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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

Helping Squirrels take the lead

Helping Squirrels take the lead

We believe in empowering young people to take the lead and make their own choices wherever possible, which is why we try to make sure all Squirrel's meetings are run together with young people themselves, and designed around their interests and needs. Across Scouts, this is often referred to as ‘Youth Shaped Scouting’.

The more young people are involved in shaping their experiences, the more they’ll get out of them, and the more likely they are to thrive within the Scouts – achieving their top awards, and staying onto the older sections. One way you can make this happen is by making sure your Squirrels have plenty of opportunities to practice peer leadership, in their groups and elsewhere. 

We’ve provided you with some top tips below to help you make your Squirrels meetings ‘youth shaped’.

At this age, you can’t expect four and five year olds to organise a full evening’s programme or a trip. However, they could teach others in the section how to play a new game or sing a new song they’ve recently learnt.

Letting young people push their creativity and imagination allows you to gain as many ideas as possible and use these to plan realistic, fun activities based on their interests.

For example, the young people could say that they want to travel to lots of different countries, which wouldn’t be possible, but you could use their ideas to plan an international night with activities and food from the countries they’d named.

Again, this must be done in an age appropriate way, but young people of this age can and want to take on responsibility. Give them tasks to do, like helping a leader to set up or demonstrate an activity.

Always take time to review what you’re doing with the young people. This can be built into the reflection during the meeting.

It could be as simple as, at the end of the meeting, lining them up and saying if you really enjoyed tonight's activities, stand here; if you thought they were OK, stand here; and if you didn’t enjoy them, stand here. You could then ask them simple questions like, what was the best part of the meeting? Or, what could we do better next time?

Show that you’ve actually listened. This is as simple as letting them know, when you do an activity that they suggested, that you’re doing it because they asked for it.

Youth shaped Scouting

Even at this age, young people can contribute to the design of their meetings. It just looks a little different for four and five year olds. The youth shaped pages will give you more ideas about how to support your Squirrel Drey to be youth shaped.

Check out the ideas >