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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

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Blog | 15 December 2023

How we’ve made our 14-24 research youth-centred


As we look into what Scouts should achieve for future 14–24-year-olds, we’re making sure young people are front and centre of the research.

We know we can improve what we provide for Explorers and Network. Too many of our Scouts aren’t continuing to Explorers, and too many Explorer Scouts aren’t moving onto Network. Thats why were looking at what Scouts should achieve for future generations of 14–24-year-olds.

Our first stage of work, called the Discovery Phase, is coming to a close. This is where weve been doing research to find out what those in and out of Scouts want for this age group. A key part of the process has been involving young people – empowering young people to have their say and truly be involved in the process.

But – dont just take it from us! We spoke to Ace, an Explorer and member of the 14-24 Youth Panel, whos been involved in the project.

Hello from Ace

Hi, I'm Ace, a 17-year-old Explorer Scout from Hampshire. I've had the privilege of being part of the Youth Panel for the 14–24 redesign project. I want to take you on a journey through my experiences in youth-led research and share why young voices should be at the forefront of these projects.

Ace smiling

Our journey into research

When I first learned about the youth-led research project, my motivation was clear. Scouts had been a significant part of my life, but I sensed there was room for improvement, especially in Explorers.

Explorers hadn't been as enjoyable for me until recently, and I almost considered quitting Scouts altogether. I came from a group with minimal support for badge achievements and lacked a structured experience. Joining this research project felt like the right path to not only enhance my own Scouts journey, but to help make it better for future generations.

At the beginning, I had mixed feelings. I worried about being used as a token voice, which has been a common concern in previous youth experiences. However, from day one, the facilitators made it clear that our voices would be heard, and they maintained open channels of communication.

Making the research our own

The co-design workshops were eye-opening. I experienced first-hand what it means to take charge of generating research data. The feeling of actively participating in decision-making processes within the project was empowering. I realised that my perspective as a young Scout mattered, and that in itself was a valuable lesson. It wasn't just about listening, it was about actively shaping our Scouts community.

Breaking barriers and embracing diversity

Inclusivity and diversity became central to our research focus. We aimed to move beyond tokenism and truly embrace diversity. My personal experiences as a queer and disabled young person have often involved feeling left out or treated differently. However, this project allowed me to openly share my experiences with adults who genuinely listened. It was a significant step towards a better, more inclusive future at Scouts.

We worked hard to make sure all voices were heard in our research group. Everyone brought unique perspectives, and it was essential to create an environment where everyone felt valued.

Our impact and future hopes

Our youth-led contributions had a concrete impact on the research project. We identified areas for improvement and made changes that we were genuinely proud of. It was rewarding to see that our voices could bring about real change.

Looking ahead, I hope that youth-led research becomes an integral part of Scouts and other areas of life. Young people have unique perspectives and fresh ideas that can shape a brighter future. I want to continue being part of this movement, advocating for youth voices to be heard and valued.

My journey through youth-led research has been transformative. It's shown me the power of youth perspectives in shaping research and the importance of actively involving young people in decision-making processes.

As an Explorer and a Scout, I now believe that my voice not only matters, but it can drive positive change. Youth-led research isn’t just a buzzword, it's a way to make sure Scouts and broader communities continue to evolve, adapt, and become more inclusive. I'm excited about the future and the role I can play in it.

Over to one of our researchers, Charly

Hi, I’m Charly. I’m working as part of the team at Scouts researching the 14-24 redesign and have been working with the Youth Panel.

Charly smiling

Ace was one of 20 members on the 14-24 Youth Panel. It was amazing to see the panel’s enthusiasm. When they originally volunteered for this position, the expectations were for no more than two hours a month, spent in online meetings. But, as the research progressed, they were super keen and willing to help with so much more than that. The Youth Panel led research in their own areas and brought together young people and adults into the same space to solve challenges.  

Having the panel meant their perspectives were consistently fed through from start to finish. It allowed a more relatable take when they were approaching other young people for their perspectives.

They were vital in challenging expectations of some of the suggested approaches. In their own strands of research, they contributed to reaching over 1,000 young people across all four UK nations and over 800 non-Scouts through their survey.

The Youth Panel were incredibly successful in all they’d achieved. We’re definitely keeping them involved with the 14-24 redesign project. 

Next steps

Well be collating all of our findings from the 14-24 research and sharing it in the new year. After this, well be moving on to the design phase. This means well be creating ideas that could make those achievements a reality.

Find out more about our plans for the 14-24 redesign

Like the sound of the Youth Panel?

If youve been inspired by Ace and Charlys work, email us to get involved in the next stage of the project, which is co-designing what the 14-24 provision will look like.

Were particularly looking to hear from:

  • young people currently in Scouts (aged 10–14)
  • young people whove been members of Scouts, but decided to leave
  • young people who aren't Scouts members

Email to let us know you're interested.

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