Introduction to Scouting

Scouting is an international Movement with over 28 million Members worldwide spread across 216 countries and territories. The number of countries, recognising the values of Scouting and accepting its principles is steadily increasing.

The Scout Association in the UK accepts Members of all major faiths and offers equal opportunities to all young people in the community, no matter what their social, religious or ethnic background may be. Scouting is not a religious body. It is an organisation which encourages young people to grow spiritually and develop within their own faith and denomination. It has a positive policy of integration and welcomes children and young people who have physical and mental disabilities.

There are about 500,000 people in Membership throughout the United Kingdom. This includes about 100,000 adults who have taken up Appointments as voluntary Leaders, Administrators and Supporters.

During 1991, girls were admitted to the Beaver Scout, Cub Scout and Scout Sections. This complemented the admission of young women to the Venture Scout Section in 1976.

During the spring of 2002 The Scout Association launched a new Programme for young people aged 6-25. This was the largest change to our curriculum for nearly 40 years. A careful strategy of change management was devised to help people move forward into delivering a totally new way of providing Scouting, particularly the 14-25 age range. Two new Sections were created to replace Venture Scouting. Explorer Scouts (14-18) and the Scout Network (18-25). This coincided with a complete re-branding of The Scout Association.

The five Sections

At whatever age, a young person in the Movement is a ‘Scout’.

The Balanced Programme spans a 6-25 age range, divided up into five Sections. Each Section has its own identity, ethos and style. They all have adult support which varies in style in the different age groups.

· A Beaver Scout Colony has members aged between 6 and 8

· A Cub Scout Pack has members aged 8 - 10½.

· A Scout Troop is for young people aged from 10½ - 14 years.

These are all part of a Scout Group.

An Explorer Scout Unit is for young people from 14-18 years old. Explorer Scout Units are part of a Scout District, although some are attached to Groups.

A Scout Network is for young people aged 18 - 25 years old. Scout Networks are the responsibility of the Scout County or Area.

The Purpose of Scouting

Scouting in the UK is organised through The Scout Association. The Scout Association has a clear purpose:

'To help young people achieve their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential as individuals, as responsible citizens and as Members of their local, national and international communities'.

Even if we can’t solve all the problems in the world, we can help to make it a better place. We do this by helping young people to develop as active members of the community.

Scouting makes a positive contribution to society by helping young people to develop as active members of the community:

  • who are self reliant
  • who are caring
  • who are responsible
  • who show commitment.

Scouting works well when young people enjoy learning by doing in partnership with adults.

They do this by:

  • taking part in a variety of activities and new experiences
  • exploring the outdoors
  • participating in teams
  • taking responsibility for themselves and other.

Our method for giving young people the opportunity to learn by doing is called the Programme. The Programme is a seamless progression of training, activities and awards that covers everything that young people do in Scouting from the ages of 6 to 25.

The Programme involves helping young people to grow in six Personal Development Areas, these are:

  • Body
  • Mind
  • Faiths and Beliefs
  • Relationships
  • Community
  • Surrounding

All adults in Scouting have a responsibility to make sure that the Programme is fun and exciting. We must also make sure that it is safe. The Scout Association’s policies, rules, code of behaviour, advice on Child Protection and safety policy are there to help adults make sure the young people in their care stay safe while they enjoy themselves and learn. There are special training and requirements to take young people on nights away, and to lead adventurous activities such as mountaineering and water activities.

The principles of Scouting

Scouting has three key principles:

  • Duty to Self
  • Duty to Others
  • Duty to God

Everyone in Scouting expresses their Membership and acceptance of the key principles by making the Scout Promise and following the Scout Law. The Scout Promise and Law gives a distinctive ethos to the practices of the Movement and acts as a bond with Scouts worldwide.