Beavers in Scouting is one name for the youngest section of Scouting with members younger than Cub Scouts and sometimes going to as young as 5 years of age. Other names are used in some countries. The program is based on the concept of co-operating and sharing with "sharing, sharing, sharing" being its motto.
The Beaver programme started off in the 1960s and 1970s in various countries around the world, with Canada and Northern Ireland leading the way.
The reasons for Beaver Scouting to be started were very similar for the Cub Scout, or Wolf Cub, section in 1916 - adult leaders were bringing their younger children along to meetings, and also the youth members were bringing their younger siblings.
Beaver Scouts were not formally recognised by many Scouting Associations until well into the 1980s, but they were still run with the ideals of Scouting, as laid down by Baden-Powell in 1907, influencing them.
Beaver groups are often called colonies and meetings sometimes include a ceremony with a "beaver dam" in which the beavers work together to fix a breach in the dam.
Beaver Scouting Around the World
In Scouts Canada Beavers are ages 5 to 7. Members normally wear a brown vest as a uniform with a blue t-shirt and a blue and brown Beaver Hat. The program is based around a specially written story called Friends of the Forest.
Beaver Promise: I promise to love God and help take care of the world.
Beaver Law: A Beaver has fun, works hard and helps family and friends.
Beaver Motto: Sharing, Sharing, Sharing
A five year old beaver is a brown tail, six year old is a blue tail and a seven year old is a white tail. The tail is attached to the back brim of the Beaver Hat.
The beavers 'swim up' to cubs towards the end of the year that they are white tails.
Beavers do not collect any individual badges.
In Scouting New Zealand this section is called Keas.
The United Kingdom officially recognised Beaver Scouts in 1986, but there were informal colonies around the country for some years beforehand. The programme is run for 6-8 year olds, and precedes Cub Scouts.
The Beaver Scout section currently has the largest proportion of members within Scouting in the United Kingdom, with many colonies servicing waiting lists, some of which may have several times as many waiting as there are actual members.
The uniform is a turquoise sweatshirt or t-shirt, with the group colours for the neckerchief.