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Working Towards Our Major Awards

Friday 29th July 2022

The President’s & Queen’s Badges

Whilst we know that most BB Companies operate the programme- based awards, we also know that not every young person has the opportunity to go on to gain our highest awards. We hope that this article will help you to consider how you could get your young people on their journey to achieving the President’s and Queen’s Badges.

Chris Norman, Delivery & Programme Manager explains how to go about offering the Presidents’ and Queen’s Badges; what the requirements are; and how to get the most out of the experience.

DID YOU KNOW . . . ?

Each session around 1,200 young people gain the President’s Badge and a further 600 gain the highest award in The Boys’ Brigade, the Queen’s Badge.

What can young people gain from taking on our Major Awards?

  • Good to add to applications and CVs
  • Gives young people something to work towards and helps with retention
  • Develops independence and self-confidence Helps develop new interests and skills
  • Gives young people an opportunity to give something back to the Company and their local community
  • Provides a real sense of achievement

THE PRESIDENT’S BADGE

Often seen as a pathway to the Queen’s Badge, although the President’s Badge is, itself, a very significant achievement for a young person. For many young people, the award marks a real milestone and offers a snapshot of the wider organisation.

A significant amount of the work required for the award can actually be completed in a Company setting as part of the weekly programme, as young people work towards their Core Activity Awards, so it is probably easier than you think to get started on the President’s Badge. Where a young person is not working towards these awards there is also an alternative option, through gaining the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award instead.

Through the award participants also have the opportunity to participate in teamwork building activities with BB members from other Companies, volunteer in their Company and Church as well as participate in a residential experience or adventure days.

What are the full requirements for the award?

The President’s Badge can be awarded from Year 1 in the Seniors age group, and it is the first of two Major Awards which can be gained in Seniors. The award can usually be achieved within one session, and the full requirements for the award are as follows:

  • Gain a Core Activity Award in the last 12 months (this would be through participation in the Seniors Programme, or alternatively a young person could have completed Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to fulfil this element)
  • Complete ‘Faith Journey’ element
  • Complete 2+ Nights Away within last 24 months or 3+ Adventure Days
  • Complete 10 hours volunteering in Company/Church or complete ‘Volunteer’ Staged Award Level 3 (alternatively a young person could have completed Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to fulfil this element)
  • Complete Building your Skills Course (usually a one-day course held at Battalion/District level), or complete ‘Teamwork’ Staged Award Level 3
  • Be an ‘Active’ member of the Company

How do we apply for the President’s Badge?

Once the young person has completed the requirements of the award a Company leader can apply for the award. At that point the young person can also register for the Queen’s Badge. The award will consist of a certificate signed by the Brigade President along with the President’s Badge which is worn by the young person in a presentation box. A miniature version of the President’s Badge will also be included which can be worn out of uniform. This will all be sent out to the Company leader for them to arrange a suitable occasion to present the award.

THE QUEEN’S BADGE

The Queen’s Badge is the highest award that a young person can gain as a member of The Boys’ Brigade. It’s a real opportunity; from beginning to end it’s important that they get the most out of it. It doesn’t matter who they are or where they’re from. Any young person aged over 16, who has their President’s Badge and is willing to do more than just sit on the sofa can take part!

The best part of the Queen’s Badge is that the young person gets to choose what they do. They can choose to do projects and activities that get them really excited and which they are dedicated to. Young people have opportunities to develop their faith, engage with their community, build friendships, take on responsibility, set their own goals, build self-confidence and experience a real sense of achievement.

How does a young person get started?

Of course they will first need to have gained the President’s Badge to be able to start out on their Queen’s Badge journey, but with that completed, and having registered for the Queen’s Badge the first thing to do is to take some time to look through the Queen’s Badge Record Book.

In order to achieve the Queen’s Badge a certain amount of planning is required on the part of the participant, and the earlier this is done the sooner they will be able to get started. This is all achieved through what we call the ‘Candidates Conference’, an opportunity to meet with the local Queen’s Badge Advisor and Company Mentor. These two individuals are really important points of contact for the young person throughout the Queen’s Badge journey.

Company Mentors

The Company Mentor is a designated leader in the Company who will provide support and encouragement to participants on a weekly basis. It doesn’t necessarily need to be the Captain or Leader-in-Charge of the age group. It could be a young leader who has had recent experience of the completing the Queen’s Badge themselves.

Queen’s Badge Advisors

A Queen’s Badge Advisor is the person from the Battalion or District who will help the young person plan what they are doing as well as review and support their work. Queen’s Badge Advisors have helped many young people to complete the award and will have a vast experience with invaluable guidance that will help a young person complete the award.

Their role is not that of an assessor, but they are there to use their experience alongside the Company Mentor to help the young person set their own targets and get the best out of the experience. Queen’s Badge Advisors will also provide support to Company Mentors and leaders who will be working with and supporting young people on a more regular basis, week to week. So, get in touch with your local Queen’s Badge Advisor to find out more about how they can support participants in your Company.

What is the Queen’s Badge Record Book?

On applying for the President’s Badge, the option is provided to register for the Queen’s Badge at that point and that is when the Queen’s Badge Record Book is sent out. The Queen’s Badge Record Book is really helpful in getting young people going and will provide lots of information to help support them, and it’s theirs to keep.

As part of the Candidates Conference, participants would start to complete the ‘My Action Plan’ part of the record book, which will set out what they are going to do for each element of the award. It is important to remember that the decisions made should always be led by the young person, and their programme of activity should reflect their goals and abilities.

Throughout the Queen’s Badge journey the Record Book will provide somewhere to keep a log of hours and record what’s been achieved, with space for the participant, assessor and Queen’s Badge Advisor to all include a report and feedback on each part of the award.

Key Tip!

The Queen’s Badge Record Book is the most common method for recording progress with the award, but participants may choose an alternative, such as blog or video. The most important aspect is that the participants planning, experiences and work is recorded.

What are the full requirements for the award?

The Queen’s Badge can be awarded from Year 3 in the Seniors age group, and it is the second of two Major Awards which can be gained in Seniors. The award can be started as soon as a young person has been awarded their President’s Badge. The award will usually be achieved in around 18-24 months, and the full requirements for the award can be found below:

  • Hold the President’s Badge
  • Attend a Candidate’s Conference
  • Participate in Skills-Based training (this could be a ‘Skills for Queen’s Badge Course or other appropriate training)
  • Take responsibility within the BB or Church (at least 30 hours)
  • Provide voluntary service or support to others outside the BB or Church (at least 30 hours)
  • Develop Interests (from at least two areas from Skills, Physical, Expedition, for either 3-6 months)
  • Complete ‘Faith Journey’ element
  • Participate in a Completion Residential
  • Record Activity

An Advisors & Mentors Guide is available along with other resources to help provide further guidance and support on every aspect of the award at boys-brigade.org.uk/queens-badge

What can young people do for each part of the award?

There are so many options and it really is down to the participant, and for each young person to decide what they want to do. Your Queen’s Badge Advisor will be able to help with suggestions and providing guidance on the suitability of specific activities. A great range of ideas for the developing interests’ (i.e. Skills, Physical & Expedition) and volunteering sections of the award can be found through the DofE website at dofe.org/do/ideas. The ideas here might help give some inspiration and will also give some ideas on what outcomes or goals a participant might set themselves. The Staged Awards which are part of the Company and Seniors Programmes will also provide a range of suitable activities that could be used.

Can a young person work towards their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award as well?

Yes, the Silver DofE Award requirements link up well to the requirements of the Queen’s Badge, so do consider how participants could potentially work towards both awards at the same time. Although it is important to recognise that there are differences and additional work that would be required to complete both awards. Check out guidance and support for running DofE within The Boys’ Brigade at: boys-brigade.org.uk/dofe-leaders

How do we apply for the Queen’s Badge?

Once the young person has completed the requirements of the award and their Record Book has been fully completed, a Company leader can apply for the award. As well as the young person themselves, the Queen’s Badge Advisor, Company Captain and those assessing sections of the award will all need to have completed relevant parts of the Record Book. The award will consist of a certificate signed by HM The Queen along with the Queen’s Badge which is worn by the young person and a presentation box. A miniature version of the Queen’s Badge will also be included which can be worn out of uniform. This will all be sent out to the Company leader for them to arrange a suitable occasion to present the award. Many Battalions or Districts organise annual Celebrations/Presentations of Major Awards, by dignitaries including Lord Lieutenants or Mayors which is a great way to recognise the achievements on a wider scale.

What next?

So, as we head towards the start of a new session consider how you could get your young people working towards our Major Awards. Perhaps as part of one of your first weekly meetings you could spend some time outlining the awards with your Seniors and give them the opportunity to start their Queen’s Badge journey (of course it would need to start with the President’s Badge!). Could you invite a Senior who has recently completed the award to talk about their experience and answer any questions? And if you don’t have anyone from your Company could you approach a neighbouring Company or alternatively speak to your Queen’s Badge Advisor who may be able to help.

Towards the start of the new session BB Headquarters will also be offering a number of ‘Getting Started on our Major Awards’ webinars, details on how to join us for one of those can be found at: boys-brigade.org.uk/leaders-workshops

If you do have any questions please get in touch with the Programme Team at BBHQ, by email at: programme@boys-brigade.org.uk or on 0300 303 4454

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