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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

Try the four week challenge

A chance to show potential volunteers what Scouts is all about

What’s the Four Week Challenge all about?

The Four Week Challenge is a gradual introduction to Scouts. New volunteers agree to help out for just four weeks, while a more experienced leader shows them the ropes and helps them get involved.

The Four Week Challenge works because it’s manageable: people feel more comfortable signing up for a short amount of time. As an existing volunteer, you get four whole weeks to help them settle in, grow in confidence, and see just how much they can get from Scouts.

The Four Week Challenge

  • Show them what we do and how we do it
  • Give them something to do – a task which isn't too big or complicated but which makes them feel valued and needed would be ide
  • Make contact with them after the first meeting, perhaps arranging for them to stay on at the end of the meeting or setting a time for a call
  • Help them join in the fun – could they run an activity or game? Oversee an activity table?
  • At the end of the session, ask them to prepare an activity for next week – there are loads of great ideas on the activities page or they could use their unique skills to prepare something 
  • Remember: this may feel a little scary, so be supportive – you'll probably need to help with the activity risk assessment

By now, your new volunteer should be feeling like they’re part of the team. Get them involved in everything. 

By now, your budding volunteer will know if Scouts is for them or not:

  • Set time aside during or after the meeting to find out how they’ve found the challenge and whether they have any feedback
  • Ask them if they would be interested in helping again and how
  • Ask them if they know anyone else who would enjoy trying the challenge?
  • Most importantly, thank them for their time and effort


The 4 Week Challenge video explainer

To watch in full screen, double click the video


What to do next

Don’t lose a volunteer after all the hard work that has gone into finding them. They’ll need lots of support and guidance, so keep going. 

  • Introduce them to a mentor or buddy
  • Don’t leave them stranded
  • Get the whole team to welcome them to Scouts
  • Have a one-to-one chat to answer any questions they have
  • Offer support and signpost them to the help available on the website
  • Give them a welcome pack
  • Give them a uniform – this’ll really help them feel a part of the team

Then, to get them started:

If someone’s a little unsure, find out more and support them in making their decision.

They may want to try a different section, be worried about the time commitment or have an unanswered question that you can help with.

The most important thing is to make Scouts a positive experience. Even if they don’t volunteer straight away, they may come back in the future 

Some things you could do to support them while making their decision is:

  • Find out what they’re unsure about and see if there’s anything you can do to help
  • If travel is a problem, you could see if you could set up a care share for them
  • Tell them that any expenses, such as uniform costs, can be covered
  • Make it flexible - could they help with one or two nights a term, instead of every week?
  • Share the term programme – what excites them?
  • Ask if they’d like to try a different role, task or section
  • Check in with them and remember to tell them the fun stuff you’ve got coming up
  • Say a massive thank you to them for visiting you
  • Give them time - don’t push them into making a quick decision. 
  • They might need more time, or to talk to their loved ones, before deciding whether volunteering fits in with their current situation 
  • If they may be struggling for childcare, could their children come to the meeting too?

If a new volunteer doesn’t want to join after completing the Four Week Challenge, that’s OK, but it’s important to find out why to see if you can do anything to help. 

Some questions might be:

  • Discuss the different roles and tasks that are available – if they don’t want to volunteer with young people directly, perhaps they’d like to take on a behind the scenes role and share a skill with the group, such as helping with your group’s social media pages or running a particular activity? 
  • Would they want to take on a more flexible role?
  • Did they have any worries or concerns we could help with?  
  • Do they have any useful feedback? Was the team friendly? Did we take the time to explain next steps? Anything we could’ve done differently?

Make sure you keep the door open if they ever want to come back and volunteer in the future. Keep it positive and thank them for all the time they’ve given.

You never know who they might talk to – they could just spread the word for others to try the Four Week Challenge


After the four week challenge

Once you've got new adults onboard to try the challenge, make sure they're:

  • Supported by enough volunteers at all times, whether they’re from your group or the wider District – most won’t have been DBS checked
  • Given a copy of the Yellow Card 
  • Able to take part in the programme you've planned throughout the challenge – small group activities work brilliantly
  • Spoken to between meetings – a quick thank you and reminder of what to expect the following week makes a huge difference
  • Given a Group necker and a Scout name, if you use them – though new adults aren't expected to wear uniform, this can be a nice touch

Things to consider

Think about who you're going to ask to take on the challenge and how.

Are there any parents/carers in your group who’ve enjoyed helping out with the adult rota or do any of your existing volunteers have friends who they could bring along to try the challenge?

Could you let people know about the challenge on social media, at in person catch-ups or via an email? Could you send them a WhatsApp message or send a letter using our brand centre letter template?

See the challenge in action

To watch in full screen, double click the video

Spread the word speedily

Download posters, flyers and certificates to tell people about the four week challenge

Visit the brand centre now

Looking for help with non-programme roles?

Try the Four step challenge today 

Bring brilliant people onboard

Why not bring a friend along?

Have a look at some ideas around bringing another adult along with you.

Bring a friend

From parent helper to front and centre

Find out how to help your helpers take that next step into volunteering.

Take that next step

Doing the 4 week challenge virtually for online Scouts

To watch in full screen, double click the video