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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

Our Volunteering Culture

Find out what Our Volunteering Culture is and what it means for you

Our Volunteering Culture is a shared set of principles that outline how we behave, in line with our values. It guides and reminds us of our goal to help more young people gain skills for life. 

It’s there to help volunteers thrive from the moment they join, giving them clear expectations of what it really means to be a volunteer in Scouts. 

To watch in full screen, double click the video

At Scouts we give young people skills for life. And that only happens because of volunteers, like you.

Whether you started yesterday, or you’ve been with us for years, we want you to feel welcome, supported and valued. We’d also love it if you gained some new skills and had some fun, too.

We value everything you do. That’s why it’s so important that together, we create a strong positive culture that allows volunteers, like you, to be at your best.

So, what does a positive volunteering culture look like?

For us, it means REALLY living up to our values. [Screen displays: integrity, respect, care, belief and cooperation] It’s about each and every one of us thinking about our words and actions, how they fit with our values and how they affect others. A positive culture starts and ends with each one of us.

Our volunteering culture should encourage new people to join us and make those who are already here want to stay. But, for any of this to happen, we need to be clear on what you can expect from Scouts and what’s expected from you, in return. Our Volunteering Culture, describes how we should behave and gives a shared understanding of what it means to volunteer at Scouts. This builds on the good work you, as volunteers, are already doing.

Our volunteering culture means we: Support and respect each other, Live our values, and Be role models for young people.

It’s about taking on the responsibility to create a safe and rewarding experience, for a movement we truly believe in. And making Scouts a great place to volunteer!

We’re proud of our diversity. But for all our differences, as Scouts we share our unique values and culture. That’s our greatest strength! The way we act together helps us to achieve our goals.

Remember, it’s all about great volunteers like you. You give the encouragement young people need to step up, speak up and dream big.

Thank you for everything you do

Our Volunteering Culture: Being at our best

A shared understanding for what we do and say as volunteers in Scouts, supporting each other, following our values and being at our best, while acting as role models for young people.

Why we volunteer

As volunteers in Scouts, we’re proud to help young people step up, speak up, dream big and gain the skills they need for life.

Thanks to you, young people find their place in the world, learn to believe in themselves and make a difference to their communities and society. No matter your background or experience, where you’re based, or which team you’re in, your time and skills help young people gain skills for life.

By working together, and living our values of integrity, respect, care, belief and cooperation, our aim is to have a positive, safe and rewarding experience as volunteers for a movement we truly believe in.

Our Culture is founded on our Values. That means that as volunteers we think carefully about the impact of our words and actions, and behave as role models for our young people. Here are the behaviours that we expect from each other in Scouts.

As UK Scouts we'll:

  1. Make Scouts a welcoming place, making sure everything we do and say is led by the Values of Scouting and the Scout Promise
  2. Commit to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in everything we do, making sure everybody has access to our activities and can thrive in Scouts
  3. Support you to be part of positive teams that resolve issues with respect and integrity
  4. Acknowledge your personal motivation for volunteering and the skills you already have
  5. Help you develop your own potential by offering learning opportunities to give you the confidence and the skills needed for your Scout role
  6. Listen to you and give you the space to share ideas and concerns so that we can improve our volunteer experience
  7. Offer meaningful, relevant, and flexible ways to volunteer, with clear guidance of what we’ll require from you, and who you can ask for advice and support
  8. Accept your other commitments, that your availability may change and offer you volunteering options that’ll suit you best
  9. Help you understand Scouts better and the impact we make, so you can see how your contribution makes a difference
  10. Do our best to overcome barriers to volunteering such as finance, accessibility and time

As a volunteer in Scouts we’ll trust you to:

  1. Promote a welcoming and inclusive environment where we treat everybody fairly and with respect, making sure our values are part of everything you say and do
  2. Commit to equity, diversity and inclusion, accepting that people’s beliefs, circumstances and motivations may be different to yours
  3. Be a great role model in the way you act, by following our values, purpose and policies, as well as the laws of the country you’re volunteering in
  4. Communicate openly and respectfully, whether verbally, in writing or online
  5. Be open and honest with your team about your time commitments and let them know if things change
  6. Enjoy yourself and have fun while volunteering
  7. Develop yourself by engaging in learning and new opportunities depending on what you and your team needs
  8. Promptly complete any learning required to ensure you have the skills for your role

This means that together, we’ll do our best to:

  1. Know what we expect from each other
  2. Listen to and respect everybody’s ideas and concerns
  3. Feel proud to contribute to and be part of a truly equitable, diverse and inclusive movement
  4. Recognise and celebrate all volunteers for their contributions, no matter how long they volunteer for or the amount of time they give
  5. Make sure volunteering has a positive impact on your wellbeing and that you get the support you need
  6. Contribute to an environment where everyone feels comfortable to share thoughts and ideas
  7. Review how things are going, improve volunteering opportunities and resolve problems fairly

Our Volunteering Culture is intended to be a statement of the culture and values which we seek to foster and develop and is not intended to create any conflict with the requirements of POR, which all volunteers must follow.

March 2023

Why it's important

We understand that creating a positive culture needs role models and champions. We bring Our Volunteering Culture to life in the way we behave towards each other: in what we do, what we say and how we say it. 

This includes challenging behaviour that doesn’t align with what we believe.  

By clearly spelling out the behaviours we expect from one another, we have a shared understanding that makes it easier for us all to work together. 

And UK Scouts means every team at every level of our organisation - Section, Group, District, County, Region, Nation and HQ. It's everyone's responsibility to inspire, motivate and support our members to make Our Volunteering Culture a reality. 

What it means for me 

You’ll find Our Volunteering Culture in several places, such as in our joining journey, our Growing Roots learning, and as a key part of how we of work together in our teams.  

Our Volunteering Culture should help to set the tone at team meetings, when we welcome a new volunteer, or when we’re carrying out a review. By continuously revisiting and actively reflecting on it, we can all help to keep it relevant. 

Remember, Lead Volunteers and Team Leaders have an additional role to play, embedding and championing Our Volunteering Culture in the teams they oversee. 

What I can do now 

Once you’ve familiarised yourself with Our Volunteering Culture, you then need to reflect on and engage with it, as part of your volunteering experience. 

One practical way to do this is by running one or more of the bite-sized Our Volunteering Culture activities. These are short and adaptable, and can be done in teams, as well as self-reflection activities.  

About Me

Reflect on your own behaviours within Our Volunteering Culture, both in terms of what you do well and what you could work on.

Try the About Me activity >
Well Done You!

Reflect on, acknowledge and celebrate aspects of Our Volunteering Culture your team does well.

Try the Well Done You! activity >
Let's Do the Challenging Ones

Reflect on aspects of Our Volunteering Culture that your team can improve upon.

Try the Challenging Ones activity >