For lights that cheap, brand/no brand they are all cheap stuff. I remember when I was a scout and someone had a zoomie (aspheric lens) It was really cool. This is just a random search on ebay: cheap zoomie
I have this light and it is moderately bright (for an AA it is decent) zooming mechanisim is a little loose, but it looks good.
Ahhh I still remeber the scout oath and law lol. Good luck with your scouts, buddy.
When my son was in the scouts we got them Mini Maglites. Nothing goes together much better than BSA and Maglites. Two great American traditions. Shame you can't touch the LED minis nowadays for $10 or less. :(
Sipiks are great, but bulky. There’s a million different knockoffs, so be sure to get a good one.
The lights werner linked seem like a better option.
I’ve got a solarforce Z2 in the mail which I’ve heard good things about, but its a little over budget at $17. Same price for the X2.
Take a look at this group buy if you can go with AAAs.
or NiMH rechargeables (if a charger is available, maybe exchange charged for discharged cells to teach the habit of not throwing them away)
But don’t use alkaline cells (they will leak, just because they last so long — I’ve had LED flashlights that were still plenty bright after the alkaline cell inside had already gotten so weak it corroded, unlike the old incandescents that got dim while the cell was still in good condition)
And it should go without saying, don’t give them lithium-ion cells (not safe for youngsters, because the worst case of “let’s see what will happen if …” isn’t acceptable).
The issue with purchasing budget lights from a Chinese vendor as gifts is that sometimes they arrive DOA .So then you have to order more and wait 2-3-4 more weeks or someone goes without or I guess you could order a few extras.
I'd go for the sk68 1mode (clone). From the above mentioned options they are the cheapest, have the least issues (always had to 'repair' C3's upon arrival, and they had the tail cap covers popping out), the zooming is huge fun for kids, you drop them, you throw with them and they still work, and they come in fun colours! (and they are optically better than the thin zoomie above, but that would be a non- issue for kids). I think the bigger size is actually an advantage for kids: easier to find among their garbage (I assume here that an american scout is also just a kid, or do I underestimate them? ;-) )