The Star Awards is a Troop and Patrol management and self-evaluation system which is also used to recognise Troops and Patrols who are meeting the Aims of SCOUTS South Africa. The Scout methods used are the tools that make scouting different from any other youth organization. The Star Awards also serve as an essential tool for Scouters, DC's and Regional Support Team Members to identify areas where support is needed.
The Star Awards take account of the activities completed between 1 January and 31 December every year.
Star Awards Timetable
|October of previous year||Court of Honour, with Troop Scouter agree on Star Award goals for the following year.|
|May/June||Regional Support Team Member Scouts (RSTM) or DC visits each Troop and assists with first self-assessment evaluation.
Patrol Leaders and the Troop Scouter are guided on how to improve and overcome any challenges in order to achieve their goal for the year. These results are entered into the "1st Eval" column on the evaluation form.
|July/August||Requirements discussed by DC with Troop Scouters at District Meeting.|
|November/December||The second assessment is carried out by the RSTM or DC. Results are entered in the second column with comments and venues of hikes, etc. in the "comments and details" column.|
|7 December||Deadline for completed forms to be received from by the Regional Team Coordinator (RTC): Scout Programme. The RTC checks the forms, compiles
summary spreadsheet and records the results for their strategic planning for the next year.
|21 December||Deadline for completed spreadsheet along with comments from RTC SP to be received by the Chair: National Scout Programme.|
|31 December||Final Deadline for completed spreadsheet to be sent by the Chair: National Scout Programme to the National office for processing.|
|Early February||National Office will issue Certificates in time for BP day parade. Badges will follow.|
|LATE ENTRY TIMETABLE (Awards will not be available for BP day parade)|
|31 January||Late entry deadline for completed forms to be received by the Regional Team Coordinator (RTC): Scout Programme. The RTC checks the forms, compiles
summary spreadsheet and records the results for their strategic planning for the next year.
|15 February||Late entry deadline for completed spreadsheet along with comments from RTC SP to be received by the Chair: National Scout Programme.|
|25 February||Final Deadline for completed spreadsheet to be sent by the Chair: National Scout Programme to the National office for processing|
|March||National Office produces additional certificates and all Badges.|
All troops and patrols started before March of the year are automatically part of the year's evaluations. Troops or Patrols that commence after March have the following options open to them.
- They may send in a form and will receive only a participation certificate irrespective of which award they achieve in the evaluations
- They may send in a form to be included in the year's evaluation and will then become eligible for an award. This is a Court of Honour decision and if adopted, the new patrols evaluation become part the troop's annual evaluation for the year. This is regardless of the award achieved by the patrol.
- Every Troop and Patrol must be evaluated and the relevant forms completed. SSA has indicated that this evaluation is vital for the monitoring and ongoing development of the Scout Programme and has recommended that should there be any reluctance from a Troop to be inspected, the reason for this should be investigated by the DC and RTC: Scout Programme.
- The DC or Scout Programme Support Team Member should carry out the two evaluations as part of their quarterly troop visits.
- It is recommended that the same evaluator should carry out both evaluations.
- The Troop Scouter may not carry out an evaluation of his own Troop.
- The evaluation form should be used as a guide for ongoing discussion between the Patrol Leaders, Troop Scouters, the District and the RTC Scout Programme.
- The comment column must be used for details of successes and shortcomings, which should be discussed in detail with the Patrol Leaders and Troop Scouter.
Purpose and overview of the Star Award programme
The purpose is to assess and review:
- The implementation of the scout programme within the Troop and its Patrols;
- The methods for the implementation of the programme;
- The requirements and interpretation of the award at each level: Patrol, Troop.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Star Awards
When will the star award forms be available to troops?
Troop forms will be available from your Regional headquarters by the end of June. They are also available to download from the national Web site, scouts.org.za
how does a Troop start the evaluation for the Award?
Troop leadership will meet with their assigned commissioner or a district-level volunteer to review the Troop's programme and establish programme objectives. This should be done prior to the start of the new scout year (1st January).
When will Troops & Patrols be able to qualify to earn the award?
When all requirements are completed beginning no earlier than 1 January. Regions have until 21 January to post the Troop's achievement to SAHQ. Certificates will be available from the 14 February.
How will the criteria for the award be distributed and explained to all Regions, districts, and Troop leadership?
National will establish an implementation schedule. The programme details include commitment forms for Troops, districts, and regions; training agendas; and Troop action planning meeting support.
Are there other ways to learn about the Star Award programme?
The programme explanation can be found on the Web site scouts.org.za; or in most scout literature.
When will the recognition items be available?
All recognition items for each year will be available starting in 1st February the following year.
Does a Patrol or Troop have to meet all of the award criteria to earn the Gold award?
Yes, for the Troop Award they do have to qualify for all criteria in order to achieve the gold award. Patrol Award has one option item. Either item 14 or 15 must be completed.
On the Troop Records section, must all sections be answered yes to get gold award?
Yes. But only two sections are required for Bronze (3 for Silver).
Can I obtain an electronic version of the Star Awards form?
Yes, you can download it from scouts.org.za
What qualifies as an outdoor programme or activity per month?
Each Troop establishes a goal at the beginning of the year on the number of outdoor events or other activities. Normal Troop meetings cannot be counted as "outdoor activities", even if they are held outdoors. For this section of the Star Awards, the term "Outdoor Activity" refers to activities held away from the usual meeting place, and which are not run as usual meetings. They could include hiking, treasure hunts, wide games, etc.
How is recruitment of new adults defined?
Commitment and involvement by more registered adults is the overall goal. The training provided to them is critical in engaging them in better support of the programme. Each Troop should provide an annual orientation for all parents. As a part of the National Parent Initiative, a suggested list of specific tasks has been developed to involve more parents and adults in the programme.
What happens if a new Patrol Leader takes over just before the inspection?
The Star Awards is based on the Patrol / Troop in its current state. For example, when looking at the PL's Advancement, one cannot aggregate between 2 PL's over the year. This implies that special planning needs to take place at the beginning of the scout year to ensure successful succession in Patrols.
How do I count scouts as some have left, and some have joined
For the Star Awards, you need to work on the current scouts who are in the Troop at the date of the inspection. When counting Advancements or Interest Badges earned, one can use add the number of badges earned that year divided by the number of scouts at assessment date and get an average.
How does SSA support the achievement of this award at the Troop and Patrol level
- The Scout Programme Support Team Member holds an action planning meeting with each troop. If a Scout Programme Support Team Member is unavailable, the resources of a DC or other key district staff or Regional team member can be used to ensure that every troop has this meeting.
- At the Troop action-planning meeting, use the Star Award evaluations form and the Troop self- assessment tool as a guide in developing goals for the Troop to achieve in the year ahead.
- Ensuring that the Scout Programme Support Team Member or a designated volunteer completes and submits the completed form by the determined deadline for every Troop & Patrol.
- Based on the outcome of the preliminary and final assessment, each district should compile a list of action items that are needed to assist its Troops to achieve the award. The Team should develop the list as a work plan for the district team in the months ahead. The progress should be reviewed monthly, at district Scouters councils and district team meetings, to ensure that the actions needed to provide support to the Troops are being implemented.
- The goal should be to improve the quality of the scout programme and help every Troop in the district to qualify each year for the Award.
Purpose of evaluation meeting
This can be used as an agenda for the meeting:
- To evaluate the Troop's progress toward achieving a Star Troop Award.
- To review the Troop's goals, successes, and vision for the coming year.
- To identify any areas of improvement—leadership, programme, and membership.
- To determine any specific actions needed to assist with Troop improvements and determine who will follow up on those actions.
- To schedule any necessary follow-up to monitor progress.
When to conduct the evaluation and feedback meetings
- After the Scout Programme Support Team Member / DC has visited the Troop for the first evaluation.
- Annually, to review strengths and areas of improvement to help provide direction for needed support, preferably after the final review prior to your annual planning for the year ahead.
- As needed when a problem may be identified.
How should the arrangements for this meeting be set up
- The Scout Programme Support Team Member /DC speaks to the Troop Scouter during the first Troop visit to schedule the meeting date, time, and location.
- The dialogue should include approaching the Troop Scouter after the meeting and requesting that a second meeting be set up with the Troop Scouter and the Troop's Patrol Leaders.
- Setting the meeting, preferably at the Troop meeting place or hall.
- Asking them to complete the Troop self-assessment tool prior to the meeting
- Letting them know the visit will include a discussion of the self-assessment tool and how the goals and vision of their Troop's programme can be supported
Why should only the Scout Programme Support Team Member / DC, Troop Scouters Attend
- It provides a small group to analyse the programme, their Troop's needs, and steps to be taken to help resolve any issues.
- It helps create a dialogue between the Troop and the district. Once they meet and determine what needs to be done, others can be involved in helping to determine in which direction to go and any potential improvements that can be identified.
What preparation should be made prior to the action planning meeting
Review the statistics of the Troop available from the district and the district team, especially to review:
- Star Award achievements from the previous year
- Outdoor programme participation
- Advancement reports
- Trained leadership status
- Child Protection training
- Participation in district and regional events
- Attendance register
- Complete the Troop self-assessment tool during the visit to determine areas that need improvement and those the Troop felt that they need help with as you support the Troop during the year in the achievement of their goals.