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  • Writer's pictureDistrict General - Myles

Nights away at home

Henson Appleby

Gravesham District Commissioner

Hi Everyone,

Just a few bits and pieces during this unprecedented time; several weeks in and at least another three weeks to go (if not more).

Not wanting to jump on the bandwagon and repeat what has already been said, so many times, by so many, but suffice to say Scouting is still very much alive and kicking.  I know several groups have been getting involved in all sorts of “on-line” shenanigans and I’m hoping to post a few of these over the coming days.

One thing that seems to have really taken off nationally, is the “Nights away at Home” activity. Take a look below and see what you think. Perhaps it’s something you would like to give a go?  If you do, let me have some details and we will post it accordingly on the website!

In the meantime, please do continue to keep safe, follow the guidelines and keep well.

From all the District Team & myself.

Take care,



Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers can take part in a sleepover or camping experience at home, under the supervision of their parents or guardians. This may be sleeping indoors in dens or out in the garden under canvas where possible. Some Sections could organise a ‘night away at home’ together on the same evening and find ways to connect by having virtual conversations and shared activities or challenges.

Rules or Guidance to Consider

Nights Away rules in POR, including rules 9.55 to 9.63, don’t apply to ‘nights away at home,’ so long as the young person’s parent or guardian is present and the night away does take place at home. This means that there’s no need for: a completed Nights Away Notification (Form NAN) for your Night's Away Permit Holder to oversee, for a qualified first aider to be on-site or for parents or guardians to have a DBS check.

While a Form NAN isn’t required, parents or guardians may still want to let an appropriate local volunteer know about their ‘night away at home’, to help volunteers understand which young people have earned what badges when Scouts resumes.

Implications for badges and awards

Where necessary, volunteers can adapt badge and award requirements to suit the ability or circumstances of each person.​ Requirements can be replaced or removed entirely where the suspension of face-to-face scouting has stopped a young person from completing an award or where it isn’t possible to complete the award within an appropriate time period and where there are no other options for flexibility.

When running ‘nights away at home’, you should also consider:

  • How many requirements you adapt. For instance, think about how many ‘at home’ nights away should be needed to progress through the Staged Nights Away activity badges

  • The importance of the badge. You can be more relaxed about requirements for activity badges than for Top Awards

  • The quality of the experience. Decide whether the person will take part in activities or learning experiences while on the ‘night away at home’

  • Equality of access for young people. Make sure young people who don’t have access to an outdoor space or suitable equipment like a tent, can still participate in the ‘night away at home’

The Queen’s Scout Award, Explorer Belt, Scouts of the World Award and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award need some extra thought before adapting or changing any requirements. View our guidance on adapting these awards and make sure you get and you should get approval for these from your County/Area/Region (Scotland) Commissioner or Assistant Commissioners.

Making this part of a quality programme

There are many ways to make sure ‘nights away at home’ form part of a quality programme:

  • Bring everyone together and organise a specific ‘night away, at home’ event so your whole section or group can take part. If you plan to do this, make sure you let your Group Scout Leader or Explorer Scout Leader know.

  • Provide shared activities and tasks for everyone to take part in at the same time. You can find plenty of ideas on our Programme Planning Tool.

  • Connect young people digitally. Have a look at our safeguarding guidance for digital experiences and our advice on what platforms to use.

  • Provide ways for young people and parents or guardians who aren't currently with Scouts to join in and have fun.

Henson Appleby

Gravesham District Commissioner

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