Special Interest Areas FAQs

How do I get an idea for a SIA project?

You are only limited by your own imagination when creating a SIA project but if you need some help getting started try one of these suggestions:

  • Expand existing interests
  • Gain inspiration from school/work/hobbies/past camps/events
  • What is something you have always wanted to do/learn more about/work on?
  • Look at the Matrix of Project Suggestions in the Guide to Special Interest Areas
  • Try using to Special Interest Area Flowchart tool
  • Work with your Patrol or Unit to brainstorm ideas
  • Review past programs you have enjoyed as a source of inspiration
  • Check out the Scouts Victoria Events page for upcoming opportunities

How do I set goals for my SIA project?

Try to make sure your SIA goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based

You can use the Youth Record Book for your section, the SIA Planning Tool within Scouts Terrain or the Project Planning and Development Tool for your section (Joey Scouts and Cub Scouts or Scouts, Venturer Scouts and Rover Scouts) to help you structure your SIA project plan and goals.

It is important that your goals are challenging for you so you should consider your own skills, experience and interests when setting goals. An SIA project is about your own personal progression so your goals will probably be very different to another Scouts even if they are doing a similar activity.

What are the time requirements for a SIA project?

Minimum time requirements for an SIA project are dependent on the section:

  • Joey Scouts - 2 hours
  • Cub Scouts - 4 hours
  • Scouts - 8 hours
  • Venturer Scouts - 12 hours
  • Rover Scouts - 18 hours

Who can I ask for help?

If you need specific help or knowledge to complete your SIA project, reach out to someone in your network who might be able to support you. Unit Councils can also help you identify this person/people.

A subject matter expert could be anyone with knowledge or expertise in your area of interest including:

  • A fellow Scout
  • Scouts in section above (or below!)
  • Adult Leaders
  • A parent
  • A member of the community
  • Teacher or tutor
  • Coaches
  • or anyone else you can think of!

If there is no one in your immediate network to assist you, contact sia@scoutsvictoria.com.au to help you find a subject matter expert for your project.

How do I do the Review for my SIA project?

At the conclusion of an SIA project you should take the opportunity to review your progress against the goals you set at the commencement of the task. You should also consider how the project has helped you develop in each of the SPICES.

  • Social
  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Character
  • Emotional
  • Spiritual

You might feel that you did not achieve your goals or reach your personal best. You might realise that your goals were not challenging enough, or too challenging for your current abilities. That's okay! Reflecting on these things will help you to set better goals next time you do an SIA.

The tools you used for your project planning and goal setting will also assist you with the Review process.

Make sure you share your project with your Patrol or Unit and celebrate your successes.

What happens if a Scout doesn't achieve the goals they set?

If a Scout doesn't achieve their SIA project goal, this doesn’t mean they can’t be recognised for their achievements. This is where the Review> phase is extra important.

If a genuine learning experience has still occurred, there should be no qualms about recognising personal progression with the awarding of the Special Interest Areas badge. The Unit Council should consider this carefully.

What is the role of the Unit Council?

Unit Councils should...

  • meet often enough to ensure that they are able to review SIA projects
  • review and approve at commencement and conclusion of projects
  • ensure appropriate challenge level for individuals
  • build a database of project ideas and supporters that can be called upon
  • be encouraging and supportive to all members.

The members of the Unit Council should make sure they have read the role of the Unit Council as outlined in the Guide to Special Interest Areas.

 

Can SIA projects be counted towards other parts of the Achievement Pathway?

Yes, but...

There is nuance here – it possible but it is not the intent of SIAs.

SIAs are not designed to be a whole unit activity, they are more specific to each individual and are driven by a specific interest.
Weekly program (where Participates, Assists & Leads are earned) is designed for the whole unit, and is created by youth members using the Challenge Areas.

Special Interest Areas are about

  • Individual personal development and growth
  • Individual interests and pursuits
  • Goal setting

Participates, Assists and Leads (weekly Unit program)

  • Develop leadership skills
  • Drive diverse unit program

 

Further to this, Outdoor Adventure Skills is the development of the technical skill. An Outdoor Adventure Skill may be acquired as part of an SIA project but the project will need to include more than just attaining an appropriate level of Outdoor Adventure Skill in a particular area.

What are the SIA requirements for a Peak Award?

Section

Number of Special Interest Area projects

How many areas

Hours duration for each project

Joey Scouts

6

2

At least 2 hours each

Cub Scouts

6

2

At least 4 hours each

Scouts

6

3

At least 8 hours each

Venturer Scouts

6

3

At least 12 hours each

Rover Scouts

6

4

At least 18 hours each

Can I start my SIA project right now?

You can start planning and setting goals for your next SIA project any time but remember to get your Unit Council to review your project before you progress from the Plan stage to the Do stage.

In regard to the time requirements for SIA projects, does the time required to complete the project include Plan>Do>Review?

In general, yes it can count as part of the overall contribution to the SIA project for all Sections.

That considered, think more about the effort being invested rather than the hours contributed. For some projects, an individual might contribute less than the specified amount, and others much more. The Unit Council should feel comfortable in making that assessment.

Who signs off a project? Leaders? Does it get sent to District/Region/Branch?

Unit Councils.

Unit Councils review and approve an individual's project at the commencement and conclusion of a SIA project.

We have a large Unit. If every youth member puts forward an SIA project proposal, how can a Unit Council review and approval all the projects without the meeting going all night?

Not all youth members will pursue SIA projects (but we'd love it if they did!). Those that do won't all have projects for approval all at the same time. It's also important for Unit Councils to meet often to ensure backlogs of SIA project proposals develop. This doesn't always need to be a formal meeting - the proposal could be pitched to a few members of the Unit Council at the start or end of the regular Unit activity or discussed over email or chat during the week!

If our Scouts are happy and engaged in weekly program underpinned by the challenge areas and SPICES, undertaking Milestones and Participates, Assists and Leads, we are happy if they are happy!

Can Scouts wear more than six badges on their uniform?

Yes.

Scouts can wear any SIA badges they achieve. Whether that is more than one badge from more than one category (eg. If they complete to seperate STEM and Innovation projects, they can wear two STEM and Innovation badges) or they have completed a SIA project in each of the six categories.

Remember: there is no requirement to complete a project in each of the six SIA categories.

Do SIAs travel between the Sections? Ie. when a Cub Scout moves up to Scouts, do they keep their completed SIAs or start afresh?

Our youth members have the opportunity to develop new SIA goals and projects to develop their existing knowledge or do something new! A new Section means a blank canvas for them to develop completely new goals and projects or advance their skills and knowledge further on a topic they are passionate about.

Is there an easy way to enter SIA projects in bulk on Terrain?

There is no bulk upload function for SIA projects because SIA projects are about an individual’s goals and will differ Scout to Scout.

For more information/support of SIAs and Terrain, click here

Will there be a book or resource printed for SIA like the other new books?

There are no plans for hard copy resources at this point however there are planning tools and other resources here and here. There is a separate Outdoor Adventure Skills book due to all the requirements, and the fact that the OAS are not section-specific.

Share page

General Enquiry

If you've got a question for Scouts Victoria, shoot us a message here.

Thank you for your enquiry. A Scouts Victoria representative will be in touch with you shortly.
Unable to submit request. Please try again.