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Specific issues Explorer Scouts to Scout Network

When an Explorer Scout turns 18-years-old, they are faced with some exciting options. They will automatically become part of the UK Scout Network and are encouraged to join their District Scout Network. There are also a wide range of different volunteer roles available, suited to different skill sets, preferences and time commitments. 

Remember, on turning 18, Explorers must move on. There is no flexibility in this upper age limit.

The importance of adults

Adults have an important role to play in the successful retention of young people between sections. A particularly important aspect of this is to plan ahead to ensure that young people move at the right time for them rather than the time that suits the leaders.

Change can be difficult and as leaders, it is our responsibility to do all we can to continue to support our young people throughout their scouting journey. Remember to use the Moving On Awards when a young person joins a new section in conjunction with our Link Badges and to develop those all-important links between section leaders.  

Here are some practical things that all Leaders can do to support young people moving between the sections.

  • Reglarly update your District Explorer Scout Commissioner on who in your section who is getting ready to move on

  • Your District Scout Network Commissioner can point you in the right direction when helping to transition Explorers to the Scout Network

  • Attending District meetings or events will give you the opportunity to meet leaders in your local area

  • Joint activities help members of both sections get to know each other and feel comfortable with others outside their own section.

The role of the Explorer Scout Team

  • Organise frequent events with the local Network taking part alongside older Explorers e.g. A 16+ Unit

  •  Invite a Network member to your Explorer Scout Leader meetings to improve communication and understanding of what network does

  • Provide local Network with information about members that are due to leave Explorers and their progress in achieving awards

  • Appoint a named person to pass on information on Explorers approaching 18 and continue to build links with the local Network by attending meetings and events with Explorers and Network members

The role of the Local Network Team

  • Contact the District Explorer Scout Administrator (or each unit’s leadership team), each term for a list of members approaching 17½

  • Send an introduction to the Scout Network to Explorers approaching 17½

  • Send a birthday card with a welcome pack with the latest programme to Explorers on their 18th Birthday

  • Visit Explorer Scout meetings to get to know the Explorers, this will help them move up, as they will know the members already. Take your latest programme along with you

  • Run an annual event for Explorers 16+.

  • Make a follow up phone call a couple of weeks after sending any information on for that personal touch


Some great ideas

  • A young person who has taken part in the Young Leader Scheme will have the right skills and experience to take on an adult leadership role. Remember, any prior learning gained in the Young Leaders Scheme can be recognised in the Adult Training Scheme, see advice here.  This progression advances their leadership skills, boosting their career prospects.


  • Being part of the UK Scout Network, as well as a volunteer, means that members can continue to develop their skills and experience by planning projects and events whilst making time for themselves to take part in the Network programme. There are opportunities to complete top awards such as QSA, SOWA and Explorer Belt. The Scout Network website is a great tool where members can plan, connect and keep up to date with opportunities as well as achieve virtual badges.


  • Explorers can meet Scout Network members by attending combined events. Making friends and meeting like-minded people will help Explorers moving on to set up and gather support for their future Scout Network projects.


  • As an Explorer Scout Leader, facilitating connections with the District Scout Network, will help the transition process flow smoothly. Because local Scout Networks operate on a District level, your District Network Scout Commissioner or District Commissioner will be the best people to speak to.  You could work with members to put together a one-off event with Explorers. This could be hiking for a day followed by a camp, a friendly canoeing competition, or a themed quiz night. The idea is to help initiate a relationship between the two sections and get the Explorers excited to continue taking part in the Programme with their peers.      


  • Throughout the process it's important to highlight the differences between the sections and particularly the fact that the Scout Network is run by its members. Links between the Explorer Scout Leader and Scout Network Coordinator are particularly important, as effective communication between them will make it easier for young people to move between these two sections. Scout Networks may meet less frequently or less formally than Explorer Scout Units. International camps, World Scout Jamborees, and Explorer Belt expeditions can be used to highlight the things to come as a Network member.