Scouts Annual Report 2021 - 2022
Welcome from our Chair
This was the year that Scouts bounced back.
After the challenges of the pandemic, I’ve been inspired by our young people doing what they do best – learning skills for life face-to-face, and especially outdoors.
I was so impressed by the way our volunteers adapted to deliver Scouts online during the pandemic. But nothing truly beats meeting in person. It’s how friendships are forged, and memories are made. There’s no wood smoke to smell, or birdsong to hear, on a Zoom call.
Our rapid growth this year is a testament to how quickly and safely our volunteer teams reopened their doors and welcomed young people again. We’re now back to 87% of our 2019 numbers, with nearly 60,000 young people joining in the past year.
But there’s much more to do as we look forward to next year. We still have 90,000 young people on waiting lists, meaning many young people are still missing out on the opportunities we offer.
Attracting new volunteers and youth members
With so many young people on waiting lists, we must focus relentlessly on attracting new volunteers, while supporting our current team. Growth can only be achieved with the right volunteer teams in place. Our #GoodForYou campaign highlights employability and wellbeing benefits of volunteering, and we’ll keep supporting recruitment locally and nationally into next year.
We’ve continued our commitment to make our movement more inclusive, and bring Scouts to underrepresented communities. The launch of Squirrels for 4-6-year-olds was such a brilliant example of this, as we prioritised opening in the areas and communities most deeply affected by the pandemic.
I have a strong personal commitment to our work on race equity. I think we’ve made a good start this year with our new Project Board, chaired by Yousif Eltom, leading the way to make Scouts welcoming to everyone.
Young people taking the lead
It was fantastic to see so many Scouts taking leading roles in high profile events. A shining example of this was at the UN Climate Change Conference UK (COP26) in Glasgow in November 2021. An international team of Scouts led the youth day with Chief Scout, Bear Grylls. Together, they represented young people from 55 different countries who’d committed 100 million hours of action to stop climate change as part of our #PromiseToThePlanet initiative.
Equally impressive was Cub Scout, Emily, who I watched with awe as she took part in a conversation with a 98- year-old WWII veteran, Colonel David Blum, to mark Remembrance 2021 and the centenary of the Royal British Legion, with such self-possession. Hosted by our Joint President, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, it was such a moving moment, and a chance to reflect on the sacrifices made by so many.
One thing that I noticed immediately when I joined as Chair is that Scouts is a family. We look after each other – and welcome new members (myself included) so well. I’d like to thank the Board, the staff team, the volunteer team and the whole movement for supporting me so wonderfully in my first year.
Scouts plays a vital role in giving young people skills for life, and the chance to shine. It brings communities closer, and make society stronger, too. We’ve so much to be proud of. There are exciting times ahead, and I know Scouts will make the very best of them.
Jennie Price CBE