If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail!

Planning a programme for Scouting is a constant challenge. How do you create a programme thats fun, challenging and engaging, but doesn’t take night after night of planning? It’s in the doing, not the thinking about doing!

Hopefully these few simple tools will help you in creating your programme in record time.

Make sure to use these ideas with Young People and help them build their own programme- their ideas are often wildly different and as Leaders its our job to open those opportunities for them.


Creating themes is an easy way to bring focus. But have fun with them and be creative. Hitting Targets as a theme could be a night of Archery, a visit out to the local Quasar or could be something wildly different like a business game or a team project with specific aims. How about Engineering? Be Prepared? Urban Skills?

Steal them!

Other Scouters are a brilliant resource. Have you seen an idea at another group and thought “That looks fun!” Take it and run with it. Likewise, if you have a great night, tell others- post it to Facebook or Twitter, or send it into Scouting magazine and share the fun.

Make it big or shrink it down

Take an ordinary idea your group has done before and scale it up or down to see what looks most fun. You could:

  • Lash people to pioneering poles to scale up table football
  • Build a campsite, but scaled down to fit in a matchbox
  • Brew the smallest cup of tea in a thimble
  • Use pioneering poles and beachballs to scale up a game of pool

A million and one uses

Take an everyday object and think of another use for it. A cut up bottle could be made into a planter, a milk bottle could be a trowel or scoop. Those joke candles that relight as you blow them out? Best. Firelighters. Ever.


The internet has given us the most amazing resource for new ideas. Hopefully you can find some inspiration with these:

Instructables www.instructables.com

Instructables is a place that lets you explore, document, and share your DIY creations.

Pinterest www.pinterest.com

Pinterest is a pinboard-style photo-sharing website.

Facebook www.facebook.com

The social networking platform has some great groups to share ideas. Try searching for groups with similar interests: camping, outdoors, games or Scouting.

Google image search images.google.com

Look for craft ideas, diy plans,

YouTube www.youtube.com

Great for videos of cool projects and ideas

Programmes Online www.scouts.org.uk/pol

The Scout Associations’ database of programmes on a plate

Reddit www.reddit.com

Reddit is a social news website. Content is split up into subreddits- try r/diy, r/crafts or whatever topic takes your fancy.

Got a great idea for a programme? Tell me about it on the comments, get in touch on scoutmandan@handsworthscouts.org.uk or tweet me on @scoutmandan

Dan is a Scouter in Sheffield and the very proud leader of Norfolk District Explorers. When not running the Explorers, he also runs the group website, is the Assistant GSL, County Brand Adviser, Exec Member and Young Leader Co-Ordinator. Somewhere in the middle of all that he finds time for a full time job, wife and daughter. Dan and Becki met through Scouting together and she is more understanding than most about the adventures and mud!

Posted in Scouting Scribbles

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