1966 – Haynes Report

It had been recognised for some while that numbers and retention of Boys was causing concern for The Boys’ Brigade. A Committee was therefore appointed in January 1963 ‘To investigate the difficulty of The Boys’ Brigade (including its junior movement – The Life Boys) in attracting and holding a greater number of Boys at a time when the Boy population has increased.’ The Committee was also asked to consider all aspects of Brigade work, including recruiting, programme, church relationships, uniform and age limits.

An example of the loss of numbers can be seen by examining the number of Life Boys in the session 1959/60 which stood at 27000 for the 9/10 age group. Three years later in 1962/63 the Boys transferred to The Boys’ Brigade had reduced to 12500. Not only a loss of Boys within The Life Boys but the subsequent impact on numbers in the older Boys in The Boys’ Brigade was becoming apparent.

The Chairman of the Haynes Committee Report set up was Sir George Haynes CBE (General Director of The National Council of Social Services). The final report was approved in January 1964. The Brigade now had to consider the recommendations of this very thorough and detailed report. Not all recommendations were to be adopted and some were introduced in the following years but some significant fundamental and new changes were finally agreed. The Brigade was to be reshaped from September 1966 to embrace a three tier structure namely: The Junior Section (formerly The Life Boys), Company and Senior Sections.

The most significant changes affected The Life Boys and the following resolution was passed with an overwhelming majority at Brigade Council in Edinburgh, ‘That with effect from 17th September 1966 The Life Boy Constitution shall be suspended and The Life Boys merged in The Boys’ Brigade.’ For the first time The Life Boys were now part of and integrated into The Boys’ Brigade which meant a change to the previous organisation and structure. Boys in future instead of being transferred to The Boys’ Brigade would now be promoted to the Company Section.

This move towards unity could initially be seen in other changes made to The Life Boys. The crest was altered to read The Boys’ Brigade along with the hat ribbon, which had previously read The Life Boys but in future was to read The Boys’ Brigade. The Life Boys had their own motto and object but these were now replaced with those of The Boys’ Brigade. Even the salute was changed to match that of the older Boys. Other changes to the uniform included a woven BB badge on the left breast of the jersey and shoulder titles were made available as an alternative to the shoulder pennant (other changes in uniform were left for another day). The Life Boy Leaders-in-Charge and Leaders were in future to be renamed as Lieutenants.

One of the most significant changes however was the introduction of a new Achievement Scheme which had been trialled with selected Life Boy Teams in the UK. The Life Boys had had a long and successful period of ‘The Seal System’ with and emphasis on group achievement. There was however now a move to allow the Boy to be given the opportunity to gain some personal recognition for work done and for the first time for Boys of this age to wear their own badges on their uniform. This new scheme was launched nationally from 1st September 1966 and it was hoped that this programme would create an additional interest. It would also allow the Boy to see a small tangible reward for his achievements on his arm.  With 120 possible achievements to choose from it created a popular and challenging scheme designed to last through a period of 3 years when badges could be awarded at intervals as certain numbers of achievements were completed.  

The scheme was based on the ‘four square’ programme – Spiritual, Physical, Social and Educational. Six awards could be gained leading to the final Gold Award. Boys also had an individual ‘My Achievements Record Book’ to monitor their progress, whilst leaders had a detailed new manual to assist with the completion and explanation of the achievements.

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