Raspberry Pi at Scouts Wintercamp

As well as working with classroom teachers and supporting learning in schools, Raspberry Pi brings computing and digital making to educators and learners in all sorts of other settings. I recently attended Wintercamp, a camp for Scouts at Gilwell Park. With some help from Brian and Richard from Vodafone, I ran a Raspberry Pi activity space introducing Scouts to digital making with Raspberry Pi, using the Sense HAT, the Camera Module, and GPIO, based on some of our own learning resources.

Note the plastic sheeting on the floor! Kids were dropping into our sessions all day with muddy boots, having taken part in all sorts of fun activities, indoors and out.

In the UK, the Scouts have Digital Citizen and Digital Maker badges, and we’re currently working with the Scout Association to help deliver content for the Digital Maker badge, as supported by the Vodafone Foundation.

The activities we ran were just a gentle introduction to creative tech and experimenting with sensors, but they went down really well, and many of the participants felt happy to move beyond the worksheets and try out their own ideas. We set challenges, and got them to think about how they could incorporate technology like this into their Scouting activities.

Having been through the Scouting movement myself, it’s amazing to be involved in working to show young people how technology can be applied to projects related to their other hobbies and interests. I loved introducing the Scouts to the idea that programming and making can be tools to help solve problems that are relevant to them and to others in their communities, as well as enabling them to do some good in the world, and to be creative.

Scouts coding

While conducting a survey of Raspberry Jam organisers recently, I discovered that a high proportion of those who run Jams are also involved in other youth organisations. Many were Scout leaders. Other active Pi community folk happen to be involved in Scouting too, like Brian and Richard, who helped out at the weekend, and who are Scout and Cub leaders. I’m interested to speak to anyone in the Pi community who has an affiliation with the Scouts to share ideas on how they think digital making can be incorporated in Scouting activities. Please do get in touch!

The timing is perfect for young people in this age group to get involved with digital making, as we’ve just launched our first Pioneers challenge. There’s plenty of scope there for outdoor tech projects.

Thanks to UK Scouting and the Wintercamp team for a great weekend. Smiles all round!



Really inspiring stuff! :-) Just wondered… how did you get invited to that camp? Is this something that we can get involved with in our local community? Certainly, those of us with kit that we use in Jams, together with resources that are out there already, could band together to do similar things with local scout groups.


Pop along to http://scouts.org.uk/home/ ,search for any local units and then get in touch with them to offer your skills.

Careful…you may get bitten by the bug and become a unit helper :D


Ta. :-) But a unit helper? Not likely!


Hmmm! Now if you knew a Scout Leader not too far away who amazingly hadn’t thought about the CamJam resources that could lead to something! I’ll be in touch!

We are currently in Pi High Altitude Ballooning preparations but extending that would be great.


Funny the things you don’t think of! ;-)
Pop me an email – probably can’t do anything before Pi Wars, but after that we’ll be looking for ways to do our own CamJam outreach, so we’d like to help if we can!


I would like to know where you got the kit that holds the pi and the screen, very cool. Can they be ordered anywhere or did someone make them with a 3d printer?


Those are Pi Tops – see https://www.pi-top.com/ if you want to order one.


It’s the “pi-top ceed”. https://www.pi-top.com/buy/ceed


This is great, I love the idea!


A really good time to get involved with your local Scout group would be the 20th-22nd October 2017 for the annual Jamboree on the Air/Jamboree on the Internet- this is a global communication-themed cmap where Scouts talk on radios and internet chat around the world. Electornics kit-building, computer gaming and other technology skills are popular side events at these camps, and I don’t know an organiser who would say no to having a local Jam offering assistance.


Last year I went into a Beaver Scout Colony to help with their Digital Citizen and Digital Maker badges. That was great fun and as a result I’ve recently just rejoined as an assistant Cub Scout leader.

I am now working through both the badges with my Cub pack. Last week we “built a computer” using a Raspberry Pi, PiDrive etc. Next week we are creating stop frame animation using a Raspberry Pi camera, and at a future date we’ll be playing with Robot Arms using a Raspberry Pi and a GUI that I wrote for it.

For those interested in helping, but not committing to become a leader then just get in touch with your local unit. They are often more than happy for you to help out for one or two evenings to work towards the badge with no further commitment. Or you could become a “helper” and help out once a month or so.

Be warned though – you may get the bug and like me suddenly take the leap into being a leader. It’s been just over 3 months now and I’m loving it – only wish I’d volunteered to help sooner.


I’m somewhat envious! I’ve recently volunteered to help with some of the IT happenings at Gilwell but I couldn’t help with Wintercamp due to other commitments. Yes, I would mostly have been doing work and wouldn’t be able to play with the Pis, but I still would have loved to be in the vicinity of it all!

This presumably all took place in the classrooms of “The Lid”, which for those unaware, used to be a barn-like thing that was effectively a roof on stilts, i.e. just the lid of a building, but the name stuck when it was rebuilt with walls and other shiny new stuff like electricity.

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