The Queen's Scout Award is the top achievement for Explorer Scouts and Scout Network members and comprises of a variety of activities to complete.
The Queen's Scout Award (QSA) is linked closely to the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award and it is worth working on the two awards together.
It is strongly recommended that you read the available support materials before starting to work towards your award to make sure you fully understand what you need to do. The materials provide more advice and guidance on the award requirements, as well as some ideas for what you could do to meet them.
To gain the award you must complete all of the following requirements before your 25th birthday.
Register your intention to complete the Award here.
Activities (including the membership requirement) can count towards the award from the date of registration and back dated up to a maximum of 3 months (but not before your 16th birthday).
Award participants must: • Be aged between 16 and 25 years old • Be a member of Explorer Scouts or Scout Network (or both) for at least 18 months • Be a member of Explorer Scouts or Scout Network at the time you complete the award
Complete 18 nights away as an Explorer Scout or Scout Network member, of which at least 12 must be camping.
Nights away used for this requirement must be different from nights away undertaken for one of the five challenge activities (such as expedition and residential) or those used for the ICV list, but can include those nights away used for the nights away requirement of the Chief Scout’s Platinum or Chief Scout’s Diamond Awards.
Nights away undertaken as an Explorer Scout Young Leader or by Scout Network members who are also an adult leader in Scouting may count towards this requirement, ie a night away with a Cub Pack where you volunteer.
INTERNATIONAL, COMMUNITY & VALUES (ICV) LIST
Complete six activities in total, two from each topic area of the ICV activities list. Click here to view the ICV list for the QSA. A minimum of two must be from the QSA ICV list and the others from any of the QSA, or Chief Scout Platinum or Diamond ICV lists.
If you have completed your Chief Scout’s Platinum Award, you will have already done two activities and will only need to do a further four activities.
If you have completed your Chief Scout’s Diamond Award, you will have already done four activities and will only need to do a further two activities.
Complete the five Queen’s Scout Award challenges or hold the Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award (DofE).
• Skill Take up a skill for six or 12* months, and show progress and lasting interest. The skill can be an existing interest or something entirely new.
• Physical Activity Take up a physical activity for six or 12* months, completing an agreed programme by taking part and achieving your objectives.
• Service Provide service to an individual or the community for 12 months. Briefing and training should be given in order to gain the necessary skills. This may include helping with another section of the Movement as an Explorer Scout Young Leader or adult volunteer.
• Expedition Undertake training, a practice expedition and a four day, three night self-led final expedition (including a project).
You should undertake training (to show you are ready to do your expedition, a practice expedition and then the final expedition). Training: Before you undertake any expedition you should demonstrate that you are competent in the following areas:
First aid (covering First Response as a minimum) and emergency procedures
Risk assessment/health and safety
Navigation and route planning
Camp craft, equipment and hygiene
Food and cooking
Country, highway and water sports codes
Observation, recording and presentation
Proficiency in mode of travel
Practice: Undertake a minimum three-day, two-night (consecutive) self-led expedition in wild country by foot, cycle, horse, canoe, boat or dinghy.
Final: Undertake a four-day, three-night (consecutive) self led expedition with an aim. The expedition should be completed in wild country by the same method used in your practice. Expeditions should have a minimum of eight hours of activity per day, of which at least half must be journeying. The final expedition must be a different area to the practice with similar conditions and ideally with the same team of people.
• Residential Undertake a five-day, four-night residential project in an unfamiliar environment with people that are unknown to you. This project could be environmental work, project based, service to others or personal training.
In exceptional circumstances this can be done over two consecutive weekends as long as the activity is the same and the majority of people are unknown to you.
*All members should complete 12 months in either the skill or the physical activity challenges.
Award participants who are not holders of the Chief Scout’s Diamond Award or Silver DofE must complete an extra six months in either the service or the longer of the skills or physical activity challenges.
Make a presentation covering all elements of your award to a suitable audience, with the aim of inspiring and motivating others to achieve the award. The presentation should be the final activity you complete.
Each requirement needs to be signed off by an assessor, this is someone who can vouch for the activities you have undertaken and provide some basic evidence (a short statement) about your participation. This is often your Explorer Leader or your District Scout Network Commissioner. However, assessors can be anyone who has witnessed the activities you have undertaken for the specific requirement.
Once you have completed all of the above requirements, a Commissioner (appropriate to the section you are a member of) must approve your award as complete. For more information, see the support material for this award.
Approval by the mentor or person signing off the award should be given prior to each element being undertaken. If you are unsure about whether an activity is appropriate, ask the commissioner who will sign off your award as completed.
NIGHTS AWAY Camping also includes other outdoor shelters, such as bivouacs and snow holes, often used in scouting activities.
In order to meet the membership requirement for this award you must be an Explorer Scout or Scout Network member at the time that you register for the award, for at least 18 months from this date, and at the time you complete the award.
Ideally you should be a member throughout the period from registration to completion of the award. However, it is accepted that you may take a break from working towards the award (for example if moving to go to university) and restart it at a later date. In this circumstance you could also have a break in your membership (but any activities undertaken during this time cannot count towards your award).
It is important to note that the completion of the award is defined as the time the final requirement (the presentation) is signed off. If you are aged 18 or over on this date you must be a Network member, and your form must be signed off by the County Scout Network Commissioner. This is the case even if you completed the majority of the award while an Explorer Scout.
WORKING FOR MORE THAN ONE AWARD AT A TIME An award does not have to be completed before activities can count for the next award. For example, if you have completed the expedition element of your Chief Scout’s Diamond Award but not the rest of the award, you can begin the expedition section of the Queen’s Scout Award as long as you are over the age of 16 and have registered for the Queen’s Scout Award.
CHALLENGES - TIME COMMITMENT The minimum time requirements for each section are expressed in months, during which you need to undertake a regular commitment averaging at least an hour a week.
TAKING A BREAK OR CHANGING ACTIVITIES If you want to change activities during an award, this is possible, although on one occasion only. It is also possible to take a break from an activity and then to restart from where you stopped. This could happen during a period of school, college or university exams.
CREST AWARDS Young people could complete a Gold CREST project for their skill challenge. For more information about CREST Awards, click here.
MAKING THE AWARD ACCESSIBLE Each young person who participates in the Programme, including badges and awards, should face a similar degree of challenge, and requirements can be adapted according to each young person’s abilities.
The Queen’s Scout Award is based on personal best effort rather than fixed standards, and should be available to all members of Explorer Scouts and the Scout Network. This may mean that for some individuals, the requirements of the award need to be adapted to ensure that they face the same degree of challenge as other participants.
Where additional needs have to be taken into account, it is acceptable to adjust some of the activities to make them more accessible. You should work with your mentor to discuss any adaptations, and make sure that any adaptations have been approved by the commissioner who will sign off your award. As every set of individual circumstances will be different, it is left to the discretion of the relevant commissioner to make any adaptations to the activities, including the expedition requirement.
The Explorer Belt is a challenge of a lifetime. It is a chance to take part in a ten-day expedition that brings you a real understanding of a different country, its culture and way of life. You will develop this understanding by travelling through your chosen country, working as part of a small team to complete a series of projects and most importantly by meeting local people. It is an experience and an achievement that you will remember for the rest of your life.
Explorer belt. Since their launch in December 2013, the Explorer Belt requirements and supporting materials have been reviewed and a number of minor amends have been made.
If aged 16–18 years old, you may only participate in an organised expedition supported by an in-country leadership team, rather than being self-led.
MEMBERSHIP Be an Explorer Scout aged 16 or over, a Scout Network member, or a member of the Senior Section of Girlguiding aged 16 or over.
EXPEDITION Undertake a 10-day expedition as part of a team* outside of the UK with a minimum travelling time of 50 hours over the 10 days, by foot, cycle, horse, canoe, boat or dinghy.
The use of public transport is acceptable as part of the travelling time, where opportunities to meet people would otherwise be missed.
*Minimum starting number of young people per team is three with the minimum of two per team completing the expedition.
Covering the following areas during your preparation and expedition:
Competence Show that you are competent in the following areas: • Navigation skills • Expedition cooking • Lightweight camping • Language • Acceptable home hospitality • Fitness • Proficiency in mode of travel • Teambuilding • First Aid (covering First Response as a minimum)
Once you have an idea of the main project come and speak to the Senior Awards Panel who will approve your expedition and appoint a mentor to support you through the process
Logbook Keep a logbook of the expedition which records places visited, the route taken, project work undertaken and personal thoughts.
Projects Complete one major project selected by the team which is undertaken throughout the expedition.
Complete at least ten minor projects which may be chosen by the team, leadership team, peers or a mixture of these.
DEBRIEF Take part in a debrief of the expedition with your mentor and leadership team. Ideally, this should be within 24 hours of the 10th day of the expedition or within 24 hours of return to the UK.
PRESENTATION Make a presentation including all elements of your award to the assessment panel and other invited guests of your experiences and achievements.
ASSESSMENT Your expedition, project work, and presentation will be assessed by an assessment panel including your mentor to determine if you have successfully achieved your Explorer Belt. Final sign off of the award is the responsibility of the Senior Awards Panel.
Scouts of the World Award (SOWA) is a Scout Network only award that gives Scout Network members the chance to undertake a project of their choice within the themes of Peace, Environment and Sustainability and take action on their chosen issue.
Through your Scouts of the World Award journey, you’ll develop skills and knowledge that will empower you to undertake a project that will make a sustainable impact on your local, national or international community, while developing your personal skills.
You’ll learn skills including independence, teamwork, project planning, time management and communication skills while gaining an understanding of global issues and international relations. You don’t have to go abroad to complete your Scouts of the World Award. Local and national projects are acceptable, as long as all requirements of the award are being met.
Requirements of the award
To take part, you must
be between 18-25 years old and a member of the Scout Network section
attend a Scouts of the World Discovery (14 hours) run by a SOWA Trainer
register for the Award by filling out this registration form after you have attended a Discovery
create a plan for your SOWA project based on one or more of the three themes (Peace, Environment and Sustainable Development) with the guidance of your mentor
complete your SOWA voluntary project (80 hours) based on one or more of the three themes (Peace, Environment and Sustainable Development)
undertake an evaluation, personal reflection and local presentation (three hours) which should reflect your personal development, the project deliverables and how you have ensured the project is sustainable
Your mentor will be able to offer you guidance throughout your award.
After your presentation, your Assistant County Commissioner (Scout Network) (ACC(SN)) will confirm that the award has been completed and notify HQ via this completed form.
Scouts of the World Award minimum standards and criteria
The outcome of SOWA for the participant is
to play an active role as a global citizen in society
to advance on their personal development journey
to increase their understanding of global issues
Discovery (14 hours)
a SOWA Discovery event may take place as a residential event or a number of shorter events but should be a minimum of 14 hours of learning
all participants should undertake some pre-course activities that will be sent to them by the SOWA Trainers prior to the event
the Discovery will broaden the participants understanding of the wider global context that underpins the Award and global issues.
Voluntary project (80 hours)
a SOWA project must take a minimum of 80 hours, which can also include planning time
the project should be based on one or more of the three key themes of the Award (Peace, Environment and Sustainable Development)
an assigned SOWA mentor will guide the participant through their project, including the planning stages
ACC (SN) or equivalent should be notified about the project, as they are the final sign off for the Award
the project should follow the SMART technique, with clear project objectives, timescales and realistic deliverables
the project should have a long-term, sustainable impact on the local, national or international communities
Presentation, evaluation and personal reflection (three hours)
Participants should spend time evaluating their journey through the Award, as well as the project itself. The Award is not just about meeting the project aims but is also about the development of the skills, cultural awareness, knowledge and attitudes of the participants, as active global citizens. This evaluation may cover questions such as:
Can I see the connection back to the global context I learnt about at the Discovery Weekend?
How is my project sustainable? If it is not, what could I do to ensure it is?
What challenges did I face and how did I overcome these?
What skills have I gained from achieving this award?
What does it mean to be an active global citizen?
Participants should present their project and evaluation to a relevant audience. This could include the ACC (SN), who has final sign off of the award, as well as Scout Network members, Explorer Scouts, ACC (International), their SOWA Mentor and their SOWA Trainer.
Award standards The Scouts of the World Award is based on personal best effort rather than fixed standards and should be available to all members of Scout Network. This may mean that for some individuals, the requirements of the award need to be adapted to ensure that they face the same degree of challenge as other participants. Where additional needs have to be taken into account, it is acceptable to adjust some of the activities to make them more accessible. You should work with your mentor to discuss any adaptations, and make sure that any adaptations have been approved by the ACC (SN) who will sign off your award. As every set of individual circumstances will be different, it is left to the discretion of the ACC (SN).
Timescales The award must be completed by your 25th birthday and cannot be started before your 18th birthday. Within that, there are no fixed timescales. The number of hours specified above for the Discovery, Voluntary Project and Evaluation does not need to be completed in one go. For example, you may choose to do a voluntary project for one hour a week over 80 weeks.
Links to other awards
Subject to approval, completing your SOWA may also count towards other awards including:
Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE) – your discovery and voluntary service could count towards the residential aspect of your DofE. Talk to your leader or DofE adviser for further details
Queen Scout Award (QSA) – consult with your QSA adviser and bear in mind that the SOWA can only be used once within the award. This could be as a residential or within the International, Community and Values section.
Northamptonshire County Scouts Guidance on the Registration and Recording of the Senior Scout Awards
Aimed at Participants and Section Leaders –
Author – Duke of Edinburgh Advisor - Kay Aitken
Responsible Commissioner – ACC Activities - Andy Hunt
Reviewed Annually in December – Last Reviewed April 2018
Northants County Scouts view the Senior Scout Awards as –
Chief Scouts Platinum Award
Chief Scouts Diamond Award
Queen’s Scout Award
Bronze Duke of Edinburgh
Silver Duke of Edinburgh
Gold Duke of Edinburgh
The Explorer Belt
SOWA - Scouts of the World Award
The Queen Scouts Award, Explorer Belt and SOWA are the top awards in Scouting and it is Northamptonshire Scout’s goal that every Scout in the senior sections’ should be given the opportunity to achieve these awards.
To make the awards more accessible to more young people in the Northamptonshire Scout County – we believe that clearer direction should be given on the requirement of the award and what support the County Team can offer. We have therefore issued this guidance.
The County Team recognise that one clear set of guidelines underpin this ambition and these guidelines have been written in collaboration between the County DofE Manager, Network Commissioner, ACC Explorers, ACC Activities and County Training Manager.
The Scout awards listed above – Chief scouts Platinum Award, Chief Scouts Diamond Award and Queen’s Scout Award are very similar in structure and content to their respective Duke of Edinburgh Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. It is the recommendation of the collaborative team above, that Scouts undertaking any of the Senior Awards also register and complete the respective Duke of Edinburgh Award. The benefit to individuals in doing so is the D of E Scheme has greater national recognition, especially by employers.
Since April 2017 – all young people in the association wishing to become a Queen Scout / DofE Gold holder or undertake the Explorer Belt have been given additional support from the Senior Award panel. They now have better access to ‘Experts’ who can help an individual understand how to register for these awards along with the requirements and how to plan their awards. This has proved very successful producing a significant increase in Awards completed and newly registered participants. With this in mind, it is intended Districts should be encouraged to manage a District Senior Awards Panel that services Bronze and Silver DofE and Platinum and Diamond Chief Scouts Awards including the respective ICV Explorer Belt type challenges. This Panel will be known as ‘District Chief Scout Awards Panel’
The Awards Panels responsibilities
The District Chief Scout Awards Panel
This Awards panel will be chaired by the District D of E advisor. The panel should ideally include the DESC and DESA but can include the District Network Commissioner, DC and any other person nominated by the DC. It is recommended that there should be three members on any Senior Awards Panel.
This panel will take responsibility for managing and mentoring individuals who have chosen to undertake Bronze / Silver D of E and/or Platinum / Diamond Chief Scout Awards including the Explorer Belt Styled Challenges in the ICV sections.
Whilst there is no requirement to register for the Platinum and Diamond Chief Scout Awards there is a requirement to register for Bronze and Silver DofE. It is expected that these Awards are managed locally by District DofE coordinators, Explorer Scout Leaders and Network Commissioners. Guidance on how to register and the support available for Bronze and Silver DofE can be found by clicking here.
The object of the panel is to encourage the young participant to develop a plan on how they intent to achieve their award and ensure they have adequate support to achieve their goals by checking they have a suitable mentor in place. This mentor will ordinarily be the Young Persons Explorer Scout Leader or Network Commissioner.
Once a participant has completed all elements of their Award they should return to the panel to have their work reviewed and Award verified.
It is for the District to decide locally how frequently they meet but it is recommended this should be no less than once a quarter.
The County Senior Awards Panel
This Awards panel will be chaired by the D of E County Manager but owned by ACC Activities, the panel will consist of no less than three members who will be drawn from The Chair, ACC Network, ACC Explorer Scouts, County Commissioner, The Deputy County Commissioners and ACC Activities.
The Senior Awards panel meet four times a year and they can be found in the County Scouts diary held on the County Website.
This panel takes responsibility for Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, Queen Scout Award, Explorer Belt and SOWA each of which the candidate must register for.
Once registered each young person is expected to set out how they will achieve their award in conjunction with their mentor, the activities will then be approved by the Panel, this is a support mechanism to ensure the participant has a sound and robust plan which could withstand scrutiny at a later date, such as when they have completed their award.
It is the vision of Northants Scouts that the mentors will be young adults who have recently been awarded a Queen’s Scout Award and/or Explorer Belt.
Prior to any final panel review on completion of any award, assessor reports will be submitted for the following sections.
Northants network now has the ‘Online Scout management’ tool where Nights away, Membership, International, Communities and Values sections can be recorded.
On completion of all required sections, the young person will need to return to the panel, who will receive the participant's presentation and assess whether their objectives have been achieved. Prior to returning to panel the participant should complete all relevant paperwork such as the Queen’s Scout Certificate form (national form) and return to the ACC Network or ACC Explorers. It is recommended that participants return to panel no less than 6 months prior to their 25th Birthday so they can complete any advised remedial actions. Each applicant will attend a Panel meeting, to present his or her Journey. The Panel will approve the relevant Award in conjunction with the relevant ACC.
1 – That the applicant is registered for the QSA and DofE.
2 – Membership – that the applicant has been a member of the Explorer scout or Network section for a period of 18 Months or an active member in the following roles and registered for Network.
Or Manager (to be agreed at registration)
3 – Nights Away - the applicant must demonstrate 18 nights away which registered for the Award, these can include –
Network and explorer sectional camps
Permit activity weekends - i.e. M Form
Group Section night away – i.e. camps with your section as a leader.
Residential experiences (Not those which form part of the award already)
4 – Expeditions – It is Northants scout view that a Queen’s Scout Expedition should comply with the 20 conditions as stipulated by the DofE.
Exceptions to these conditions will be viewed on an individual basis but must be approved by the QSA panel prior to any expedition taking place.
5 – The ICV sections – these must not have been previously used for lower level awards – but may include (but not limited to)
International experiences such as jamborees
Community Impact work either with your own age range section or the group you are a leader within.
Community impact projects under your own steam but with other charities.
Others agreed with your mentor prior to undertaking.
6 – Volunteering sections – include an element of training which will have been necessary to undertake your volunteering, (up to the value of one-quarter of the overall time for the section, i.e. for 12 months of volunteering – 12 hours should be training)
 The relevant ACC is dependent on the section in which the QSA is completed. Ie for those under 18 this will be the ACC explorers and for young people 18-25 this will be the ACC Network.