Purchasing Interest and Advancement badges

We have all, I am sure, had a number of discussions over the past few years over the requirements to buy badges for groups.   Across the country we have some shops that have required badge certificates to be presented before badges could be bought while others had no such requirements.

In considering this question Exco has taken as the driving principle the need to simplify the work of the scouter.  Under the structure we also are attempting to give the Scouters and groups more independence and responsibility.  If we are to work on the basis that a Scout’s honour is to be Trusted, we need to demonstrate that, where reasonable, through our processes. To achieve this we have made a decision to remove the need for the badge certificate to be presented when buying a badge as a national requirement.  Going forward Pack, Troop Scouters, SGL’s and Parents will be able to buy badges without requiring the badge certificate with them at the time of purchase.  This will obviously not apply to the Leaping Wolf, Springbok Award, and Scout Challenge awards which will still require the certificate and in the future this will be able to be validated via the database system.  This requirement is being retained for these awards as a check for the region on standards for these awards.  It goes without saying that we will also expect that the Regions will be monitoring the groups through their assessment of youth members when they apply for these “top awards”.

We believe this will deliver four benefits to our members:

  1. Living our stated ethos of trust of our members
  2. Making life simpler for the scouters.
  3. Delivering a stock to the scouters to allow faster recognition of youth achievements
  4. Enabling scouting in those regions where for either travel or logistic reasons travel to the current scout shop on a more regular basis is not possible.

We understand that this potentially opens a loop hole for the Scouters to “willy nilly” award badges, or parents to purchase unearned badges, but this can be monitored by tracking sales to specific Groups and where concerns arise the Troops or Packs can be reviewed by the programme support teams/ADC’s.  We have trialled this in the Western Cape and it appears to be bearing fruit and helping the Scouters without any negative issues.

Yours in Scouting

Dr Brendon Hausberger
Chief Commissioner
SCOUTS South Africa