Welcome to 1st St Neots!
This guide has been prepared specifically for those who are parents of Squirrels, Beavers, Cubs or Scouts. It should answer any questions you may have about what it means to be a member of 1st St Neots. If you have a question which isn’t answered here, please get in touch with your child’s section leader.
For simplicity we use to the term ‘parent’ throughout, which refers to parents, guardians or carers.
About 1st St Neots
What is 1st St Neots Scout Group?
1st St Neots is one of 12 Scout Groups and 4 Explorer Scout Units in the Hinchingbrooke District of Cambridgeshire Scouts. We are one of the oldest Scout groups in existence, having been founded in 1910; just three years after the founding of scouting in 1907.
The Group is led by the Lead Volunteer (LV) with the help of the Group Trustee Board, which is elected by the parents at the Annual General Meeting, and our Section Leaders who deliver our programme to our Squirrels, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.
We are part of The Scouts, the largest Scouting and mixed youth organisation in the UK. Scouting is fully inclusive (for young people and adults) and is open to all genders, sexual orientations, disabilities, religions, and races.
1st St Neots currently has seven sections:
- Squirrels (4-6 years old) meet on Thursday evenings 5.15-6.15pm
- Nichols Beavers (6-8 years old) meet on Monday evenings 6.00-7.00pm
- Cator Beavers (6-8 years old) meet on Tuesday evenings 5.45-6.45pm
- Thornhill Cubs (8-10.5 years old meet on Wednesday evenings 6.30-8.00pm
- Harvey Cubs (8-10.5 years old) meet on Thursday evenings 7.00-8.30pm
- Hodgson Scouts (10.5-14 years old) meet on Monday evenings 7.15-9.00pm
- Rowley Scouts (10.5-14 years old) meet on Tuesday evenings 7.00-9.00pm
Fun fact – each of our sections are named after benefactors of the Group when we first started in 1910!
Who runs 1st St Neots?
The Group is very luck to have a willing and enthusiastic team of volunteers that deliver Scouting directly to our young people, offering support when they can, and providing the governance in the background.
Our Volunteers come under different categories and all support 1st St Neots immensely. These are:
Section Team Volunteers
The volunteers you will come into contact the most. These are those who are running the weekly meetings, planning the programme each term, running extra camps and events, and managing all the administration required.
All our Leaders and Assistants are DBS checked, complete a dedicated training programme, refresh safety and safeguarding training regularly, and complete first response training. Most Leaders go beyond this mandatory training to provide more to our young people such are adventurous activity permits (air rifles, climbing, water activities, archery, etc.) and nights away permits (to take young people on residential experiences).
Please support your child’s Section Leaders as much as possible.
Young Leaders are essentially the same as above but they are aged between 14-18 years old. They are often young people who have been through Scouting and want to give something back (and stay for more fun!) or volunteering for their Duke of Edinburgh awards.
They are incredible assets who provide a valuable link between our Adults to our Squirrels, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.
Often, Parents offer to assist within the Group but don’t have time to become a Volunteer. This could be anything from provide a bit of admin assistance to delivering a particular skill you have to share with our young people.
If you think you can help, have a chat with your child’s Section Leader.
The Group has an Trustee Board, which is made up of a number of Trustees who ensure the Group is provided with everything it needs. From ensuring there is enough volunteers and managing recruitment drives to buying the equipment each section needs to operate, the Trustee Board makes sure there is the money and resources to make it happen.
Amongst our Trustees, we have a number of Parent Representatives. These make sure the views of young people and their Parents are represented.
It’s really important to note that all our Volunteers give up their evenings, weekends, work annual leave, and any other part of the day completely for free. They do it because they know the importance and impact Scouting has on young people.
What is Scouting?
Each week, more than 400,000 young people attend Squirrel, Beaver, Cub, Scout or Explorer meetings across the UK. Scouting is one of the great ‘brands’ of our age – familiar and trusted in households throughout the country.
This is an incredible achievement for an organisation run by volunteers in their spare time. Scouting has been able to adapt and change throughout its history so that it retains a relevance to the needs and aspirations of young people. It does this without losing sight of its core values of integrity, respect, care, belief, and cooperation, enshrined in the Scout Law and Scout Promise. Scouting’s appeal also has a very real resonance with more than 100,000 adults who actively support us across the country on a regular basis.
Through the adventure of Scouting, young people get to take risks in a safe environment. Our programme provides young people with the opportunities to learn new skills such as camp cooking and photography. Rock climbing, potholing, computer science, geocaching, local and national citizenship, team challenges, personal growth and international experiences are just some of the things they also get up to. We encourage our young people to feel the buzz of the challenge and then reflect on what that means.
Being a Member of 1st St Neots
The Programme and How We Deliver
The programme is a seamless progression of adventurous, creative and community activities. It aims to help young people grow in a number of personal development areas. The idea is that they learn by doing rather than just being told what to do.
Chief Scout Awards
We structure our programmes around badges covering many various activities and skills. Each section has a Top Award, called the Chief Scout Award which is the highest award available and each young people aims to achieve these by completing a number of Challenge, Activity and Staged badges.
Each section has their own Chief Scout Award which increases in challenge:
- Squirrels – Chief Scout Acorn Award
- Beavers – Chief Scout Bronze Award
- Cubs – Chief Scout Silver Award
- Scouts – Chief Scout Gold Award
- Explorers – Chief Scout Platinum and Diamond Awards
Challenge, Activity and Staged Badges
The Chief Scout Award is achieved by completing a number of different Challenge, Activity and Staged badges in each section. More information on these badges is available here:
For Young People, we expect:
- Full and active participation in our weekly meetings, extra events and camps. All of this put together, is how you’ll get the most out of Scouting
- Provide their involvement in decision making. This is mainly done by sharing ideas on what we do in Scouting during regular youth forums
- Behave appropriately. Scouting is youth led, supported by adults which works best when young people behave according to their section’s code of conduct. By attending Scouting activities, young people and their parents agree to behave positively, otherwise we may have to limit attendance to extra events, or in extreme circumstances, remove them from our Group.
For Parents, we expect:
- Support your child in attending regularly, including extra events and camps
- Let Leaders know when they won’t be attending (via OSM)
- Maintain their records so we can keep your child safe
- Ensure your child wears their uniform and necker to meetings
- Pay for your child’s subscriptions and events promptly
- Attend our AGM, that happens once a year
- Support the Group with your time where possible. This could be demonstrating a skill with one of our section, do some DIY at our Scout Hall, or become a parent representative.
It is important to note that all of our Leaders and Supporters are volunteers, giving up their time for free to support Scouting in St Neots. We have a zero tolerance on verbal, written and physical abuse to any member (young people and adults) of our Group. If this occurs, the Lead Volunteer may decide to remove you and your child from our Group.
Scouting is a uniformed organisation, and you’ll need to provide this for your child. Beavers wear a blue jumper; Cubs wear a green jumper; and Scouts wear a green shirt. This uniform is used to proudly display the badges and awards they’ve achieved. All members of our Group wear a blue and green necker, showing them as part of our Group.
More information on each section’s uniform and badge locations can be found here:
Uniform can be purchased here.
Like most youth groups, we use photographs, videos and audio recordings to inform parents of what we do. Most images are shared on our section’s private Facebook groups and occasionally to promote 1st St Neots in the press and on social media. This is incredibly important in building the reputation of our Group in highlighting the great work we do, finding more volunteers and finding more supporters.
No individual is ever named in any images used and shared publicly without explicit permission from parents.
By having your child as a member of our Group, you agree to this otherwise if there is a legal restriction that means your child cannot have photos published publicly or you wish to opt-out, you must inform a leader in the first instance.
Attendance at Weekly Meetings
We expect all young people to have full and active participation in our weekly meetings, extra events, and camps. All of this put together is how you’ll get the most out of Scouting.
Our Leaders maintain a attendance register every week in OSM. This is so we can record badge work achieved and progress within the section.
Should your child miss two consecutive meetings with no notice provided, we will contact you to find out why. If they miss another meeting with no good reason given, our Lead Volunteer has the authority to remove them from the Group releasing their place to someone else on the waiting list.
Attendance at Camps
Our sections run camps throughout the year, the number of nights away generally increases through the sections (e.g., Beavers may spend a weekend or two away whereas Scouts are closer to 12 nights away).
These camps are an integral part of the programme we deliver and the Scouting experience, with the Chief Scout Award and some Challenge badges only available if you attend some of these camps.
Offering an invitation to young people is at the discretion of our Section Leaders, and they may not offer your child the opportunity if their weekly attendance is poor.
Attendance at Remembrance Day
Once a year, our Group attends the town’s Remembrance Parade and Service which holds significant importance to Scouting. We remember all that lost their lives including many Scouts, some of which were from our own Group.
We expect that all young people attend this event in full uniform, behaving appropriately and proudly representing our Group.
Each section sets its own code of conduct but as a minimum, we expect everyone to follow the Scout Law which is:
- A Scout is to be trusted.
- A Scout is loyal.
- A Scout is friendly and considerate.
- A Scout belongs to the world-wide family of Scouts.
- A Scout has courage in all difficulties.
- A Scout makes good use of time and is careful of possessions and property.
- A Scout has self-respect and respect for others.
Scouts who constantly show disregard for this behaviour code or the code of conduct in each section may be asked to take time away from the Group to reflect and in extreme cases, they may be removed from the Group.
Becoming a Member of 1st St Neots
How can my child join 1st St Neots?
When you decide on joining our Group, you can join our waiting list by clicking here. Once you submit the form, you’ll automatically be added to our waiting list managed by our Group Administrator.
Scouting is very popular, and spaces don’t come available often. The main route into our Group is by joining as a Squirrel or Beaver and continuing through the sections.
Once a space becomes available, they will be filled in an order based on our Admissions Policy.
What happens when my child joins 1st St Neots?
When joining their first section, your child will be invited to attend for around 3 weeks free of charge to see if they enjoy it.
On the forth week, they’ll be invited to be invested and become a full member of our Group. At this point, they will need their uniform jumper or shirt (available here). We will provide them with their Group necker and their first set of badges.
During the investiture, all new young people will be asked to make their promise. Different versions are available based on their section and religion. In short, they promise to do their best, help other people and keep the Scout Law!
Finances and Support
Our main source of income is the subscription fees (“subs”) that are paid by all young people in the Group. Our subs are paid on an annual basis but in 12 monthly payments. Currently, these are £17.00 taken by direct debit on the 5th day of each month.
Once your child starts, you will receive a email notification for you to set up the direct debit within OSM.
Subs cover the running of our own hall, national HQ subscription fees, insurance, and our Scouting meetings, Occasionally, we may ask for contributions toward activities beyond our ‘normal’ meetings where the budget does not cover it. For example, we may have an end of term trip to an aqua park, activity centre, etc.
Camps and events
Camps and events are run as being self-funding so that only those attending pay for them. The fee amount and method of payment (i.e., instalments) varies dependant on the event. For example, weeklong Summer Camps often will be a deposit and 3-5 instalments whereas a one-off event may be a single payment.
Deposits are used to secure a space for your child to attend, and so that we can secure the booking with the venue. Deposits are always non-refundable unless the space is taken up by another child.
Scouting is for all, and money is never a barrier to attending our meetings, camps, events or wearing a uniform. 1st St Neots maintains a fund to support this.
Should you need any support during your child’s time with us, please contact your section leader who will handle your request in confidence. Please let them know if you can pay any of the amount (don’t worry if you can’t), then leave the rest to us. Once our finance team has discussed, we’ll let you know how we’ll support.
As a charity, the Group is entitled to an additional 25% of all subscriptions payments that are made under the Gift Aid scheme. That means for every £1 you pay us; we actually get £1.25, but only if you have signed up.
If you pay income tax, or if subs are paid from the bank account of an eligible taxpayer, you can register, and we can claim the tax back.
Please help us by confirming your agreement when requested to via OSM.