Young people working in partnership with adults has always been something we have been proud of. Youth Shaped Scouting not only improves the way we Scout, but also the young people involved. Learning to speak up, be heard and work towards improving something you are passionate about is an incredible learning experience for the youngest Beaver right the way through to our eldest Network member.
We want every young person to shape their own adventure, take on responsibility, develop skills, make decisions and influence their own Scout Programme.
There are lots of things that you can do to help this happen; from introducing section youth forums to encouraging young people to record video vlogs to share and reflect on past activities and decisions made in the section. These can be in fun and exciting ways.
Youth involvement includes young people doing the following:
- sharing their ideas
- learning from and teaching each other and adults
- taking part in decision making
- assisting with planning the programme, including activities and camps
- becoming more involved in all aspects of Scouting
Why is youth involvement important?
Young people need to become more actively involved in every aspect of Scouting, which will allow the Movement to continue to grow and meet the needs of young people.
It will also help leaders to keep their section growing and interested. We don’t know what the needs and interests of young people are until we ask them, and improving youth involvement will give leaders more opportunities to find out what young people actually want.
The climbing wall of youth involvement
The climbing wall has been created to assist the development of youth involvement in Scouting, and identifies seven steps for youth involvement.
It is important to understand that improving youth involvement is not simply a case of moving up the wall and staying there; it is a fluid model, and your position on the wall will change over time and as the young people in your section change.
For example, when the young people in your section are new they will require more guidance, and the activity, for example planning a camp, will be at a lower level on the wall.
As your young people begin to use their initiative more for subsequent events then your section will move up the wall, but when these young people move on and new members join, the process may start again.
Your section can also be at different levels for different activities. These are some examples of how activities within a Cub Pack can be at different levels, and these examples can be applied to all sections:
If leaders ask the Cubs what they would like to do next term and the decision on what ends up in the programme is shared between adults and young people, then this would be level 6 on the climbing wall.
If the Cubs give their views on what they would like to be included, and these views inform adult-made decisions about the content of the programme, for example those made at leader’s meetings, then this is level 5.
If adults plan a camp, and Sixers are assigned the role of showing other Cubs how to put out their sleeping bags, then this is level 4, as the Cubs have been told what to do rather than coming up with the idea themselves.
Anything above and including level 4 is classed as youth involvement, and for some activities, level 5 or 6 may be the most appropriate, so you do not always have to achieve level 7 in everything your unit does for effective youth involvement to be in plachere.
Youth involvement is about giving young people the opportunity to get involved; the level at which they do this needs to be right for you, your Leadership team and the young people themselves.
Download the Climbing wall of youth involvement handout here.
Youth Involvement Toolkit
There are lots of activities available to support you to enable young people in the section to share their views and shape their Scouting experiences. See the key youth involvement messages for each section. There are activities for all five sections and these can be found in the links below: