Who benefits from Youth Shaped Scouting?


Everybody benefits from Youth Shaped Scouting. Young people are able to do more of the activities which they enjoy which will increase the retention of young people, and as a result more young people will be learning skills for life and leaders will be making a difference to a higher number of Scouts. Increases in the number of young people in The Scouts has a positive knock on effect in the local and wider community.

Youth Shaped Scouting empowers young people and should be exciting and fun to do! Young people shaping their Scouting adventure, working in partnership with adult leaders, is exciting and truly makes a difference, so everyone really does benefit from Youth Shaped Scouting.


Who is there to help me with Youth Shaped Scouting?

There are a large team of people who can support you with Youth Shaped Scouting. Whether you are unfamiliar with the concept, or if you just need a few tips or pointers, there are plenty of people you can talk to. Your primary contact should be your District Youth Commissioner, if you have one, but there are also the District Team, the County Youth Commissioner and the County Team who can help you. There are also so many amazing resources on the Scouts website.


Who should be doing Youth Shaped Scouting?


Youth Shaped Scouting isn't a new concept, it's been around since Baden-Powell’s time, it is a fundamental of what we do in Scouting. In Scouts we are a youth movement and therefore our focus should be and is on the young people, making sure they shape their adventure.

Youth Shape Scouting is a key element in The Scouts ‘Skills For Life’ strategy. Leaders should be encouraging young people to plan and run the activities which they want to do (where appropriate) and getting feedback on what their young people enjoy. Young people should show an interest in their Scouting experience and take on appropriate responsibilities for their age.


What are Youth Commissioners, who are they and what do they do?

Youth Commissioners were brought in to aid in the implementation of Youth Shaped Scouting. They are here to support young people to get their voices heard, and to assist leaders in making sure that their Sections and Groups are Youth Shaped and Youth Lead. Youth Commissioners will visit groups and other events in their area and engage with both young people and adults alike. They also get involved with their District, County or Area Team as Commissioners, to aid with the running of their local Scouting. You can find out who the Youth Commissioners in Suffolk are here[JD1] 


What is Youth Shaped Scouting?

Youth Shaped Scouting is not a new concept. It has been around since Lord Baden Powell founded Scouting.

Put simply it is young people from all sections (ages 6-25) shaping and influencing their Scouting adventure, working in partnership with adult leaders!
Youth Shaped Scouting focusses on the young people leading activities, choosing what they want to do, and ultimately developing skills for life. In recent years, easy programme ideas lead to many leaders planning and running programmes without consulting their young people, so a large focus has been brought in on Scouting being Youth Shaped. This is to make sure that the activities and opportunities offered to young people are things that they enjoy doing, meaning that they remain in the movement and encourage their friends to join, aiding growth of The Scouts.


What can I do to be more ‘Youth Shaped’?

The first step is to talk to your young people and find out what they do and don’t enjoy about Scouts. A great way to do this is to hold a forum. Once you have consulted your young people it is important to act on the information you have collected. Where possible try to include some of the activities they would like to try in your programme. You can also let peer leaders (Lodge Leaders, Sixers, Patrol Leaders) run parts of the programme, and encourage them to help with the planning aspect of weekly meetings and nights away (respective of age). Other ideas for how to get started can be found here[JD2] .


What resources are there to help me be more ‘Youth Shaped’?

There are plenty of resources available on the UK Scouts website here[JD3] . You can also find more resources on the Suffolk Scouts website here[JD4] . If you need any more help or support, you can contact your local Youth Commissioner who will be happy to help.


What if I am doing it wrong?

You can’t do Youth Shaped Scouting wrong. As long as your young people have the opportunity to shape and influence their Scouting then your section is Youth Shaped. It’s that easy. However, there are almost always ways you can improve how ‘Youth Shaped’ you are. Some ideas for being more Youth Shaped can be found here[JD5] . Otherwise, contact your local Youth Commissioner who can support you with more ideas tailored to your section or group.


Where do I find out more information about Youth Shaped Scouting (within my country, county, district, group etc.)?

The UK Scouts website is a great resource to find out information on Youth Shaped Scouting. For information more specific to you, locally, check out the Youth Shaped Scouting areas on the County[JD6]  or District Websites, look at the social media accounts for your local Youth Commissioner(s) or contact them directly. Their details can be found here[JD7] .


Where should I be doing Youth Shaped Scouting?

Everywhere you go. This doesn’t mean that you have to have a forum at every single meeting, but you can ask your young people at the end of an evening or camp whether they enjoyed what they did, what they might have preferred, or what they would’ve done differently. In the run up to camps and other events you can involve your young people in the planning process so that they have something they can really look forward to. Once at the event you can let them lead a part or parts of it so that they gain a sense of responsibility, pride and leadership skills.


When should I be doing Youth Shaped Scouting?

All the time. Most of the time you will be able to tell whether your young people are enjoying a certain activity or not by their attitude and facial expressions. If you take this feedback on board and adapt your programme or the activity accordingly then your young people have had a voice in what they do. You don’t have to constantly ask what your young people would like to do, or let them run every evening, but as long as they have a say in what they do, you run regular forums and are always taking on and using the feedback which they give you, then you are doing Youth Shaped Scouting really well already.


Why should I be promoting Youth Shaped Scouting?

To encourage everyone else to do it, to show off how great you are at doing it and to give ideas to other people. All it may take for another section to run a forum is to see that another group in their district has run one. Sharing the amazing things you do on social media, on websites and via other methods is a great way to give ideas to other groups and leaders around the country who may be struggling. It will also show other young people and the parents of young people who are not in Scouting how much fun they could be having, which will encourage them to join.


Why are Youth Commissioners visiting my Unit?

Youth Commissioners are not visiting your groups to spy on you. They are not being asked by your District or County Team to feedback all the things you are doing wrong to get you in trouble. Youth Commissioners are visiting your group so that they can see the amazing things you are doing, to talk to the young people and to find out how much they enjoy Scouts. They are also there to help you implement Youth Shaped Scouting in your group and give you some simple tips and pointers for things you could do to be even better. They are not forcing you to do anything and they are certainly not trying to take over the running of your group, but by taking on board their suggestions (which could be as simple as running a forum once a term) you might find that your group will start to grow in numbers and your young people can make more of a difference!


How do I ‘do’ Youth Shaped Scouting?

There is no simple answer to this question, the chances are you are already doing it because so many things class as being Youth Shaped. However, you can also probably be more Youth Shaped. For example, you could let the Sixers run a game at the start of your meeting, or let the Patrol Leaders run an activity at a camp. There are plenty more ideas for things you could do here[JD8] , or you can contact your Local Youth Commissioner who will be able to give you more ideas about how to improve.


How hard is it to implement Youth Shaped Scouting?

It’s super simple. Implementing the basics of Youth Shaped Scouting can be as simple as asking your young people if they enjoyed the activity they did at the end of an evening. Becoming more Youth Shaped can become more complex, for example if a young person is going to plan and run an activity you need to make sure that the appropriate paper work and safety checks have been carried out, but this shouldn’t stop you from doing it. This is where your Llocal Youth Commissioner(s) will be able to help you and offer support, and if you are ever unsure on the level of planning required for an activity it is best to check POR.


How can you help me be more Youth led?

As Youth Commissioners we can give you some ideas of different activities you could try or alternative ways of holding forums which are more engaging for your young people but still allow them to shape their Scouting. The best way we can do this is to visit your Section and find out what you’re already doing so that we can assess ways for you to be even more Youth Shaped.


How can I support Young Leaders to complete their training?

To support Young Leaders effectively you need to know what is expected of them. The best way to do this is to understand the Young Leaders scheme, more details can be found here. Young Leaders should be treated as equals to adult Leaders and given the same levels of respect and responsibilities. You should encourage your Young Leaders to complete their Training Modules and give them the opportunity to complete their missions while volunteering with you. Allow them to run sections of your programme and take an active part in the planning process.


Can Beavers have a say on their Scouting?

Yes. Every Young Person in Scouting has the potential to shape their Scouting. Beavers can still give ideas for activities they would like to try and give feedback on whether they enjoyed a particular evening or not. In fact, it is often our youngest members who have the greatest imagination and can come up with some of the best ideas for activities. No idea is a stupid idea if it can be adapted to fit within reasonable constraints.

If we can our youngest members the opportunity to shape their Scouting and the opportunity of new leadership skills, by the time they are in the Explorer section this will be second nature, striving to be the future leaders of the world!


Am I doing it right?

Yes. You can’t ‘do’ Youth Shaped Scouting wrong. Putting in the effort to do something to make your group or section more Youth Shaped, to give your young people a voice, means that you are already doing it right