Special Interest Areas

Why Special Interest Areas?

Special Interest Areas (SIAs) encourage Scouts from all Sections to try new things and pursue existing interests. Scouts set their own goals in one of the six SIAs, enabling them to design a project that interests and challenges them personally.

SIAs give young people ownership of their own development. Research tells us that this is important to learning success. SIAs build upon skills such as creativity, independence, and problem-solving. Special Interest Areas teach Scouts to set, plan towards, and achieve goals. SIAs projects are deliberately open-ended and designed to meet the individual needs of each Scout.

The SIAs provide scope for adaptability and future proofing of the Achievement Pathways. For example, when new and emerging technologies are developed, they can easily be pursued by Scouts without having to create new SIAs.

What are the Special Interest Areas?

Adventure & Sport

Creating a Better World

Growth & Development

Arts & Literature


STEM & Innovation

What does a Special Interest Area project look like?

They are broad, encouraging Scouts to pursue a diversity of interests and to ensure any activity a Scout could possibly think of can be included. Outcomes are always measured against an individual’s personal best. Scouts use Plan>Do>Review> to set and achieve their goals.

When proposing a SIA project, Scouts should take into account: 

  • their personal interests.
  • new challenges they want to explore or things they want to learn.
  • the skills they have and skills they may need to develop to achieve their goal.
  • their existing level of knowledge.
  • their experience and that of those around them who may be able to help them with their goal.
  • if they think they might need a Subject Matter Expert to help them with their goal.
  • which SIA category their project best fits into (keeping in mind there is overlap between some of the SIAs).

Unit Councils are best placed to assess the existing skills, knowledge and abilities of members to ensure they are being appropriately challenged by their proposed SIA project.
For more on the role of Unit Councils, see our SIA FAQs.

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