Special Interest Areas FAQs

How do I get an idea for a Special Interest Area project?

You are only limited by your own imagination when creating a Special Interest Area 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 for age appropriate Projects ideas for each of the six Special Interest Areas within the Matrix of Project Suggestions 
  • 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 Special Interest Area project?

Try to make sure your Special Interest Area goals are:

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

You can use the Youth Record Book for your section, the Special Interest Area 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 Special Interest Area 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. A Special Interest Area 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.

How long should my Special Interest Area project take?

The minimum time requirement for a Special Interest Area project is dependent on the Section, with the time requirement including the planning, doing and reviewing: -

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

Who can I ask for help?

If you need specific help or knowledge to complete your Special Interest Area 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 Special Interest Area project?

At the conclusion of a Special Interest Area 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 a Special Interest Area.

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 Special Interest Area 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 Special Interest Area 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 Special Interest Area 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 Special Interest Areas.

Special Interest Areas are not designed to be a whole unit activity, they are more specific to each individual and are driven by a specific interest.

Your 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 Special Interest Area 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 Special Interest Area requirements for a Peak Award?


Number of Special Interest Area projects

How many areas

Hours duration for each project

Joey Scouts



At least 2 hours of effort each

Cub Scouts



At least 4 hours of effort each




At least 8 hours of effort each

Venturer Scouts



At least 12 hours of effort each

Rover Scouts



At least 18 hours of effort each

Can I start my Special Interest Area project right now?

You can start planning and setting goals for your next Special Interest Area 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 Special Interest Area projects, does the time required include Plan>Do>Review>?

In general, yes it can count as part of the overall contribution to the Special Interest Area 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 approves a Special Interest Area project? Leaders? Does it get sent to District/Region/Branch?

Your Unit Council should Review> and approve a Scout's Special Interest Area project at the commencement and conclusion of a Special Interest Area project.

We have a large Unit. If every youth member puts forward an Special Interest Area 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 Special Interest Area 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 Special Interest Area 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 Special Interest Area on their uniform?


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

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

Will my Special Interest Area achievements transition to the next Section?

Our youth members have the opportunity to develop new Special Interest Area 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 Special Interest Area projects in bulk on Scouts | Terrain?

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

For more information/support of Special Interest Areas and Scouts | Terrain, click here

Will there be a book or resource printed for Special Interest Areas like the other elements of the program?

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 Outdoor Adventure Skills are not Section specific.

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