At Regen, we regularly get asked by community energy groups for tips and tactics to engage people in their work and activities. Jodie Giles, the Community Energy Programme Lead is an expert in helping groups think through how to do this effectively.

Connecting with existing local organisations like the Scouts is an obvious step for  community energy groups who want to get the message out in their locality,

As part of a project Regen were developing for Western Power Distribution, I had a little time to investigate the intersection between Scouts and Community energy groups and happily even arranged for Exeter Community Energy and Exeter 2nd Scouts to work together as a result.

Here are some of the things I discovered that community energy groups might find useful!

Scouts need:

  • To earn badges! There are a number of badges that scouts can earn that have energy and electricity related
  • Places to go and things to see – a visit to a renewable installation or an electricity hub etc might be good.
  • Fun!
  • Cheap activities to do and cheap or free resources to use, with supervision and support to do so
  • Inspiration and encouragement
  • Useful freebies
  • An understanding of what community energy groups can offer
  • Volunteering opportunities – Especially Explorers doing their Duke of Edinburgh Awards
  • To do things that have a benefit for their community – sometimes they can take a leaflet home, or share some knowledge with their friends and family

 

Community energy groups might be able to offer:

  • Money from their community benefit fund
  • Energy expertise – someone to come and talk to the Scouting group
  • Energy audits
  • Volunteering opportunities like helping out at events or roof modelling!
  • Visits

 

The first step is probably to make contact with your local scouting group – You can find the location of your nearest scouting groups here.

Next it’s worth considering what you are both looking for – what can you give and gain from each other?

Scouts are keen to earn badges through doing good things. There are LOADS of badges; many won’t be relevant to community energy groups BUT here is a list of some that are!

Which Badges are relevant?

Beavers – 6-8 year olds

  • Global Issues Badge: Involves – Keeping a diary for a week, showing how you have recycled or saved energy at home
  • Community Impact Staged Activity Badge: Involves investigating what issues and challenges exist in a chosen community, planning some action and then doing something that makes a different.

Cubs – 8-10 1/2 year olds

  • Our Wold Challenge Badge: This asks scouts to ‘Take part in an activity about the environment.’
  • Environmental Conservation Badge: This involves finding out how to reduce the energy and water you use in your home. and finding out about one type of renewable energy
  • Global Issues Badges: Involves finding out how much energy you use in your meeting place or home. Over two weeks, record what energy you use for things like lights, heating or cooking. Make a plan to reduce the amount of energy you use and put it into action.
  • Home Safety Badge: Involves finding out about energy safety in the home.
  • Community Impact Staged Activity Badge: Involves investigating what issues and challenges exist in a chosen community, planning some action and then doing something that makes a different.

Scouts – 10 1/2 – 14 year olds

  • World Challenge Activity Badge: Involves Choosing an aspect of local community life and finding out as much as you can about it. Then working with people or an organisation from a community. Taking the chance to find an issue that your Troop could help with.
  • Electronics Activity Badge: Involves developing the scout’s electrical literacy and hands on experience
  • Environmental Conservation Activity Badge: Involves finding out about an environmental  issue that is important to your local community and taking part in an activity or project that improves local conservation (including energy and energy efficiency projects)

 

You can even co-create your own badge!

At the start of this project, I hadn’t realised that it is also possible to develop a separate and unique badge. Whilst working with WPD, we were considering designing a specific Power-Cut Badge that would have supported Cubs in learning about what to do in the event of a power cut and helping their friends and family be prepared!

 

Here are some of the energy challenges our communities face now, and some of the areas that scouts might be interested in:

  • Energy literacy
  • Climate change
  • Carbon emissions
  • Energy safety awareness
  • How communities benefit from renewables
  • Energy efficiency and energy storage projects
  • Fuel poverty and support for vulnerable people
  • Increasing energy bills

 

Some things you might want to think about if you are planning to work with a scouting group:

  • Awareness of Safeguarding issues: It is important that young people are protected from harm and this is taken seriously by the Scouting Association. This is a link to their policy.
  • Risk assessments: If you work with scout leaders, they will be aware of their safety responsibilities – you can find out more here
  • Attention spans: the attention span of you people can be quite short – and if running an activity with a scout group you may want to consider a variety of ways to engage them!

 

Scouting sessions usually run in the evenings fro 1.5-2 hours. If you are planning to deliver a session for scouts, you may want to think about:

  • A short talk and demo
  • A ‘make’ or something ‘hands on’
  • Games! especially physical or funny games

 

One of the scouting groups I spoke to was Sparkwell Scouts Group. They are hoping to help their scouts earn their environmental protection badge an have planned the following ‘make’ activities to help the scouts learn about renewable energy: