will eat!
- If you do get a call from us during a Nights Away event please do not panic! Quite often it can be something as simple as your son or daughter can’t find something, and not because of any issue requiring them to be collected.
- Please do not contact any of the adults taking part during the event unless there is an emergency, such as a sudden medical problem with a close family member which means you will need to collect them, or “pop in” outside the times stated for the event. Both of these can distract the adults present from the children in their care.
And a final few words.......
- We give you advance warning now that they will probably come home tired, grubby and may say very little until they have had a good sleep. The question “What did you get up to?” will probably only be answered with the word “Stuff” for at least 24 hours........
- A large number of adults taking part have children, so please believe us when we say that we will care for your child like our own, we know it’s often the parents who worry whilst the boys and girls have an absolute blast!
"For events (hikes/ nights away) do explorer aged young leaders count in ratios (do they help/ hinder/ be neutral) I understand the ratio for you risk assessment is up to you but I mean for the TSA official minimum ratios."
" YLs do NOT count in overall ratios for these type of events, they are zero rated. However if they are attending as Exploders then they DO count, minimum 2 adults or none, dependent on activity."
It is not uncommon for Beavers to spend their first night away from a close family member at a Sleepover, let alone CAMPING! So the challenge is: How do Leaders give parents confidence? One answer is to hold a Parent’s Evening. During the fast 15-20 minute meeting I would suggest you cover the following topics:
- - Venue [Location, key features and why the location was chosen]
- - Activities [What exciting things will the Beavers do. How will plans be adopted according to changes in weather]
- - Sleeping arrangements [boys & girls together(?), changing areas)
- - Arrival & Pick-up time / process [Importance of pealing Parents / Carers from sides of Beavers (into their first activity), deal with any paperwork before they leave]
- - Kit List [Everything to be labelled., Beavers should be encouraged to pack, don’t need new items, ask if you don’t have a …..]
- - Experience of the team [No events, Nights, Qualification, Years]
- - Required Help [Gives Parents / Carers the opportunity to see what is going on as there is nothing to hide]
- - Medicine / Allergies [Current prescription in packets, form for does and recording administration, specific allergy issues will be addressed]
- - Bed Wetting [Talk about how mats / pull-up will be discretely used, what happens if someone wets their bed]
- - Risk assessments [Everything considered and mitigated e.g. ….]
- - In-Touch Process [We will always let you know if there is an issue. Please send a text if you need to but accept if everything is OK we may not get a chance to respond]
- - Questions - Beavers [Always first]
- Questions - Parents [No question is too silly]
- - Question previous event Beaver Parents if you have missed anything [They will often address some of the issues raised for you]
- - Final Comments [You will be happy to answer any further questions that come up]
I like to use a menu sheet [List things the Beaver likes and dislikes] to act as an ‘ice breaker’ when parents arrive. Try to avoid agreeing to a specific menu. During the meeting try a little humour e.g Remember to bring your tissues as the Beaver will be too excited to get you one. Hopefully if you have covered all the above items there will be no opportunity for a parent / carer to remain concerned.
If a Parent is still not happy, suggest their Beaver attends the next event. However, peer pressure can on occasions be persuasive. Whilst not all unhappy parents are difficult, it is after all optional for the Beaver to attend. Give it your best shot and you may be surprised at the success rate you have.
#Damboree #BeaversinTents #BeaversareScouts_ScoutsCamp #SkillsforLifeStartsWithBeavers
To gain your permit doesn't require you to put on your Super Hero Beaver costume and organise everything. Some leaders may claim that when they qualified for their Nights Away (NA) Permit they had to do everything (at the one camp), but that's not a requirement of the NA Scheme. You are allowed to delegate / outsource activities to other leaders / parents, as long as you can talk to the specific activities and risks that the teams covered e.g. Catering: Menu, allergies, Risks, timings, equipment. As Leader-In-Charge are you bringing everything together which needs to be covered?
Quoting Scout Association regarding a Nights Away permit, "It shows that all those leading nights away events for young people within Scouting have the skills, experience and personal suitability to take young people away safely." To gain a permit you will be assessed in four areas:
1. Technical Competence
2. Knowledge of Scout Association Rules for Nights Away
3. Child Protection
4. Personal Suitability
Use the Assessment Checklist for a Nights Away Permit (AC120990) and think about where your 'prior experience' can be used to support your application. Think about pulling together an evidence file with example documentation, photographs etc. For your assessment camp think about:
- Event Program (Youth and Leader Timetables) inc. wet weather options
- Roles & Responsibilities (Individuals / teams)
- Communication with Adults / Youth
- Youth Involvement
- Beaver Welfare
- Equipment & Food Lists
- Meal Plan(s) and catering arrangements
- Risk Assessments & First Aid arrangements
- Lessons Learnt and Youth Feedback
Do not expect everything at the camp to go perfectly, especially if it's the first time you have been the Leader-in-charge. Being a Super Human is not a permit requirements. Most of the hard work is done on the lead up to the event. Everyone adapts the program as things change e.g. an event over-runs because everyone is having so much fun. For us the key assessment requirement is how you bring everything together e.g. the Glue.
For more details about the NA Permit scheme visit: http://members.scouts.org.uk/nightsawaypermits
Complete 5 OPTIONS & all of the ESSENTIALS section
- [ ] Help put up a tent
- [ ] Build and light a fire
- [ ] Learn how to tie three simple knots
- [ ] Cook over a fire (Eg twists or s’mores)
- [ ] Learn a new campfire song and perform it
- [ ] Set up your bed and sleeping bag
- [ ] Find out how Beavers live in the wild
- [ ] Invite one of the Damboree ASU or Beaver ACC or County Nights Away Advisers to your event
- [ ] Draw picture of the original Beaver uniform and name 3 differences
- [ ] Take part in a brand new adventurous activity with your Colony
ESSENTIALS - Do ALL of these
- Camp outside in tents with your colony for at least one night
- Spell out Damboree in natural materials
- Post pictures, or it didn’t happen, to Facebook using
Complete 5 OPTIONS & all of the ESSENTIALS section.
- [ ] Help to pitch and strike your tent
- [ ] Cook a Backwoods meal with your tent buddies
- [ ] Show you know what things you need to do to look after your campsite and kit
- [ ] Make, name and look after an imaginary camp pet...
- [ ] Build a shelter/bivvy for two, and sleep in it for at least one night of your camp
- [ ] Make a useful Camp Gadget
- [ ] Erect and use a weather stone to give local weather forecast.
- [ ] Make a woggle out of something you have on camp. Could be wood or cord. Using knife skills or knots.
- [ ] Invite one of the Damboree ASU or your ACC Cubs or County Nights Away Advisers to your event
- [ ] Perform a Campfire skit or teach a new song
Essentials - do ALL of these
- [ ] 2 or 3 nights Cubs sleeping outside
- [ ] Spell out Damboree in Camp Items
- [ ] Post pictures, or it didn’t happen, to Facebook using #DamboreeCubs #Cubsintents
Yes. There will be.
County Commissioner Occasional Badge Denials:
County Commissioner Occasional Badge Approvals:
British Scouting Overseas - Worldwide Approval
Greater London Middlesex West
Hereford & Worcester
To begin the process, the Leader wanting a permit fills out the application form and emails/mails/ gives the form to the Nights Away Advisor.
This will include any and all information regarding the persons background and experience as well as what type of permit they are applying for.
The application is acknowledged by the NAA, who will make contact to discuss the persons experience, knowledge and abilities, and together formulate a plan to work through the assessment.
It is mildly irrelevant as to how much camping they have done, it is about the persons current ability to plan, organise and run a camp in accordance with the Scout Association rules.
THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT TO HAVE RUN A MINIMUM NUMBER OF CAMPS BEFORE YOU CAN BE ASSESSED.
THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT TO HAVE YOUR WOOD BADGE BEFORE BEING ISSUED A PERMIT
THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT FOR COMPULSORY TRAINING BEFORE BEING ASSESSED. IT IS NOT MANDATORY TO ATTEND MODULE 16 or MODULE 38 BEFORE RUNNING YOUR CAMPS*
However, they are incredibly useful sources of information for Leaders. More information can be found https://members.scouts.org.uk/FS120800
The NAA should then assess the person against the assessment form AC120990 :
The assessment will probably be a minimum of three parts:
- An initial meeting to go through the form and tick off any parts they can;
- a camp,
- then a final meeting.
There may be a practical assessment against some of the equipment. This will be up to the NAA.
Then there will USUALLY be a mutually convenient camp organised for the applicant to demonstrate their ability to actually plan and run an event, although this is under the watchful eye of a current NAP holder, just to ensure no major mishaps.
After this camp, the applicant will prepare the financial paperwork, meet up with the NAA and discuss how the camp went, sort out any minor issues and finalise the application.
The NAA will then recommend a permit on Compass and the DC will then issue once they are satisfied all is in order.
The AC120990 paperwork remains with the applicant to pass to the DC for final sign off, although now the permit is approved through Compass.
The key is open and clear communication both ways.
Complete 1 of the below:
- [ ] Mentor another leader through the Permit process
- [ ] Organise a Damboree camping event for your Colony, Pack or Group
- [ ] Take an active role in a larger District or County Damboree Event
- [ ] Be a non-Uniformed or Parent Helper on a Damboree Event
- [ ] Be a Young Leader on a Damboree Event
- [ ] Be a Uniformed Helper on a Damboree Event
Complete 1 of the below:
- [ ] Succeed in achieving your first Campsite Nights Away Permit as part of a Damboree event
- [ ] Answer the Nights Away Advisers call and assess a Beaver or Cub leader for their Campsite Permit as part of your validation
It is not expected that you would get a permit, and become an Nights Away Adviser in the same Damboree cycle.