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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


What you need to know about buddies to support new volunteers.

What is a buddy?

A buddy is someone who’ll support a new volunteer during their induction into Scouts. They'll offer guidance, answer questions and help the new volunteer understand what it’s like to volunteer at Scouts. They can share their experiences and support each other.

By having their own buddy, a new volunteer has someone they can turn to for advice and general help when getting to grips with their tasks.

Volunteers are at the centre of their own journey, but we want them to know we can also be with them every step of the way. Being a buddy can be an excellent way to show the Scout values and Our Volunteering Culture in action. Their buddy can help with as much, or as little, as they need and we’ll also be on hand to answer any questions they may have.

Support from the Volunteering Development Team

Volunteering Development Teams will be responsible for making sure there’s support in place for new volunteers. It’s not their specific task, but they’ll be able to help Team Leaders with finding and matching new volunteers to buddies.

Becoming a buddy

Being a buddy would be suited to you if:

  • You’re able to answer questions, or point people in the right direction to finding the answers
  • You’re a great listener
  • You’re knowledgeable about our programme, how Scouts is run in your local area, or even if you want to brush up on these areas and test your knowledge
  • You enjoy supporting others
  • You’ve got great ideas and are happy to share how you do things

If you'd like to become a buddy, make yourself known to your Volunteering Development Team. They’ll have all the connections and will be able to point you in the direction of anyone new who may be looking for support.

Every adult in Scouts can choose to be a buddy, as it’s not an official role or accreditation.

The qualities that come with being a buddy are in line with our Scouts values and Promise. Being helpful and supportive is something we all do naturally in our day to day volunteering with Scouts, so we strongly encourage our members to become buddies too.


  • Reach out and arrange contact methods that work for both of you. You might only talk online, or arrange to meet every so often. Make it work for the new volunteer to suit their needs.
  • Be prepared to point them in the right direction. You may need to suggest other volunteers, who can buddy up with them at different points, for example if they want to gain a certain permit you don’t have.


  • Be like a manager for the new volunteer. Remember, this is a non-official, unrecorded and casual role.
  • Feel like this is something permanent. Being a buddy might not last forever and it may naturally fizz away after a while. But that's OK as long as you and the new volunteer feels comfortable with the arrangements you’ve made.

You don’t need to have been in Scouts forever, and you don’t need to know everything. You just need to be able to support them in finding out the information they need. And don’t panic, because if you don't know, you can go on that fact-finding journey together!

Having an understanding of Scouts in your local area, who’s who, and what groups exist would be great, but all that information should be in the welcome pack too.  

It’d be best if you match up to someone who has a similar role to you, so you can give them advice and tips from your own experiences, and make sure you can give accurate information about their learning, development and so on.

No, it’s not essential for all new volunteers to have a buddy when first joining. We want to be flexible to everyone’s needs, and they may decide it’s not right for them.  

But, we do want to offer this as an option to everyone who joins Scouts, to make sure everyone has equal opportunities. We’d like as many current volunteers as possible to buddy up with new volunteers, so we can enhance the experience for all new members and make them feel like a part of Scouts.
A new volunteer can decide at any point whether they might like a buddy. It could be when they begin other learning or get more involved with their section. They can speak to their Team Leader, who’ll be able to arrange a buddy to support them at any stage in their journey.


Interactive buddy flow chart

New volunteers will be able to use this handy flow chart to help them in working out if a buddy is right for them.

Steps in the joining journey

Find out the key steps a volunteer needs to complete when joining Scouts to become a full member.

Discover more about the joining journey