Digital Day: Building Scouts Digital with Raspberry Pi’s Olympia Brown

We’ve had to keep it secret for weeks, but with today’s announcement of our partnership with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we are happy to share their contribution to Digital Day. If you are not already familiar, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is a charity dedicated to teaching computer science skills to young people. They are best known for the small and affordable Raspberry Pi computer. This basic and customisable PC is the best selling British computer ever. They also host seminars and workshops across the world to teach people of all ages about computer science.

They were a big part of Digital Day where we announced our partnership with them on the Digital Maker Staged Activity Badge and they led workshops about teaching digital skills. The Scouts are working with Raspberry Pi on several projects, from those workshops at our Digital Day to the full redevelopment of our Digital Maker Staged Activity Badge. The new badge requirements move away from computer science to using digital skills to solve problems, build resilience, help their communities and express themselves. The partnership is bringing a whole new set of activity resources that leaders can use with their group as well as innovative ‘How-to’ videos. The design of the badge has also been updated to reflect the essence of the partnership. Much more is to come as the Scouts and Raspberry Pi are working to ensure the badge is accessible to all members. Talks about training leaders and development of kits are happening, so stay tuned!

Below Olympia Brown, Senior Programme Manager for Youth Partnerships at Raspberry Pi, talks with us about our partnership, the Digital Day, and Scouting.

Scouts: Why did you want to participate in the Digital Day?

Olympia: We were delighted to be asked to participate in the Digital Day as it gave us a chance to meet members and volunteers face to face to find out more about how they currently engage with digital making activities, and what challenges they face. It was also great to hear more about the wider digital strategies and projects that the Scouts are working on.

Scouts: What happened during the Digital Day workshops?

Olympia: Raspberry Pi Foundation came along to deliver two workshops. The first was for anyone, regardless of their technical ability. We wanted to trial some of the new activities we’ve been developing to support stages 1 and 2 of the new Digital Maker Staged Activity Badge requirements. We also took the opportunity to talk to a variety of leaders and volunteers about the kind of kit they readily had access to, to learn more about the different settings that their groups operate in, and their attitudes to making things with technology.

The second workshop that we ran was for people with slightly more experience of technology, and gave us a chance to showcase one of the projects that groups might be able to tackle in later stages of the Badge. By the end of this workshop, participants had built a basic birdbox camera that would be able to look at nesting birds without disturbing the chicks.

Scouts: What surprised your team about working with Scout volunteers?

Olympia: It’s always so delightful to meet more Scout volunteers to hear their passion for the movement and engage them in our passion – making things with technology. We’re so excited to bring our two communities closer together.

Scouts: How do the Scouts and Scouting impact the people at Raspberry Pi?

Olympia: We’re really lucky that a lot of the Raspberry Pi team have personal and long-standing experience with the Scouting Movement, both as children themselves and as adults volunteering and through their children. We’re lucky to have a Queen Scout and an Eagle Scout (from the US) on the staff! The Trustees of the Foundation are incredibly enthusiastic about this partnership and they said it made the last board meeting very exciting to see the new Badge design!

Scouts: Please tell us more about Raspberry Pi’s experience training adult volunteers to deliver digital skills.

Olympia: A massive part of the Raspberry Pi Foundation are our global networks of Code Clubs and Coderdojos. These rely on expert and also non-technical volunteers to deliver in-school and out-of-school coding activities for young people. We provide them with resources and training to deliver their activities, and have tons of experience working across the 10,000 Code Clubs and 5,000 Dojos globally. We know that one of the biggest things we can help with when adult volunteers get started is confidence, so that’s where we’ll start with Scouts.

Scouts: How does learning digital skills benefit young people? How will it benefit adult volunteers?

Olympia: The benefits for young people and adults are very similar. As we live in an increasingly digital, technology-led world, increasing your understanding and awareness can only help you navigate it better. Of course, it can also help with employability and citizenship skills, but an often overlooked benefit is helping people express themselves creatively as well.

Scouts: How did you and the Scout Programme team come up with these Badge requirements?

Olympia: Starting from Raspberry Pi’s already-developed curriculum of digital making, Raspberry Pi and the Scout Programme team developed what we wanted to cover in the Digital Maker Badge. We were also conscious that digital making needs technology to give everyone the best experience. We’ve been working together really hard to make the badges achievable with kit that they can get their hands on for the early stages of the badge. Raspberry Pi also want to support groups and districts to get their hands on more exciting kit for the later stages of the Badge, and to make that affordable. Together, we’ll be releasing more information about this as we release resources that support stages 3 and above in the coming months. The Raspberry Pi Foundation supports digital making activities across lots of different platforms and technologies, so the resources we’ll be producing will cover a variety of types of kit.

Scouts: Lastly, what has been your own most fulfilling moment teaching digital skills to young people?

Olympia: Personally speaking, helping my two daughters (9 & 7) to take their first steps in digital making have been joyfully noisy!

We hope you are as excited about this partnership with the Raspberry Pi Foundation as we are. We want to provide our volunteers and Scouts with #skillsforlife and this is just the beginning of that journey.

We would love to hear what you think of this partnership. Read more about our partnership.

This article is part of a series on Digital Day.


  1. Avatar Richard Explorer Scout Unit Green 23/05/2018 / 5:30 pm

    I like where this is going and the inclusion of a new and relevant platform like RiPi is great to see, however, if I am being honest, what has been put forward so far is only really suitable for Beavers and perhaps Cubs. It would have been good if all the requirements for all stages could have been launched in one hit.

    • Avatar Kirsten Lawton 24/05/2018 / 10:56 am

      Hi Richard, Thanks for your question. All 5 levels of Digital Maker staged activity requirements are available. The programme team and Raspberry Pi are in the process of developing badge support resources for all levels that are right for Scouting. We started at level 1 because we want every section and every leader to be able participate, regardless of age or experience (it’s not just for Beavers and Cubs). If you would like to be involved in the testing of the resources, please do contact us about this (please be specific it’s about the Digital Maker Badge resource testing) and we will pass your interest along to the team.

      Additionally, we are always interested in hearing about how you use the badge requirement and support information.

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