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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 | 13 December 2023

Meet our Scouts Youth Advocates

Ryan and Freya, Scouts Youth Advocates

Our Scouts Youth Advocates are doing fantastic things. They’re making sure young people’s voices are heard, advocating for positive policy changes, and putting Scouts at the forefront of change-makers’ minds.

We caught up with Ryan and Freya, who tell us what it’s like to be Scouts Youth Advocates.

Hi, Ryan and Freya. Who are the Scouts Youth Advocates, and what do you do in your role?

Scouts Youth Advocates are a dynamic team of 10 individuals, all aged under 25. We’re actively engaged with decision makers at the national level to drive positive policy changes. Through meetings with MPs, conferences and discussions with various organisations, we aim to create a better world for young people.

This exciting role in Scouts focuses on creating a unified youth voice, which passionately represents the crucial role Scouts plays in our lives and those of our peers. In our efforts to advocate for change, we bring personal anecdotes and lived experiences to meetings and events, giving life to the policies we support.

As Youth Advocates, because of our experience and training opportunities, we’ve developed valuable skills, such as public speaking, self-confidence, and building professional relationships.

Scouts Youth Advocates Joseph and Bella are stood either side of Children's Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza. Ryan is stood on the left wearing a suit and Scouts necker with his hands behind his back, and Freya is wearing a Scouts necker and red dress. All three are smiling at the camera and there's a National Youth Agency poster in blue behind them.
Joseph and Bella meeting Children's Commissioner, Dame Rachel de Souza.

What have you experienced and enjoyed in your role so far?

In the first few months as a team, we’ve:

  • Attended a loneliness Roundtable with Stuart Andrew. He’s the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism, Heritage, and Civil Society.
  • Represented Scouts at all major political Party Conferences.
  • Been to Roundtable with the Prince’s Trust and a drop-in session with Girlguiding.
  • Met with MPs in Parliament and inviting them to a Scouts group in their constituency.
  • Been involved in consultation and youth-shaping the Scouts Manifesto.
  • Participated in the British Youth Council's Annual General Meeting.

My role as a Youth Advocate has helped my confidence flourish. I’ve received training in public speaking skills, as well as the opportunity to put this into practice by attending events, such as Roundtable discussions. I look forward to keep growing in the role and advocating on issues important to young people.


I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience as a Youth Advocate so far. It’s been a great opportunity to meet with MPs, have an influence on the Scouts manifesto and just be part of such a great team.


Being a Youth Advocate has enabled me to stand up and shout about how amazing Scouts are. I've worked and volunteered with young people for my entire adult life and, as a Youth Advocate, I'm trying to get young people the support and recognition they need to flourish into active, thoughtful citizens. Meeting with MPs and youth sector champions has been a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of the power our young people hold for the future.


It’s been great to represent young people’s voices with politicians. One highlight was when the Liberal Democrat’s changed their policy to have a dedicated youth minister, which came just a week after I discussed it with some of their MPs.


Three Sea Cadets are stood with their backs to the camera wearing navy clothes. They are speaking to Dan, a Scouts Youth Advocate, who is facing the camera and wearing a Scouts necker and navy polo shirt. To the left. is a poster that says 'Youth zone'.
Dan shares his role as a Youth Advocate with Sea Cadets.

What’s your goal?

Our goal is to place both Scouts and our ambitions at the forefront of change-makers’ minds, establishing active and consistent relationships for a more connected and longer term impact. Engaging in conversations with politicians and the wider public often reveals fond memories of people’s time in Scouts, helping to strengthen our mission.

Motivated to offer more young people lasting adventurous memories, we collaborate with other youth sector organisations, such as Girlguiding, St Johns Ambulance, and UK Youth.

By participating in research, such as the UK Youth Outdoor Learning Policy Report and supporting the work of Girlguiding's Girls Attitude survey, we reinforce the importance of our collective efforts.

Scouts Youth Advocates Dan, Ryan and Izzie are stood with Stuart Andrews, who’s the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism, Heritage, and Civil Society. Dan is on the left, next to Ryan, then Stuart Andrews and Izzie. The Youth Advocates are all wearing red white and navy Scouts neckers. They're stood in front of a white wall and they're all smiling at the camera.
Dan, Ryan, and Izzie meeting Rt Hon Stuart Andrew MP, who’s the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism, Heritage, and Civil Society.

What are you up to at the moment?

As the largest uniformed youth movement in the country, our team of volunteer UK Youth Advocates aims to lead the sector in identifying shared policy asks.

Through a shared ambition, we seek to amplify our voice – making it clearer, larger, and louder. As we anticipate a long-awaited general election, our team is working on a manifesto to unify the campaigning voices of UK Scouts and other youth sector organisations.

Our role as advocates involves identifying current sector challenges and suggesting policies to address them. Our diverse voices and opinions, representing different corners of the UK, provide valuable insights into local issues. 

The manifesto, still to be surveyed among our National Youth Commissioner Network, will be carefully crafted to strengthen our demands from those in power. We’re committed to creating a clear, impactful document that resonates with the needs of our community.

Scouts Youth Advocates, Ben and Freya, are sat on beige seats next to each other. Ben is to the right and looks like he is talking. Freya is on the left with her hands placed on her crossed legs, looking at and listening to Ben. They're both dressed in smart clothes and wearing navy, red and white neckers. They're sat in front of a black wall.
Ben and Freya discussing Scouts in a meeting with an MP.

What do you look forward to in the future?

Ryan: I reflect on my time so far as a Scouts Youth Advocate as months of excitement and rising to the challenges of understanding more about the youth sector, as well as how it’s affected by government policies. In the future, together, we’ll keep carving out the Scouts Youth Advocate role and understand how we can best represent, advocate and campaign as a unified body of passionate Scouts. 

Freya: I look forward to new opportunities to engage with MPs and really trying to push forward active change in areas that’ll make a difference. The most exciting experience for me so far is being able to shape our Scouts manifesto and make sure young people’s voices are heard on a national level. This opportunity has allowed us to work together and consider what can make the biggest difference for our volunteers and our young people, as well as how to get that message to those who can make the difference. If you want to get started in youth advocacy, my advice would be to believe in yourself. If you’re truly passionate about your topic, talk to decision makers with confidence and they’ll take you seriously. You deserve to take up space in these conversations and make young people's voices heard!

Thank you to our Scouts Youth Advocates, Ryan and Freya, for co-writing this blog.

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