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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

Recruiting adults and young people

Recruiting adults and young people

When recruiting a new young person to Scouts, it’s not just the young person you welcome but their whole immediate family too.

Parent guides are great for welcoming adults and young people to Scouts. They give a brief introduction to the section; outline the types of activities young people take part in; the skills young people will gain and a welcome sheet for the young people to complete.

Recruiting Young Leaders

Young Leaders are Explorer Scouts (14–17 year olds) who volunteer alongside adult leaders in a Squirrel Drey, Beaver Colony, Cub Pack or Scout Troop. A valuable asset to any leadership team, ESYLs play an active role in the section, bringing a range of fresh ideas to the table and acting as positive role models for the young people they work alongside.

Although the Young Leader Scheme’s usually taken on by Explorer Scouts looking for a new challenge, young people from outside Scouts can also participate if they’re working towards their Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards or Queen’s Guide Award. They can do this by volunteering as non-members for a set period of time, for example, for three to six months if completing their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (Bronze).

There are many benefits to working with YLs. For example, young people are more likely to feedback to a Young Leader than they are to an adult volunteer, which means Young Leaders can more effectively gather feedback on what the young people want to get out of Scouts. By passing this information onto the wider team, the ideas that Young Leaders come up with can really enhance planning meetings and contribute to Youth Shaped Scouting. Like any leader within the team, Young Leaders bring their own unique skills and strengths to the group, which can be utilised to deliver a high quality, balanced programme.

The Young Leaders Scheme is a training programme for Young Leaders. It contains 11 modules and four missions for Young Leaders to work through while volunteering in their chosen section. Modules give Young Leaders the skills and knowledge to be successful in their role, while missions allow them to put everything into practice with support. Recognition of achievement is available along the way, and on completion of the Scheme, the Young Leaders awarded with a Young Leader belt buckle.

As well as developing valuable life skills, the scheme’s an opportunity for Young Leaders to make a positive impact in their communities and to fulfil the service elements of many of the Top Awards in Scouts. This includes the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award which links directly to the Chief Scout’s Platinum and Diamond Awards and the King’s Scout Award.

As a part of these Awards you may be asked to fill out Assessors reports or decide to take a lead role in running the programme yourself. Ask your County Duke of Edinburgh’s Award or Top Awards Advisors for more information and training will be available if you want it.

Young Leaders who choose to move onto adult roles can wear the Young Leader Service Award on their adult uniform. The Scheme counts as prior learning for those interested in future adult leadership roles.

For adults whose roles have touch points with the scheme, an important part of that role is to support Young Leaders as they work through each step, helping them to learn, develop and have fun along the way.

We’ve shared with you what Young Leaders are all about; now our attention turns to how we recruit them to the section. It’s advised that your Squirrel Drey has a minimum of two Young Leaders in it.

Speak to the District Explorer Scout Commissioner or Explorer Scout Leader Young Leader

The first thing to do is to talk to the District Explorer Scout Commissioner or Explorer Scout Leader Young Leader. The District Explorer Scout Commissioner is responsible for all of the Explorer Scouts across the District while the Explorer Scout Leader Young Leader is responsible for the training of all the YLs across the District.

These two individuals/teams will have Explorer Scouts or Young Leader in their Units looking to volunteer their time to a section. Arrange to meet with them to discuss what you require and share with them all about your section. 

Visit local Explorer Scout Units

Arrange with the District Explorer Scout Commissioner for yourself or one of the team to go and visit any Explorer Scout units close to your Squirrel Drey. Here you could give a short 5–10 minutes talk outlining your group and sharing with them the opportunity to be a Young Leader at your section. This personal touch can go a long way in getting someone involved. 

Explorer Scout Young Leader's Scheme

Explorer Scout Young Leaders volunteer alongside adult leaders in a Squirrel Drey, Beaver Colony, Cub Pack or Scout Troop.

Find out more about the scheme

Recruiting four and five year olds

We often shy away from recruiting young people until we have enough volunteers but the truth is, volunteer and youth recruitment go hand-in-hand.  

Every young person we welcome into Scouts brings at least one adult with them. We need to show them that volunteering’s easy and that Scouts has lots to offer them too.

Tools to help you

Open events are a useful way to showcase Scouts – try inviting young people along to have a go at a range of typical Scouts activities, like toasting marshmallows and making spaghetti towers. Find out more about open events.

Organising a visit to a local school or early years setting is a brilliant way to tell more young people about the fun they could be having every week at Scouts. They’re bound to want to get involved. Find out more at using schools to recruit young people.

Are you on social media? Are you visible to everyone? Are you making use of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter? Regular posts showing people what your group is getting up to will help promote your group. Find out more at social media and recruiting new volunteers with social media.

Make sure your young people are having the time of their lives and telling their friends about it. Check that you’re providing the best Scouts experience possible to your young people with the Squirrels Quality Programme Checker.

With the Scouts Brand Centre, you can create flyers, posters, banner, social media banners and much more at the touch of a button. You can personalise these items to your group or event. If you’re looking for inspiration on what to create, then please see the examples below.

Conversation framework

This framework’s designed to support those initial conversations with parents or carers where a young person with additional needs or disabilities wishes to join your Scout group. 

Discover the framework