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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

About the Scheme

About the Scheme


Welcome to the Explorer Scout Young Leaders’ Scheme. This delivery guide contains everything you’ll need to challenge, engage and support your young people as they work towards this exciting and valuable Scheme.

Inside, you’ll find information about how to deliver the Scheme, as well as guidance for the different adult roles that have touch points with it. This guidance can be passed on to others to help explain and promote the Scheme, ensuring everyone involved can work together to get the most out of the experience.

This delivery book also contains the modules and missions young people complete as part of the Scheme, alongside the objectives for each module and a range of ideas and activities you can use to deliver each step most effectively.

ESYLs are Explorer Scouts 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 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 ie for three to six months if completing their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (Bronze).

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

ESYLs should not be counted in the adult ratios for young people. They are still a young person themselves. The section leader has a duty of care and responsibility for the welfare of the ESYL.

The ESYLs’ Scheme is a training programme for ESYLs. It contains 11 modules and four missions for ESYLs to work through whilst volunteering in their chosen section. Modules give ESYLs 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 ESYLs to make a positive impact in their communities and to fulfil the volunteering elements of many of the top awards in Scouting. This includes the Chief Scout’s Platinum and Diamond Awards, the Queen’s Scout Award and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards. Recognition of achievement is available along the way, and on completion of the Scheme, the ESYL is awarded with an ESYL belt buckle.

ESYLs 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 ESYLs as they work through each step, helping them to learn, develop and have fun along the way. A full breakdown of roles linked to the Scheme can be found in this book. You may be asked to be an assessor for Duke of Edinburgh's Award participants who are using the Scheme as their volunteering section. You won't need any formal training to assess this section of the award but take a look at the requirements so that you can support Young Leaders in your section and even encourage those who aren't doing awards to get started.