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Our Volunteering Culture

Explaining Our Volunteering Culture

This information should support what is being shared in local briefings and meetings with your local Transformation Leads and leadership teams. Work with your Transformation Leads to plan how and when you will make these changes locally.

What it is

Our Volunteering Culture is a shared set of principles that outline how we behave, in line with our values.

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.

Our Volunteering Culture

Our Volunteering Culture guides and reminds us of our goal, both as a movement and as a volunteer team: to help more young people gain Skills for Life.

If we do get things wrong (we are human, after all), Our Volunteering Culture helps us to better reflect on what’s happened, learn from it, and to continue to improve, both individually and as a team.

Our Volunteering Culture is not something ‘extra’ to do. It’s at the heart of everything we do and it’s there to help us all.

Building on the foundations laid in our Values, the behaviours in Our Volunteering Culture are more detailed in terms of what we expect from one another in Scouts. Each behaviour, described in Our Volunteering Culture, can be linked to one, or more, of the Values of Scouting.

Our Values describe Scouting at its best, while Our Volunteering Culture is how we make our best a daily reality.

We want Our Volunteering Culture to be something we're all proud of. It's there to help our new volunteers thrive from the moment they join, giving them clear expectations and a shared understanding of what it really means to be a volunteer in Scouts.

When we created Our Volunteering Culture, we based it on the real life-experience of our volunteers. Our testing hub generated helpful feedback and comments from our volunteers throughout the UK. Volunteers led and shaped the work, supported by our staff. 

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

Why it's important

We understand that creating a positive culture requires attention and care. It doesn’t happen just because we’ve written it down. 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 also means we always need to address when we, and those around us, don’t get things quite right. We do this even when it would be easier to ignore problems.

As role models and champions for our values, when we challenge behaviour that doesn’t align with what we believe, we’re actively creating Our Volunteering Culture.

So, by clearly spelling out the behaviours we expect from one another, we now have a shared understanding and a common frame of reference. This can only make 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

If you’re already role modelling the behaviours described in Our Volunteering Culture – then great! Thank you. We want to encourage everyone to continuously revisit the guidance and think about how it can be used in all circumstances, like when new volunteers join us.

If, however, Our Volunteering Culture is not what you’re seeing around you at Scouts. If it doesn’t reflect your experience in the movement, then it’s important to use the guidance to address that too. This could be done by having a conversation directly with the people involved to work out a solution, or to talk with your Team Leader. Your support in challenging behaviours that don’t align with Our Volunteering Culture, will shape how things are done, so that everyone can feel welcome and supported in Scouts.

You’ll find Our Volunteering Culture in several different places, such as in our welcome process, our core 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 or when we’re carrying out a review. By continuously revisiting and actively reflecting Our Volunteering Culture, we can all help to keep it relevant (and not just some nice words on the fridge door!).

Our Volunteering Culture is for all of us. It’s so important we all share an understanding of how to behave as volunteers in Scouts. 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

Of course, the best place to start is to read and familiarise yourself with Our Volunteering Culture.

The next step is just as important. You then need to reflect on, and engage with Our Volunteering Culture 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. 

In fact, we’d encourage all volunteer teams to regularly revisit Our Volunteering Culture, both as a reminder and a conscious commitment to making volunteering in Scouts easier, more rewarding and enjoyable for everyone.

View Our Volunteering Culture