Skip to main content

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

Young Leaders' Scheme

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

An Overview

Explorer Scout Young Leaders are Explorers who volunteer alongside adult leaders in a Squirrel Drey, Beaver Colony, Cub Pack or Scout Troop. They're a valuable asset to any leadership team and 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.

All Young Leaders in the Squirrel, Beaver, Cub and Scout section who are between the ages of 13.5 and 18 must be members of a Young Leaders Unit.

The scheme

The Explorer Scout Young Leaders’ Scheme is the training programme for Young Leaders. It contains 11 modules and four missions for them to work through whilst 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.

As well as developing valuable life skills, the scheme is an opportunity for Explorers to make a positive impact in their communities and to fulfil the service elements of many of the top awards in Scouts, or their Duke of Edinburgh's Award. Recognition of achievement is available along the way, and on completion of the Scheme, the Young Leader is awarded with an Explorer Scout Young Leader belt buckle.

Who takes part

Although the scheme is usually taken on by Explorer Scouts looking for a new challenge, young people from outside Scouting can also participate if they are 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, if they are completing their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh's Award, they can volunteer as a non-member for three to six months (the time required for the Bronze DofE volunteering section).

The Missions

As part of the Young Leaders' Scheme there are four missions to be completed alongside the 11 modules. 

Discover the four missions

The Modules

ESYLs undertake 11 modules as part of their training.

Discover the 11 modules

Young Leaders and the DofE

Young people can also work towards their Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards while they're taking part in the Young Leader Scheme and volunteering for a set period of time. 

Discover more about the awards

Information for Section Leaders

Supporting Explorer Scout Young Leaders in your section.

Discover how you can support ESYL


Explorer Scouts should be recognised for their achievement at various points throughout and after their Young Leader's Scheme. Here we discover the badges, belts and certificates Explorer Scouts and the point at which they receive them.

Discover the badges, belts and certificates

Resources to support the scheme

Learn more about the Preparing to Lead Guidebook and the Explorer Scout Young Leader Logbook

Discover the resources

Young Leaders' Scheme activities

We have created some activities to help you run the Young Leaders' Scheme.

Discover the Young Leaders' activities