We were proud to announce a year ago the start of a new adventure for our group – the launch of an early years pilot, that would explore the possibility of the Scout Association launching a new section aimed at 4 and 5 year olds.

We started the new section as one of only 20 pilots outside of London to explore the concept, look at the programme and see how much Scouting we could bring to this age group. We had a year of activities planned out following the principles of Scouting – having fun, and adventure, whilst teaching #SkillsForLife. We started out with 16 young people, a new section leadership team and many ideas. We achieved many firsts for our group and had a whole lot of fun in the process. We even managed to fit a transition into Beavers during the pilot, showing clear progression and the ability to make Hedgehog’s something that is only the beginning of the journey through Scouting.

Unfortunately we were unable to complete the full year due to Covid-19, however still ran a limited programme through virtual sessions. This gave us a whole new set of challenges and allowed us to explore whether a virtual or blended virtual/face to face approach could be possible.

The Scout Association have taken in all the feedback, photos, videos, comments and research to consider if early years is going to work for Scouting. We are pleased and proud to announce that Hedgehogs was a success and there will be a future. The programme, name, uniform may all change but the early years approach is here to stay. At present Covid-19 is putting a pause on the roll out of early years scouting as there is a focus nationally to restart sections that already exist and limitations on what can be achieved through social distancing. However, there will be a day in the not too distant future where early years scouting will be available to young people across the country.

But what about our group? As we are part of the initial pilot, our Hedgehog section remains open and operational. We will reopen face to face scouting with a Hedgehog section and welcoming 4 & 5 year olds to our group. We will continue to help shape the future of early years scouting, including having a say on the future programme, badges, uniform, name, designs, etc. We can’t wait to see what happens! And, we can’t wait to welcome back our members soon.

As a thank you to our group we have been present a plaque in recognition of the work we have put in in helping to shape the future of Scouting. This is a key moment in the history of Scouting and it is something we are proud of being a part of. Our plaque will be placed in full show as part of the celebration of our work and the big ‘Thank You‘ to our Hedgehog Nest Leader Laura; Assistant Nest Leaders Hayley, Katie, Mark, & Victoria; Assistant Group Scout Leader Craig; and Group Scout Leader Ashley for all the time, energy and effort they have put in over the last year. We also would like to say ‘thank you’ to each of our Hedgehogs and their family for joining us for the start of their scouting journey.