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E M O C WEL E TO THNTURE. ADVE guide to ’s r e e t n u l o Av



Please note: although in some parts of the British Isles, Scout Counties are known as Areas or Islands – and in one case Bailiwick – for ease of reading, this publication simply refers to County/Counties. In Scotland there is no direct equivalent to County or Area. In Scotland, Scouting is organised into Districts and Regions, each with distinct responsibilities. Some County functions are the responsibility of Scottish Regions, while others lie with Scottish Districts. The focus of responsibility is outlined in Scottish variations from Policy, Organisation and Rules.

Welcome from the Chief Scout Congratulations on your new role in Scouting. You’ve just joined a group of volunteers who give over 400,000 young people the opportunity to experience fun, friendship and adventure, every day across the UK. You could be working with young people, supporting other adult volunteers, or using your skills or knowledge to provide activities or support. You will also have the chance to have fun and make new friends. On top of this you will have the opportunity to contribute to the development of your community, boost your skills through training, and experience the adventure of Scouting for yourself. But don’t take my word for it – an independent impact study of The Scout Association showed that we give volunteers the chance to develop a range of skills including teamwork, leadership and relationship-building. Employers also said they were more likely to employ people involved in Scouting, and that they make better employees. So expect to gain as much as you give with Scouting. This booklet is designed to help you learn more about Scouting, what to expect as a volunteer, and the help and advice available to support you. Whether you have been involved in Scouting in the past, or are experiencing Scouting for the first time, I hope you’ll enjoy everything that it has to offer.

Bear Grylls, Chief Scout

The story of Scouting You are now a part of the largest mixed youth Movement in the world. Scouting provides fun, friendship and adventure to over 31 million young people in over 200 countries worldwide.

100 years of Scouting history Scouting was founded over a 100 years ago by Lord Baden-Powell. He was interested in training young people in outdoor activities and citizenship. To try out his ideas, he arranged a camp for 20 boys from different backgrounds on Brownsea Island in Poole, Dorset in 1907. The camp was a great success, and the following year Baden-Powell published a handbook for his ideas: Scouting for Boys, and the Scouting Movement was born.

Developing skills, achieving potential We hope you have already seen Scouting in action. You’ve probably seen young people abseiling, camping and kayaking. These adventures are fantastic on their own, but as part of Scouting’s varied programme of activities, they can contribute much more; they can boost a young person’s self-confidence, personal development and ability to think for themselves.

The Scout Method and Promise The Scout Association exists to actively engage and support young people in their personal development. We empower young people to make a positive contribution to society; driven by our values of integrity, respect, care, belief and co-operation. Scouting gives young people the opportunity to work together in partnership with adults based on the values of Scouting. We provide a balanced programme of varied indoor, outdoor, adventurous and creative activities. Young people are able to have fun, learn by doing, share in spiritual reflection, take on responsibility, make choices and challenge themselves with new activities. We call this the Scout Method. Our Fundamentals are reflected through the Scout Promise taken and acted out by adult and youth members.

The Scout Promise On my honour, t I promise that I will do my bes d Go to y dut To do my and to The Queen, To help other people . And to keep the Scout Law of different In recognition of the needs versions er oth s, litie faiths and nationa For more le. ilab ava are ise Prom the of ions of the information on different vers Promise visit our website.

The Scout Method in action Meet some Scouts ‘We recently took part in a hike challenge event organised by our District. We had to walk and navigate as a team over 20km, racing against other groups. Our leaders helped us to learn how to hike the course, how to navigate, as well as first aid so that we would be ready to take on the challenge. We worked as a team and learnt to be responsible for helping each other out on the day. We had lots of fun and were really pleased to complete it. We’re going to do it again next year!’

Meet George

District Chair

As the Chair of the District Exec utive Committee, I support the District Commissioner with the administrative activities involved in running the District and Explorer Scout Units within it. I am responsible for organisin g and running meetings of the Committee, man aging finances and fundraising activities, com municating decisions to Groups and Explorer Units, and supporting the Group Chairs in their role. I enjo y using my skills as a manager to chair the meeting , and learning new skills as part of the fundraising work we are doing to buy the District a new minibus .

Other opportunities to suppor t the administrative side of Scoutin g include a role on the Group, District, and County Executive Committees.

Navigating your way around Scouting With almost half a million adults and young people in the UK involved in Scouting you may wonder how it is managed. The answer is that it is all done locally. The structure is designed to provide our volunteers with the best support they need to help our young people benefit. As a volunteer, you can be involved at Group, District or County level. Scout Groups At local level Scouting is organised into Scout Groups, which include any combination of the three youngest age sections: Beavers, Cubs and Scouts. A Scout Group is led by a Group Scout Leader.

Scout Districts



98 Counties/ Regions/Areas

742 Districts


A number of Scout Groups, plus Explorer Scout Units (and the Scout Network in Scotland) in a certain area will make up a Scout District. Districts are managed by a District Commissioner.

525,327 UK Scouts

7,255 Groups

Scout Counties/ Areas/Regions In England, a collection of Districts is called a Scout County, run by a County Commissioner. In Wales, these are called Areas, and in Scotland they are called Regions. The Scout Network is usually managed by the County/Area.

MORE ONLINE To find out more about the structures in different countries see: /por

*UK figures based on 2012 Scouting census results.

International Scouting Scouting truly is a global phenomenon. With over 31 million members active in 216 Counties and territories worldwide. Scouting’s global presence provides opportunities for adult volunteers and young people to be involved with the international dimension of Scouting. From taking part in large scale events such as the World Scout Jamboree to a locally organised visit abroad, to becoming pen-pals with a Scout from another country or undertaking the Global Challenge Award, Scouting gives young people from across the world the opportunity to share in friendship, activities and international experiences. For more information about how adult volunteers and young people can get involved in international Scouting visit

Meet Liz

County Commissioner


ting and I am responsible for suppor nty. A huge part Cou my in g utin Sco ing develop adult volunteers of this role is supporting the king with other wor y enjo I nty. Cou the ss acro management skills ple peo use to able adults, am my Scouting fit and from my professional life motivating and By le. ilab ava e hav I time to the age to achieve an inspiring the volunteers I man is my favourite This excellent quality of Scouting. ! role part of the


t adult volunteers Other roles which suppor District and County s, der Lea are: Group Scout stants, and assi Commissioners and their ers. nag Training Ma

Our young people You are now helping to deliver activities and to support the 400,000 young people in Scouting. They are spread across five age ranges, called sections. Each section has its own balanced programme of activities, badges and awards.

The adventure starts here ADULT VOLUNTEERS 18+ years

BEAVERS 6-8 years

CUBS 8-10½ years

NETWORK 18-25 years

SCOUTS 10½-14 years

The journey into Scouting The journey through Scouting

EXPLORERS 14-18 years


Beavers Beaver Scouts usually meet weekly to take part in a wide range of activities including games, crafts, singing, visits and good turns, along with plenty of outdoor activities. They also take part in sleepovers – for some, the first time they spend a night away from home, so it is a real adventure.

Cubs A Cub Scout meeting consists of games and outdoor activities designed to be interesting and challenging. Camps are some of the most memorable events of the year for Cubs. A Cub Scout Pack is split into smaller groups called Sixes.

Scouts Each Scout Troop consists of smaller groups of six to eight Scouts called a Patrol, usually led by an older Scout called a Patrol Leader. Outdoor activities and camping feature prominently. To prepare for camps, Scouts learn skills such as map reading, camp cooking and first aid. Rock climbing, potholing, gliding, photography and international experiences are just some of the things they get up to.

Explorers Explorers are encouraged to lead their own programme of activities, with guidance from leaders. The section also includes the Young Leaders’ Scheme, where young people can become leaders of younger sections. Explorer activities can include offshore sailing, campaigning, performing, parascending, mountaineering and expeditions.

Network The Scout Network meet in a Scout County or District and have an interest in Scouting and personal development. They organise their own activities, and take part in expeditions, major community projects and schemes like the Queen’s Scout and Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards.

Meet Pauline

Beaver Scout Leader

s wanted our Myself and three other mum there was no local but g utin Sco join to dren chil we decided to become Scout Group in the area, so ut Colony. It is run Sco leaders and start a Beaver on will provide pers one so is bas al tion on a rota dren at their chil r nge you the childcare and feed meeting. It the run house while the other three skills. We all rent diffe e hav all we e works becaus sharing the so , jobs y bus have young families and ibility to plan and flex e mor h bot us n give role has nd our other time deliver the programme arou has been great, both t por sup The . ents mitm com locally and nationally.

Award-winning training As a volunteer in Scouting, you have access to award-winning training which will help you to be effective in your role. It will also provide you with valuable opportunities to develop your skills in a variety of areas including leadership, management and training. Learning made flexible for you No matter which role you take, you will have the support of our modular training scheme. This means you can learn at your own pace, at a time convenient to you, using your preferred learning methods – from courses and workbooks to videos and e-learning. Once you are clear about what training you need, have a chat with your Training Adviser, or why not check the learners’ resources on our website to get a head start on some of your training?

Add to your qualifications Depending on your role, you may be able to gain external recognition from one of the following bodies for the training you complete. National Open College Network (OCN) – Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) – Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (ITOL) –

Meet Rob

Scout Active Su pport

My Scout Activ e Support Unit provides caterin for Scout events g in the local area , such as camps fundraising even and ings. Through be ing Unit, I get to us involved with th e my skills and e balance an activ in Scouting along e role side my hectic life style. My Unit als looks after the meeting place an o d grounds. I do a garden at hom n’t have e, so I love being able to help ou t. Other adults ca n provide spec ialised suppor skills instructor t as s, trainers or M edia Developm Managers. ent

MORE ONLINE For more information about training, talk to your Line Manager, or check online: training Learners’ resources: learnersresources

Our key policies We have six key policies that underpin all our work in Scouting. They are there to guide you in carrying out the everyday activities of The Scout Association. These policies show our commitment to carrying out Scouting in a safe, legal and accessible way. The Equal Opportunities Policy

Anti-Bullying Policy

No young person or adult in Scouting should receive less favourable treatment on the basis of class, age, ethnic origin, nationality or race, gender, marital or sexual status, mental or physical ability or political or religious belief.

We aim to prevent all forms of bullying among members.

The Safety Policy It is the responsibility of all those involved in Scouting to ensure that all activities are conducted safely, without risk to the health or safety of participants.

The Development Policy We are committed to making Scouting available and accessible for all.

Religious Policy Members are encouraged to do their best to do their duty to God, belong to some religious body, and to carry into daily practice what they profess.

Child Protection Policy and Young People First It is the policy of The Scout Association to safeguard the welfare of all Members by protecting them from neglect and from physical, sexual and emotional harm. The yellow card, Young People First, details the child protection policy and code of practice.

MORE ONLINE For key policies, see Chapter 2 of Policy, Organisation and Rules:

Support and advice Whatever role you have in Scouting, it is important to remember that you are not alone. You can find support and advice in a number of places. The Scout Information Centre


Providing advice, support and guidance, our team of friendly and award-winning Information Centre Advisers can answer any of your Scouting questions. The Scout Information Centre is open weekdays between 8am and 7pm, and on Saturdays between 9am and 12noon. You can contact them by:

You will receive regular email updates, like Scouting Plus, for updates on what’s happening in Scouting. Our regular, national Scouting magazine provides practical resources, information and inspirational ideas. It also gives you the latest news on people and places, activities, events and special offers.

Phone – 0845 300 1818 or 0208 433 7100 Email – Post or in person – The Scout Information Centre, Gilwell Park, Chingford, London, E4 7QW

Other adults in Scouting All other adults in Scouting are volunteers who were once new to Scouting; you can turn to them for support, guidance and reassurance on specific issues and more general queries. Your Line Manager should be the first person you turn to when you need further information and support.

Online resources provides news, information, and resources for all adult volunteers. The Member Resources area contains information and resources on everything from role descriptions to fundraising, and from activity advice to where badges go on each uniform. • Use your membership number to log in to You can then search thousands of activity and programme ideas on Programmes Online. • Use the Print Centre resources to create everything from personalised posters and photobooks to signage, stationery and recruitment leaflets. • Access the membership database where you can update your personal data and make use of the tools available to help you in your role.

To receive the right information, please keep your details updated on the membership database.

Scout Active Support Units There may be a Scout Active Support Unit based in your local area that can offer support in a specific area, such as assisting with the programme or supporting fundraising.

Peace of mind We have a thorough complaints procedure where we endeavour to deal with all issues quickly and competently. Our leaders are trained to deal with complaints in a positive and proactive manner.

Country Headquarters If you are based in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland you may wish to contact your country Headquarters for support on specific issues. Scotland: The Scottish Council, The Scout Association, Fordell Firs, Hillend, Dunfermline, Fife, KY11 7HQ 01383 419073 or Wales: Welsh Scout Council, The Old School, Wine Street, Llantwit Major, CF61 1RZ 01446 795277 or Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Scout Headquarters, 109 Old Milltown Road, Belfast, BT8 7SP 028 90 492829 or

The Scout Association offers a number of extra services to support UK Scouts. As we’re a charity, every penny we make from these ventures is put straight back into Scouting. Make sure you’re insured Unity (Scout Insurance Services) provides insurance for our members. All adult members of Scouting are automatically covered for public liability, personal accident and medical expenses. Unity offers a range of policies designed specifically for Scouting whatever you need protecting, from property and equipment to travel, minibuses and more. For more information visit their website: Shop Our online shop, Scout Shops, has everything from uniforms, to publications, outdoor and camping equipment. All profits are returned to Scouting. Have an adventure at one of our activity centres We have nine Scout Activity Centres around the UK, which provide activity days and residential experiences at affordable prices. The professional teams at each centre help support different programme options, and they’ll do all they can to make sure young people have an experience to remember.

Did you know? Over our long history, we have developed many Scouting traditions. You are sure to have heard of them, and now that you are part of our history, here are a few of our customs explained. The Scout Sign

The World Membership Badge

The Scout Sign is made by Members when making or re-affirming their Scout Promise, or for saluting in ceremonies. The three fingers represent the three areas of the Promise – duty to self, duty to others and duty to God.

Scouts Worldwide who have taken their Promise are given the World Membership Badge to sew onto their uniform. This purple badge with a white design of the fleur-de-lis and reef knot signifies that an individual belongs to the worldwide family of Scouts.

The Left Handshake Scouts always shake with the left hand as a sign of friendship. It is believed that this tradition comes from the time Baden-Powell spent in Africa. The story goes that African tribal chiefs carried their shields in their left hand and their spears in the right. So to shake hands with the left hand showed great trust, as it involved laying down the shield and leaving the other person holding their spear.

MORE ONLINE Full list of badges and awards: badges

Badges All sections for young people can achieve badges for skills, hobbies and interests, covering a wide range of subjects – from arts and aeronautics to writing and water sports. The ultimate awards for the younger section are the Chief Scout’s Awards, and for Explorers and Network it is the Queen’s Scout Award, the highest youth award in The Scout Association.


We’re happy to have you on board. Volunteering for The Scout Association is fun, offers opportunities to get externally-recognised qualifications, and gives you the chance to have a real impact on the development of young people. This guide gives you a taster of all the essentials you need to know to help you get started.

Š 2012 The Scout Association, Registered Charity No. 306101 (England and Wales) / SC038437 (Scotland)

Welcome to the Adventure  

The Scout Association's Welcome Pack. A resource for volunteers new to Scouting providing information and signposting support.

Welcome to the Adventure  

The Scout Association's Welcome Pack. A resource for volunteers new to Scouting providing information and signposting support.