The program is fundamental to the success of the Section. The program must reflect the interests, goals and inspirations of the young people who participate.
Young people must be involved in the planning and review of their program if it is to be relevant to them.
The Section Council is an essential way for youth members to be engaged and provide input into their program in an age-appropriate manner. Section Councils are essential for Scouts to perform checks and balances on the level of engagement, control and direction they have in the program and Section overall.
Support from Leaders and Mentors may be required, however youth members can plan, do and review their program to a level where they can call it their own program, not one assigned to them by Leaders. Across the Sections, youth members will be able to increasingly contribute to, and develop, their program, with varying levels of input and guidance required from adult Leaders.
The Section Council should occur regularly (at least once a term) so that all members feel engaged with the creation and implementation of their program. These don’t need to occur in a formal setting. Sometimes it can be very beneficial for the Section Council to be held outdoors.
Support from Leaders will certainly be required, however Joey Scouts (with guidance) can develop themes, ideas, activities and games for their program.
Cub Scouts (with guidance) can plan, do and review their program to a level where they can call it their own program, not one assigned to them by Leaders.
In the Scout Section, the Scouts should be leading the way, setting the agenda, and running the meeting, while adult Leaders should be supporting and providing guidance as necessary. In the Scout Section there is a significant crossover in leadership, with youth members at times being completely autonomous from the adult Leaders.
In the Venturer Scout Section, youth members should be leading the way, setting the agenda, and running the meeting, with adult Leaders supporting and providing guidance only when necessary. In this Section there is only a small amount of leadership provided by adult Leaders, as the youth are completely autonomous in most capacities.
Rover Scouts are completely autonomous members who are capable of implementing the plan, do, review process over their whole program with support from an adult Leader only when required by the Section. Adult Leaders are there to advise rather than guide. It is important that Rover Scouts are allowed to be independent and for their programs to focus on areas designated by the members themselves.
Section Councils may like to explore a number of different tools to support the evaluation of their program. This Matrix, developed from the World Scout Youth Programme Policy, has been developed to be a self-assessment tool for Youth Members, Section Leaders, Group Leaders, Commissioners and those who oversee and advise on the Youth Program in Branches around Australia. This Matrix can be used to assess program nights, weekend events, Jamborees and other activities. It has been developed for all sections however the age of the members in the Section need to be considered.