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Create a health and wellbeing badge for Girl Guides and Boy Scouts UPDATED JAN 30th

We cannot overlook the importance of kids when looking at preventative health and how we can create healthy communities. Creating a Health and Wellbeing Badge for Scouts/Guides would reward millions of kids for fostering healthier communities.

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Written by DeletedUser

Creating a Health and Wellbeing Badge for Scouts/Guides would reward kids for fostering healthier communities. The World Organization of the Scout Movement has over 32 million members as of December 2010 and there are 161 countries with recognised national Scout organizations. The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts has over 10 million members as of December 2010 in 145 countries. This means that by creating a Health and Wellbeing Badge for kids to work towards, we could engage over 40 million kids in improving their Health and Wellbeing!

What are the benefits of your concept for the individual and the employer?

Many employees have children who are Scouts/Guides and/or have been Scouts/Guides themselves. It is a global organsation that many of us can connect to on some level, so an initiative with these groups to create healthy communities within and beyond the workplace is something that would resonate with many individuals and employers. Employers could set up Health and Wellbeing Days for Scouts/Guides to come into their offices and learn about Health and Wellbeing in the workplace or sponsor Scout/Guide wellbeing activities in the community, perhaps including their own employees.

What might the impact of your concept be and how might it be measured?

To start, the initiative could be measured by take up (i.e. how many Scouts/Guides work towards their badge) and health and wellbeing case studies from the Scouting community. We could also have a Health and Wellbeing brand ambassador to represent the badge to the Scouts on either a national or global scale, for example a sports celebrity like Mo Farah, David Beckham or Lionel Messi. We’d look to organisations to sponsor health and wellness days toward earning scout badges, and enlist a reward system. In terms of rewards, Meena says: Digging the notion that this badge might seed the idea that wellness is a community focused endeavour over a personal one. Points might be given for things like getting 2 or more friends onboard to do a weekly exercise activity, creating healthy snacks to share, making posters on specific aspects of wellness with a tie up to display in a local supermarket etc.

How might your concept be designed to scale and spread to reach as many people as possible?

Hopefully it could be launched with the intent for it to be rolled out on a global scale with a large impact across all communities with Scouts/Guides. We're interested in both physical and mental health, so there could be elements to the badge that address elf-reflection and analysis as a part of the healthy, whole person. Another focus would be on helping others make healthier changes – this could help grow the reach of our badge rather than just making the Boy Scouts or Girl Guide healthier

How might you design a small experiment around your concept that would mobilise action?

Start with the Scouts Association in the UK or US then rollout the project across other markets! We'd ensure that the metrics for "earning" the badge be very carefully chosen with kids in mind.

Evaluation results

9 evaluations so far

1. Is this concept addressing clear health needs for users?

Indeed! It’s addressing an unmet need in a new way - 55.6%

Yep – it’s addressing a need but in an already crowded space - 11.1%

It’s not clear to see how this idea would significantly improve people’s health - 33.3%

2. Overall how do you feel about this concept?

This concept rocked my world - 11.1%

I liked it but prefered others - 55.6%

It didn't get my overly excited. - 33.3%

3. Does this concept feel like it could potentially be sustained as a business or movement over years rather than just months?  Does it feel like it will continue to be relevant in the future?

This concept has enough momentum to stand on its own two feet and remain relevant for years to come - 44.4%

It’s not clear how long it would take for this concept to stand on its own feet or how it will continue – but there’s reason to feel hopeful - 33.3%

This concept may have trouble sustaining itself in the long-run and stay relevant - 22.2%

4. How easy would it be for people to get involved and improve their health with this idea?

Very easy. It's clear how people could get involved quickly in this concept - 55.6%

I'm not sure if I can grasp how people could get involved easily - 22.2%

It seems challenging for people to get involved quickly in this concept - 22.2%

5. Does this concept have the potential to reach large numbers of people?

Sure. I could imagine this would spread like wild fire - 33.3%

It's interesting but feels like it would be slow or challenging to grow - 44.4%

It seems somewhat limited in scope - 22.2%

36 comments

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Photo of Fei Xin
Team

Great concept! It would be benefit for have a healthy lifestyle.

Photo of Meena Kadri
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Fab thoughts on engaging youth, Sarah! Perhaps folks might be interested in this Healthy Lifestyles Girl Guide Badge: http://www.girlguiding.org.uk/guides/gfibadge/badges/healthylifestyles.html With still over 3 weeks in Concpeting – we're keen for folks to build on this idea and evolve it even further. Looking forward to seeing where things go...

Photo of Mark Longchamps
Team

I like the whole concept of some kind of an app to keep track of what they are doingto be heathier. Most kids have some kind of phone/tablet and they are using them every day anyway. Boys do love their gadgets and an app that could keep track of what they eat, how many kids they can get on board with the program or even better, and app that can count how many steps they take in a day are all things that can make this "fun." And it would be a delicious irony that some kind of Cub Scout Fitness app on a phone or tablet can make them healthy by keeping track of their activities all day.

Photo of OpenIDEO
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Congrats on being shortlisted to the Top 20 for our Workplace Wellness Challenge!

Our expert panel asked how might this be different from the existing sport related badges? Think about how this could extend beyond the individual to the community to spur behaviour change.

Read more on how to get involved with our Refinement phase: http://bit.ly/oi_refine And here's some tips on refining specifically for this challenge: http://bit.ly/wellwork-tips Ready, steady, refine!

Photo of DeletedUser
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DeletedUser

My experience is in the Boy Scouts side of the discussion. From personal experience and the extended list at meritbadge.org,

http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Merit_Badges#List_of_current_Merit_Badges

The list of existing merit badges that seem like they would include partial aspects of this concept are Athletics, Cooking, Family Life and Personal Fitness. Some of the Citizenship in the * badges, as well as the sport-specific badges (as identified by the panel) may be more or less related to this topic as well.

What sort of holistic approach could be different in a Health and Wellbeing badge than Personal Fitness, Athletics, etc.? Alternatively, how could changes be made to existing badges to improve on incumbent education that they provide? Are there conflicts or edge cases that we would need to resolve between a new badge and existing curricula?

What challenges might be faced by proposing the idea to the national committees for education in each organization? What challenges to encourage Guides and Scouts to pursue the badge?

How does the process to provide this new experience for Boy Scouts differ from the approach to providing for Girl Guides/Scouts?


Just thinking about some questions :-) Great prompt!

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DeletedUser

I agree. As an Eagle Scout, I think the BSA's Personal Fitness merit badge already really fulfills the intent here. Maybe another approach would be to update the requirements to emphasize nutrition as a component of fitness.

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DeletedUser

Definitely - or it could even look at mental health as well, so kids are taking a hollistic approach to their health. Maybe it could include tasks like not playing on video games or playing outside for an hour each day - simple stuff kids used to do but now don't?

Photo of Mark Longchamps
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Or they could modify the existing Cooking merit badge (which is a requirement to advance) to talk more about nutrition.

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DeletedUser

Neat idea, Sarah!

I'd be curious about how you'd work to make the badge FUN. There are tons of health promotion efforts targeted at kids in the US, and most strike as having been designed by boring adults.

There's definitely a status pressure to badges in scouting (not necessarily a bad thing!), but the most significant motivator at the end of the day will always be fun. That's why when I was a Scout it was all about the Knife Skills badge: because what's cooler than knives?!

One thought I have is to be intentional that the metrics for "earning" the badge be very carefully chosen with kids in mind. Sit-ups? Not going to do it. Lightsaber dueling? Heck, sign ME up! Also recommended: fort-building, obstacle course, and break-dancing.

Cooking could also be a fun part of of the badge, since diet and nutrition is an un-ignorable part of the big health picture. What recipes can be designed with kids' tastes in mind? Barilla Plus cheddar shells with mini broccoli? Raisin-cashew-flax oatmeal bars? Low-fat yogurt smoothies with honey, strawberries and spirulina?

Photo of Meena Kadri
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Fab builds with youth users firmly in mind, Chris!

Photo of DeletedUser
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DeletedUser

Thanks Chris - I wonder if badges now exist in digital versions. Would Scouts/Guides be able to show their friends online that they've received a badge (i.e. posted on their FB profiles, although they may too young to have a FB account). I wonder if we could create more of a wellbeing badge for everyone - inspired by Guides/Scouts - that you could have on your FB page/twitter/etc. to demonstrate your commitment to health. What does everyone think?

Photo of DeletedUser
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DeletedUser

Love the idea!

I strongly agree Chris, a lot of youth initiatives have that 'designed by adults' vibe. The key is to keep the 'fun' in it.

I think part of this will be branding the badge(s) as something other than ' Health and Wellbeing Badge'. Kids have the perception that when something is meant to be good for them it tastes bad or is boring.

I think having badges that focus on specific actionable items that are fun (and happen to support Health and Wellbeing), like Chris's suggested: 'obstacle course', 'break dancing' badges. Will help with kids adoption of them because it focuses on what drives them: fun.

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DeletedUser

Definitely - I love the idea of using light sabers to get kids active - a focus on fun is definitely the way to go! I'm not sure if we could call it a Fun Badge though!

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DeletedUser

Fun is crucial, absolutely. It seems like a challenge would be making something fun, and also finding a way to tie it to lasting lesson and actions.

Finding ways to make fun the sugar that helps them take the medicine, so to speak.

Is anyone on the thread an educator or have experience in pedagogy?

Photo of Mark Longchamps
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I am an Eagle Scout and my son is now in Cub Scouts. The scouts actually do a lot of this kind of health and fitness type of stuff, but the idea to put on FB what badges they have earned is fantastic and I am going to suggest that at the next meeting. The kids would love it. However, that means they would be in front of the computer more which may defeat the point of the fitness badge! We used to have a Cub Scout Olympics and all the kids loved that. And when they go camping, they are always running around and going on hikes. I must say being in scouts you do a lot of physical activities that are mostly fun.

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DeletedUser

In general it seems that Scouts programs promote personal health I think what really distinguishes this new badge from other badges available is the goal of getting other people involved in healthy activities. I see a huge benefit in having this badge focused on spreading health rather than just being healthy.

Photo of David Bradley
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Maybe it's a Community Health badge rather than just a simple health badge. Scouts is a pretty healthy org in general but I like the idea of angling it toward spreading vs. just individual health.

Photo of James Robertson
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This is a great concept! And is gratifying to see that there appears to be evidence of badges that fulfill health and fitness agendas already available. Perhaps less so on the mental health angle though - definitely room to introduce mindfulness/meditation at a younger age to avoid the 'hippy' stigma that is still attached to it in places.

Perhaps also the Duke of Edinburgh's award scheme could be another area to look into; health and fitness already plays a large part of it, with long walks involved. I don't know enough about it to go into detail, but looking closely how the health, well-being and community aspects of this existing scheme can be magnified might be worthwhile.

With D of E there is also a planning aspect; it's all very well learning to cook, meditate or excercise, but how do you make them sustainable habits that you stick with for life?

Photo of DeletedUser
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DeletedUser

As a refinement topic: Within the Boy Scouts, what are the pros and cons of 1: proposing a new badge and 2: proposing programming modifications to one or more existing badge?

Also, are there more options to figure into the equation?

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DeletedUser

1. Proposing a new badge (just a few to start)

+ Adds to the breadth of health-related activities a Scout might explore.
+ A brand-new vehicle for health/wellness choice learning allows greater programming design freedom.
+ A new badge may be exciting or enticing, increasing the desire to pursue and earn the badge.
+ A single merit badge could be designed to be encompassing enough to be flagged as a Required for Eagle badge.

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DeletedUser

2. Modifying existing badges

+ An opportunity to update out-of-date or incorrect concepts.
+ The barriers to success may be lower.
+ Updates particularly to existing Required badges would ensure the maximum number of Scouts may benefit from the new material and activities.
+ The network of available Merit Badge Counselors for an existing badge will be larger than a new badge. (The Scout needs to find a merit badge counselor to mentor them in earning the badge. Some less popular or new badges may have few or no counselors near the Scout, barring them from earning it.)

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DeletedUser

*...may initially be larger than a new badge.

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DeletedUser

Agreed - it might be interesting to rebrand an existing badge so it is modified for kids today, rather than creating an entirely new one. I like the idea of it being a holistic badge - so it encompasses not just a kid's physical wellbeing but perhaps mental too?

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DeletedUser

Mental concerns are a good aspect to consider. I wish I had more experience from the Girl Scouts/Guides side of the table to think about both.

But, from the Boy Scouts side, "[...] and to keep myself Physically Strong, Mentally Awake, and Morally Straight." ends the Scout Oath.

The mental aspect is addressed in the outward sense, though the Citizenship, Lifesaving and other badges, but introspective mental health is absent from the core badges (it's been a decade since I achieved my Eagle Scout award, though, so that may have changed since).

It would be very interesting to approach the topic of self-reflection and analysis as a part of the healthy, whole person. Especially if there's a way to make it fun and interesting like Chris brought up below!

Photo of Sheryle Gillihan
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I love the idea of organizations sponsoring health and wellness days toward earning scout badges! Too often, I'm responsible for steering our troop's curriculum and providing the girls with guidance on earning certain badges. This type of program would involve the families in the planning, guidance and the activities. Also, to get an employer's support on a family oriented activity like this is a perk and something that shows they are willing to invest in their people.

Photo of DeletedUser
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DeletedUser

Great idea - with so many companies hosting away days for employees to give back to the community, this could be a great way to match up interests!

Photo of DeletedUser
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DeletedUser

Great idea!

Photo of Will McGrath
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Great thoughts Sarah! I remember when I was younger, a lot of my friends were scouts, brownies, etc (I didn't as I was part of various sports groups) and they all came out with very positive experiences.

The role models and reward system works very well and and great results can be seen with children. What sort of tasks would the children have to take part in and what would would their rewards be?

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DeletedUser

Perhaps they could help create healthier communities (i.e. start up a recycling programme) or demonstrate that they use active transport to get to work (i.e. cycling) or that they've make healthy choices at lunchtime. Kids could track their progress via an app and earn healthy points towards their badge with every action. Perhaps this could be a good way to encourage micro-wellbeing i.e. making wellbeing part of your daily live, just in small bits! What does everyone think?

Photo of Nathan Waterhouse
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Sarah I love this thread - maybe also you could evolve your idea to make it more about helping others make healthier changes vs making the Girl Guide healthier? I think that would help this idea really scale too. You can update your concept by hitting 'update entry' above.

Photo of Meena Kadri
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Great build Nathan! Digging the notion that this badge might seed the idea that wellness is a community focused endeavour over a personal one. Points might be given for things like getting 2 or more friends onboard to do a weekly exercise activity, creating healthy snacks to share, making posters on specific aspects of wellness with a tie up to display in a local supermarket etc.

Photo of DeletedUser
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DeletedUser

Thanks Nathan - yes, I like the idea about the badge being about the scout helping someone else make a positive change to their health. As children can be a huge motivator for adults to change, perhaps the Scout o Guide can buddy up with someone in their community when they are doing something healthy themselves or take someone out for a walk who wouldn't normally go, cook someone a healthy meal, etc. What does everyone think?

Photo of OpenIDEO
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Nice one on taking someone for a walk who couldn't normally go. Reminds me of this concept: http://www.openideo.com/open/well-work/concepting/on-your-way-home/ and maybe's there's goodness from that idea that you could cross-pollinate to this one as you build your idea out. What other thoughts do folks have for what kinds of things could be included in the earning of this badge? (Sarah – you can also put this call-out at the bottom of your actual post so folks who are new to your concept page know what you're looking for. Often passersby miss questions going on in the comments section. Then you can revise the post to include all the best builds ahead of our Evaluation phase. Here's more tips: http://bit.ly/oi_refine)

Photo of Meena Kadri
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Oops! Sorry – the comment above was from me but I posted under the OpenIDEO admin by mistake :^)

Photo of DeletedUser
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DeletedUser

Love this concept! The involvement of kids is really interesting and could quite easily become global in creating healthier communities. Great work

Photo of DeletedUser
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DeletedUser

I love this Sarah. Along the lines of engaging with kids and reaching out to the wider community, I like the idea of workplaces inviting schools or local groups, like the scouts, in for a gym class in the gym or a meeting room, or for a healthy meal in the cafeteria. This could work really well for schools with limited facilities and could be connected to a mentoring or reading scheme between the schools and employees. Perhaps workplaces could demonstrate their own healthy initiatives so that kids know what to look for when they start at work!