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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

Taking Scouts online

Find guidance and ideas to help you run Scout activities virtually.

Delivering online activities or sessions can be a great way to mix up your programme. Whether it's your wet weather plan or a way to meet up virtually with another group, we've got lots of activity ideas and advice to help you.

Remember, you'll need to risk assess your activities as normal. You can find guidance and examples on our Risk assessments page.

Take a look at our guidance on staying safe online, and make sure you still follow the Code of Behaviour set out in the Yellow Card when connecting with young people online. 

Make sure everyone understands that when people are joining in you expect the same behaviour online as you would at your face-to-face meeting.

You should communicate activities to parents and carers, so they know what is being shared online. This ensures transparency, and parental and carer engagement. Make sure all parents and carers are aware of what the activity is, what platform it will be presented on, and when.

You should give parents and carers enough time to allow them to set up new accounts or gather any materials if they need to.

As always, if a volunteer has any concerns about a young person’s welfare (including their online experiences), they must follow the reporting process set out in the Yellow Card.

There must be at least a minimum two adults present at all times during any online meetings, with at least one being a member of Scouts. Ideally both adults should be Scout volunteers, but you can use a parent and carer rota to support as you might normally do.

You may want to have three adults per meeting, so that there'll always be two adults present. For example, in case someone's Wi-Fi disconnects and an adult has to rejoin the meeting.

All adult volunteers must start the video call together before young people are allowed to join and they must remain on the video call until all young people have logged off. This ensures no young people are left alone with an adult online.


There are many different platforms you can use to run activities or sessions online. They’re all slightly different and most importantly, have different levels of security and privacy.

Take a look at some of the most popular platforms you can use.

Remember to read the platforms features and make the most of any features that restrict access to only those you invite, such as by setting a password.

When setting up your meetings, make sure each one requires a unique password and attendees are put into a virtual waiting room before joining. This ensures no young person's left alone with an adult online. 

For adult volunteers, if you’re calling from home and there are other people around, make sure those people are dressed appropriately and know how to behave when you’re talking to young people. It might be best to ask other people to stay out of the room that you’re making the call from. 

Make sure your background space is young person friendly, ensuring nothing inappropriate's on display. You shouldn't be drinking alcohol or have alcohol in the video.

Some of the video calling software has a built-in option to ‘blur’ the background, which you may feel this is an appropriate feature to turn on.

Young members must take part in the video call in a suitable communal environment and not a bedroom. They should be appropriately dressed, as they would for a face-to-face meeting. You should remind parents and carers to make sure all members of their household are aware that the call's taking place. Make sure parents and carers know that you’ll still be following the Yellow Card guidelines and why you’re doing this.

Parents and carers will also need make sure they use appropriate language and behaviour when nearby or in the background, as well as make sure their young person's background is appropriate.

You can find backgrounds for you to use on your live video calls, such as on Zoom, on the Scout brand centre.

Examples: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype or FaceTime. FaceTime is on Apple devices only.

There are many video conferencing platforms available, and these are great tools to deliver Scouts digitally.

These platforms allow volunteers, parents and carers, and young people to all be online at once, so they can see and talk to one another.

Most live video call platforms, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, have a minimum age requirement. You should check the terms and conditions of services to make sure they’re suitable.

For Squirrels, Beavers and Cubs, a parent or carer should be present in the room at all times. Scouts and Explorers should have an adult nearby, so that they can ask for help if they need it.

You should ask parents or carers to 'drop' their young person off to the meeting, so you know that they've a responsible adult nearby if they need any help. This'll also give you a chance to talk to parent or carers if you need to.

Examples: Facebook pages or private groups, or YouTube

Many platforms allow users to upload and share videos and photos. Read our guidance on safely uploading videos and photos.

If young people are below the minimum age of the platform, you need to communicate via the parents and carers.

Make sure Facebook groups are private, so only members and/or parents/carers of your section can join.

You may want to upload YouTube videos private and only accessible by link. The link can then be shared to your section's parents and carers via email, Facebook group or instant messenger services.

Examples: SMS text, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Chat Rooms/apps

Many groups use some form of instant messaging, so that parents, carers, volunteers, and young people can keep in touch. You need parental or carer permission to use this form of messaging. 

Make sure that the platform you use is age appropriate and within the age restrictions put in place by the platform.

If young people are below the minimum age of the platform, you need to communicate via the parents and carers.

Remember, creating a WhatsApp group will mean that an individual's mobile number is shared and can be seen by everyone in the group. You may want to set up a Broadcast list instead.

When you send a message to the broadcast list, it’ll be sent to all recipients in the list who have your number saved in their phones’ address book. Recipients will receive the message as a normal message. When they reply, it’ll appear as a normal message in your chats screen. Their reply will not be sent to other recipients in the broadcast list.

A minimum of two adults, with at least one being a member of Scouts, must monitor the group to ensure there’s no bullying or inappropriate behaviour.

You must make sure that no young person messages or communicates with any adult directly on a one-to-one basis. If this does happen, please don't respond to the one-to-one message. Instead, contact your local area manager and the young person's parents and carers. You should ask the parent or carer to speak to their young person to explain why it’s not appropriate.

If it happens again, report this to the Safeguarding team, so we can speak to parents and carer to make sure they’re monitoring their young person’s online usage.

Read our additional guidance for staying safe online.

Staying safe online

Keeping everyone safe is the number one concern for all of us at the Scouts. 

Read our guidance on staying safe online >
Insurance at home

Find information about insurance when participating in Scout activities from home.

Find information about insurance at home >