Scouting Activities and permits

There are hundreds of activities that scouts of all ages take part in every week. Some do have specific rules and guidelines to follow, such as needing a permit holder to lead them or to ensure that an external provider meets certain requirements. Contrary to what you may have heard there are very few banned activities and you don’t need a signed piece of paper for most things!

As a starting  point take a look at the running a section pages– designed to take you to all the information you need to run certain activities, or perhaps inspire you to try something new. Our activity related Active Support Units (click on logos on the right) can help with training and / or obtaining permits to help you to deliver some of the more practical skills. Whilst we hope it is not needed do check that relevant insurance is in place.

Information about the use of minibuses and trailers (and local Cambridgeshire Groups who have them available for hire) can be found in the Minibus and Trailer FAQ

Global activities and events are an important part of scouting and comes in many forms, from an environmental game on a section night through to travel around the world.

The Scout Association has a range of partners who provide support in the form of everything from discounts to activities linked to a badge, and there is something for every age group. There are also national initiatives such as  “A Million Hands”

Support is available here in Cambridgeshire Scouts to help you deliver scouting for all, with advice on everything from adapting badge work to additional support. Please just Get in Touch

Further programme inspiration

Looking for ideas for activities, games, camps and meetings?


  • take a look through the Scout Association’s programme planning tools

  • if your Section uses On-Line Scout Manager did you realise there are lots of activities, games and plans on there too? Just search for the one you like and add it straight into your term programme, badge requirements and all
  • visit our Market Place and see scouting owned places in Cambridgeshire to use for meetings, sleepovers and camps as well as resources you can hire or borrow (from minibuses to catering kit)
  • consider some of the Things to do in Cambridgeshire that you can take young people to, all tried and tested by local leaders just like you – why not combine it with a camp or sleepover
  • build contacts with other leaders in your Group and District. District meetings and events can be a great way to do so
  • arrange to visit other sections across Cambridgeshire to see what they get up to – perhaps arrange some joint events or offer to swap an evening you can run with one they could run for you.
  • invite older sections to run an activity for you – it shows young people taking the lead and acting as great role models it often covers badges for all involved
  • if you use Facebook join your District group, join the Cambridgeshire Scouts group or search for groups such as such as 1st Facebook Beavers / Cubs / Scouts / Explorers

Please don’t forget if you have a great activity or event you have run why not add it to one or more of those sites / pages / groups so that others can use your experiences to expand their programme too!

An introduction to the activity permit scheme

One of the main barriers to young people accessing the outdoor and adventure programme is volunteers’ understanding of what they need to do or have in order to undertake various activities.  This resource guides you through the steps required, from offering activities to gaining your own permit.
For any support in delivering an activity or to arrange an informal chat with the activities team about the sort of permit you would like to gain please just Get in Touch.

Searching for a permit holder or an assessor

It is really simple for anyone with access to COMPASS to search for an activity or Nights Away permit holder or assessor, but results will vary depending on your role. You should be able to see anyone who is in your “hierarchy”, so for example a Group Scout Leader will see all those in their Scout Group and their contact details whilst a Training Advisor can see the entire county. For everyone else, if the permit holder has set their account to “visible” you will see the name and District details.

If you have not used COMPASS in this way before then the Scout Association has produced a couple of handy guides, one for permit holder searches  and one for assessor searches
Should you still be unable to find the type of permit holder / assessor you are looking for please Get in Touch with the activities team, who will be able to help you.

Nights away permit scheme

The Nights Away Permit (NAP) scheme is designed to provide adults in scouting the chance to acquire and improve relevant skills, providing reassurance to parents and carers of the young people taking part that those leading nights away events have demonstrated their competence to do so.

There are 4 different types of NAP available (indoor, campsite, greenfield and lightweight expedition). Full details of the scheme and how permits are assessed are explained here.

To earn your first Nights Away Permit, or to renew an existing one, you will need to contact a Cambridgeshire Nights Away Advisor. This usually someone in your own District.

Once you have earned your Nights Away Permit you will need to submit a Nights Away Notification (NAN) form for each event. Any relevant Nights Away Permit holder can consider issuing a Nights Away Passport, to allow trusted and responsible Scouts or Explorer Scouts to lead a nights’ away event without an adult. Both forms are available towards the bottom of this linked page.

Nights Away FAQs and Notification Form

The Scouts have published answers to various questions that crop up during planning for a Nights Away event. Check them out here

Once you have earned your Nights Away Permit you will need to submit a Nights Away Notification (NAN) form at least 7 days before each event to obtain your District Commissioner’s (or their nominee’s) approval before the event goes ahead. 

Ratios of adults to young people

This is one of the most common queries when planning some events and activities.
Young Leaders working with Beavers, Cubs or Scouts do not have to be counted in the ratios but neither can they be counted as an “adult”.
Take a look at this simple summary for more details

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls