The Scouts' New Digital Manifesto Includes Badges for Coding

By Gerald Lynch on at

It's not enough to be able to start a campfire or read a map for the modern scout. Nope – in the hyper-connected teenage years of the 21st century, you've got to prove yourself in the digital wilderness, too.

The Scout Association is teaming up with network Vodafone to today launch the new Scouts' Digital Manifesto. It aims to "empower young people to develop key digital skills" and "encourage them to stay safe online." The bear in the woods is only as dangerous as the predators online these days, it would seem.

The manifesto has the following six goals for its intrepid scouts to aim for:

  1. Use digital to learn and embrace new skills
  2. Share your adventures digitally and inspire others
  3. Know when to switch off, balancing screen time with outdoor activities
  4. Use digital skills to support your family and community
  5. Use digital to be creative
  6. Stay safe online and know the risks

As well as the new goals, Scouts will be able to work towards two new badges, which will come with support from Vodafone. The ‘Digital Maker’ badge aims to champion digital creativity, tasking Scouts with the challenge to learn coding skills such as HTML. The ‘Digital Citizen’ badge will encourage Scouts to take their online discussions offline, talking through the potential hazards and dangers of irresponsible online behaviour and relationships.

It's a far cry from the Scouts' traditional focus on outdoor pursuits, but it's got the full backing of TV survivalist and Chief Scout, Bear Grylls.

"“The Scouts’ Digital Manifesto will encourage hundreds of thousands of young people to develop a range of key digital skills, empowering them to have even greater adventures as well as helping them to stay safe online," said Grylls.

"Scouting is a worldwide force for good and with Vodafone’s help our young people will be empowered to use technology to make even more of a difference in their communities while also getting outdoors and active.”

They'll be 3D printing their own badges next.