Trail Cards 2.0: The Breakdown

Is your Section suffering from the winter blues? Are your Troop Leaders struggling to find activities to do during the cold, dark months of winter? Are you tired of your Cub Scouts suggesting dodgeball every time you ask for activity ideas? Try using our newly revitalized Trail Cards to kick-start your planning and say goodbye to a dull winter and hello to great new youth-led programming!

Trail Cards serve as idea starters for Scouting youth. The objective of a Trail Card should be to provide an engaging and fun adventure for youth to do. They should be memorable and interesting whether they serve as a one-off activity, or extend into a larger project and are designed in a way that allows youth to take the lead on the activity.

Trail Cards are meant to be simple guides to get youth excited about adventures rather than a technical manual. They naturally help youth to follow our program, The Canadian Path, and so they focus on being supremely youth-led and linked to various Program Areas.

Each Trail Card offers a framework for an activity, which allows youth to design the activity the way they want to and the way that best suits them. You don’t even have to use the activity as it’s written – they can be used to give your youth some fresh new ideas. Trail Cards should be chosen, read and carried out by youth. They allow wiggle room to take a fun activity idea and make it their own!

This fall, we updated the design and look of Trail Cards to reflect the needs of Scouts and Scouters, and to increase their use, popularity and functionality. The most notable change to the format includes replacing Section-specific Trail Cards with “levels.” This allows youth to have the opportunity to engage with the materials in the way that they decide fits their goals or desires – regardless of their age.

As such, there are now three levels:

Discover

These activities promote understanding of a concept or skill, serving as an entry point to an idea or activity. They are usually fit for small groups and done in a shorter amount of time.

Explore

This level will have more challenging activities for youth to apply a concept or skill, and include a larger audience beyond partner or small group work. These may take more planning in larger groups, and could take a whole meeting.

Act

These ideas will be larger and more complex projects to encourage youth to share a concept to a wider audience and inform others. These may take a significant amount of time, such as a season, and require more steps, responsibilities and planning.

TIP: Use the acronym IDEA to help remember the involvement/engagement levels.

I = Involvement à D = Discover, E = Explore, and A = Act

Additionally, to add even further depth to the youth-led experience, the Trail Cards now include a Try This area, with a ‘Keep It Simple’ and a ‘Take It Further’ tip, to provide more opportunities to make each activity unique and accessible to all. These provide ideas on how to change the difficulty of the activity – whether to make it easier or slightly more challenging – so that all youth can enjoy the adventure.

The new template also reflects the following changes:

  • The creation of Scouter and Youth Tips to provide more context
  • Labels outlining how long an activity will take (meeting, several meetings or season) – marked by a symbol (timer, hourglass or calendar) for easy recognition
  • Trail Cards are now aligned with the Scouts for Sustainability initiative; the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are included in the top right corner to connect the activity to build a better world
  • Finally, all Trail Cards are now the same size – a half page, double-sided – for easy printing, transporting and reading

If you haven’t had a chance try out the Trail Cards already available, check them out here. All Trail Cards for the Head Safe program were created in the new format. Keep your eye out on the Trail Cards webpage for more new and exciting ideas in the coming months!

See below for more details about the new Trail Card format.

New Trail Cards

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