Generating programme ideas

Ideas and programme activities can be collected from a range of sources. We suggest that you keep a list of all the programme ideas you come up with. Even if they are not used immediately you may want to consider them for future planning. The young people in your section will be full of ideas and inspiration too, so be sure to ask them for their input.

Discuss planning with other adults in scouting to share ideas or good websites and external resources to use. Remember that young people stay in your section for several years so it is always worth referring to last year’s plan to ensure that you are not repeating your programme.

Many resources are readily available. Below are some to consider.


The activity badges and challenge awards for each section cover a wide range of topics and skills. The badge requirements are versatile and can usually be completed in numerous ways. They can often provide a great basic structure to a section meeting programme or series of meetings if the badge requirements are relatively detailed. It may be best to designate the full section meeting to completing the badge, or it could be that each week for a half term the section completes one badge requirement and spends the rest of the meeting taking part in other activities.

Some badges are sponsored by corporate partners, who produce activity packs containing programme ideas and activities to help you complete the badge requirements. Activity packs can be found at


There is no better way to be sure that your programme is exciting and relevant to your section than by asking them to input into the planning. Young people are hubs of ideas and innovation. It is the role of the leader to focus the ideas of young people and turn them into adventurous Scouting programmes that can build skills and knowledge, as well as being great fun. Beavers and Cubs are likely to identify themes of things they want to do, where as Scouts and Explorers are more likely to suggest activities and challenges they want to undertake. Remember that young people will feel disempowered if none of their ideas are considered or implemented. Even if ideas seem ridiculous, there is usually a way to incorporate it somehow.

For example: Cubs may wish to go to Italy…

  • imagine that the Pack has arrived in Italy; you could learn some basic Italian, sample and create some of the foods, or make some crafts.

  • you could think about the Romans and get the Cubs to make Roman pots, headwear, mosaics or shields

  • the Cubs could dress up in togas if they wished

  • maybe you could award the Cubs their International Activity Badge while dressed as Romans

Listening to your team

Knowing and working with your leadership team is a key part of planning the section’s programme. Members of your team, and people that they know, may have skills that they can incorporate into the programme. For example, if one of your team is an art teacher, it would be great for them to lead an arts and crafts evening that perhaps focuses on a specific technique that would be appropriate for the age of the section. Or you may have a parent or carer who is a particularly skilful musician and could lead a musical evening. Using other people’s skills can really enhance the programme for young people, because when people are delivering activities on a subject they feel passionate about, their enthusiasm for the subject will inspire young people.

Explore the local area

Exploring the local area can be an exciting adventure for Beavers and Cubs and a way to help Scouts and Explorers understand their local community. Consider visiting:

  • local places of worship
  • places of historical importance
  • local art galleries or museums that display local talent
  • local parks or green spaces
  • local events or cultural festivals

Activity packs

A variety of activity packs are created at different times and on different subjects. For example, in the lead-up to a World Scout Jamboree (which is held every four years), activity materials will be available that are designed to make all young people feel a part of the jamboree, irrespective of whether they are attending. They include activities based around the theme of the jamboree, traditions and culture of the hosting nation and awareness of diversity in the world. Other activity packs might be created for particular celebrations (for example, the Olympics, or the centenary of Cub Scouting) or around particular topics (for example, citizenship or global issues). Some packs are also created in partnership with other organisations. You can find all current activity packs at

Rise to the challenge

This resource explores spiritual development in Scouting, providing leaders with support in fulfilling the spiritual elements of Scouting’s purpose. Rise to the Challenge provides a range of age appropriate programme ideas which explore the five principles of spiritual development. The resource offers leaders practical ways to embed spiritual development in the programme and fulfil the spiritual elements of Scouting’s Purpose. It is available to download here