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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Learn to be a fair leader

It’s your turn to make the rules, how will your changes make an impact on other people?

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You’ll need

  • Printer (optional)

Before you begin

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here.  Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough helpers for each team to have one. You may need some parents and carers to help out if you’re short on helpers.

Planning this activity

  • If you wanted to you could print out the example rules and questions at the bottom of this page to help anyone who needs it.

Learning about rule making

  1. Gather everyone in a circle. 
  2. Ask if anyone has ever made a decision and what it's like. What are the most important decisions people have had to make? It might be deciding what to have for tea, what to get someone as a present or deciding to tell the truth.
  3. Ask everyone to think about people who make rules. They're important decision makers. See if someone can name someone who makes rules. They're often people in authority or positions of power. People may say teachers, MPs in Parliament, prime ministers and presidents, venue staff, or even the people they live with.
  4. Ask if anyone can name people who enforce the rules. They often have authority or legislation given to them by the rule maker. They may say the police, business managers and bosses, or local councils.
  5. See if anyone can think of any rules they like and any rules they would change. Does anyone agree or disagree with their choices?
  6. Does anyone know what people do if they don't agree with a rule, want a new rule maker or want to make changes to the current rules? Lots of people can have a say in making rules different ways.
  7. Explain that some people may have the chance to vote for a new person in charge, such as by voting for another MP in an election or a new school councillor. 
  8. Explain that some people may campaign, such as starting a petition, use social media or organising peaceful protests. They may write letters to the rule makers and ask for change, including evidence as to why. People may go on strike and refuse to work until changes are made, too. These have all been really effective methods that people have used to achieve things, such as equal pay.
  9. Tell everyone in some rare cases, people may violently protest or riot to get attention for their cause. These types of protests can hurt a lot of people, property and businesses and can be really scary. It can also get people in trouble with the law. People may also try to overthrow the rule maker and say that they're in charge, too. This can sometimes be called a rebellion, a revolt or an uprising. Some overthrowing, rebellions and revolts can cause violence and lead to riots. Again, these can hurt a lot of people, property and businesses and be really scary.
  10. Ask everyone what they think is the best way to make a campaign or changes happen. Explain that it's always best to act peacefully, as this often engages rule makers into wanting to help and make a difference.
  11. Tell everyone that as Scouts, we follow our values, so we want to make a positive difference. We co-operate with others and make friends, we're honest and trustworthy, we have self-respect and respect for others, we're loyal, and we support others and take care of the world in which we live.

Explain the game

  1. Explain to everyone that in this game, each person will have the opportunity to make three rules that the rest of the group have to follow. They’ll all have important decisions to make and those decisions will impact each other.
  2. You could play a round of a short game while doing the new rules to see how they affect everyone. You could also carry on with a normal meeting activity, such as a craft or playing board games. 
  3. After their three rules have been said, everyone will do them for a few minutes.
  4. Then, the ruler will change and the new ruler can make their own three rules. This will keep going until everyone has had a chance to rule. 

Play the game

  1. Set some boundaries with your group depending on the ability of your young people. This could include rules about staying inside your meeting place or adapting actions for everyone in the group to be included. 
  2. We’ve included some example rules at the bottom of this page for people to be inspired by - you may want to read these out.
  3. Give everyone ten minutes to think of their rules. They could write them down if they wanted to. 
  4. Choose the first person and give them opportunity to set their three rules. Encourage them to think about how these rules will affect the rest of the group and how they could make people feel.
  5. When the three rules have been set, play a round of the quick game or do your normal meeting activity for two minutes. 
  6. Now, after two minutes, pause the game or activity.
  7. Take a moment to ask some of these questions to the ruler and also the rest of the group:
  • How did it make the rule maker feel to set the rules?
  • How did it make everyone else feel when abiding by the rules?
  • Where the rules easy or hard to do?
  • How does everyone think the rules would impact on them if they carried on following them for a long period of time?
  • What is it like to have authority?
  • How did you make your decisions?
  • Was it easy or hard to make decisions?
  • What happened because of your rules?
  • What were your responsibilities as a ruler?
  • How does having the power change you?
  • How did it feel to have rules put onto you?
  • What were your responsibilities as a member of the group?
  • Did the rules change you as a person? If so, how did they change you?

The next ruler

  1. After the questions, select the next ruler and give them the opportunity to make their own rules. Then, carry on with the game or activity for a few minutes.
  2. When ready, take some time to ask the new ruler some more questions.
  3. Keep going this until everyone has had a chance to rule.
  4. If you want to make the game a bit more challenging, you could add in some extra challenges. This could include the opportunity for the group to say no to a rule.
  • Stand on one leg.
  • Keep one hand on the floor at all times.
  • No-one is allowed to be out in the game.
  • Everyone with brown hair needs remain sat down at all time.
  • Always walk backwards.
  • Always say your name at the start of a sentence.
  • Everyone must hold hands with someone else at all times, if they’re comfortable to do so.
  • People who have blonde hair have to be touching their nose at all times.
  • Everyone has dance while they're talking.
  • Everyone must always speak in rhyme. 
  • All games are just for fun and not for trying to win.
  • You must call someone by their surname.
  • Always use your non-dominant hand.
  • People who have an 'e' in their name can't speak.
  • Approval by the committee: Some rules have to be approved by a group of people, such as the rules made in parliament having to be agreed on by MPs. The adult volunteers and young leaders will act as a committee and decide on whether each rule is approved.
  • Voting: People could vote on each rule, whether it'll go ahead. Everyone could have one vote each per round to vote against the rule. Any rule with over 50% of people voting against it is removed.
  • Protest or strike: People can refuse to do the rule if they don't agree with it.
  • Going to jail: Anyone who breaks the rule could be put in a ‘jail’ area for breaking the rule and may face a consequence, such as only being allowed to set two rules instead of three, or missing the next round.
  • Over-throwing the ruler: Someone could say they want to overthrow the ruler. If the whole group agrees, the person who wanted to overthrow has to race the ruler to a certain spot, or complete a similar challenge. If the ruler wins, the person who challenged them could go to jail. If the overthrower wins, the ruler loses the rest of their turn and has to go to jail and miss the next round. 
  • Giving the ruler a second turn: This could be if the whole group agrees if the rules went well. 


This activity gave everybody the opportunity to make their own decisions, be a great leader and feel a sense of responsibility for other people. How did it feel to make rules for other people to follow? How did it feel watching other people follow your rules? Is there anything you would change if you were to set some more rules?

Some people may have set rules that only applied to some people, such as those with blue eyes or red hair. How did it feel if you were affected by this rule and others weren't? How did it feel if your friend was affected by the rule, but you weren't? Did you try to help them? What did you do to make changes? How could it be fairer? And do you think some people are more affected by some of our rules and laws than others?

A key part of this activity was to ask some questions after each ruler. How did these questions make you think about your decisions? When it was your time to rule, did you think about any repercussions of your rules before setting them?


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed. Take a look at our guidance on running active games safely.

Use some general rules to change the level of challenge. You could have as many or as little depending on the needs of your young people.

Set some boundaries with your group for this game depending on the needs of your young people.

If someone doesn’t feel confident in becoming the leader, give them the opportunity to help in other ways, such as working with a partner or being the referee. Remember, no-one has to set or create rules if they don't want to and this shouldn't be forced.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Now you have seen how rules can have an impact on the group, are there any rules that you can set all together to help your leaders?

This activity gave the young people the opportunity to make their own decisions and set their own rules.