Beaver Colonies are where the youngest children meet aged 5-8. Both boys and girls use the motto of "Busy and Bright".
What are Beavers?
Beavers are the youngest members of the Scouting family. The section was started in the 1960s and 70s, with Canada and Ireland pioneering the ideas. The Beaver Section is based around the 'Friends of the Forest' book with the leaders taking their names from characters in the book.
Lord Baden-Powell did not, of course, plan for a Beaver section but we feel that they provide an excellent start to a child's Scouting life. Beavers were not officially recognised as a formal section of many associations until the 1980s and 1990s, but their programme is heavily inspired by Baden-Powell's thinking and provides a warm welcome to the Scouting family, helping young people develop their confidence and independence.
What do Beavers do?
Together and within the Colony they regularly do nature walks, and generally explore their local surroundings through this they get an appreciation and respect of their world around them.
There are some traditions that are unique to each section, and some that are shared with the wider Movement. In Beavers there are a few, simple signs and ceremonies that the children will learn, which are used to help build a spirit inside the colony and encourage them to feel a part of something special:
The Beaver Sign: The same shape is made with the fingers, but the hand is simply held up at shoulder height. This is the sign made when a Beaver makes their Promise.
The "Tail Slap": This should be the first event of any Colony Meeting. It should also be the final event of any Colony Meeting before the Beavers are released to go home.
The first command by Ahmeek (the Beaver leader) will be the shout River Banks. At this command the Beavers form two wavy lines, the River Formation, one line facing the other, Beavers facing inwards holding hands. Ahmeek then calls out the command Build the Dam and the Beavers close the ends of the lines furthest away from Ahmeek to form a Horseshoe configeration with Ahmeek in the open part. Ahmeek stretches out his/her arms sideways and then drops the arms. The Beavers go into the Chopping Position with feet on the floor, body in a crouching position, elbows on knees, forearms straight up and both hands in the Beaver Sign position. This represents the Beavers' paws on the trunk of a tree.
Ahmeek then asks the Beavers, "Who are you and what do you do?" and the Beavers reply, "Beavers, Beavers, Beavers, Sharing, Sharing, Sharing". Then, starting from a quiet whisper, rising to a shout, the Beavers say, "SH-SH-SH-SH-ISS" and jump up, at the same time clapping their hands together behind them. This represents the sound of the waterswishing as the Beavers come up to break the surface of the pond, the clapping is the beavers' tails splashing or flapping in the water to rise to the surface of the pond.
Our Beaver section operates with restricted numbers to ensure that all children are fully supervised. Additional leaders will allow additional children to be able to join. If you wish for your child to join this section, please consider offering your time as an assistant leader or a non-uniformed Adult Assistant.
Beavers meet on Wednesdays, from 6.30 to 8.00, at our headquarters or other arranged locations. Camps and additional activities may sometimes take place at weekends and during school holidays.