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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Record number of Scout volunteers is still not enough

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Scouts Scotland has reported signing up a record number of adult volunteers but it urgently needs more as its popularity with kids soars

Camping, foraging and exploring outdoors has never been more popular with Scotland's youngsters according to the latest Scouts Scotland figures.

The youth body announced its membership is now the highest its been this century, supported by a record number of adult volunteers.

However, despite seeing an almost 10% increase in adult volunteers this year, an insatiable demand to join from young people means thousands are stuck on waiting lists.

Scouts Scotland is calling on more adults to consider giving their time to support young people in the movement.

For the first time for more than 20 years the youth organisation has a membership of over 50,000 people including 11,445 adult volunteers. However the growth in popularity means there are now over 3,400 youngsters who are being prevented from joining because there are not enough adult volunteers to run sections.

The last 12 months was the 11th successive year of membership growth. The number of adult volunteers has increased by 9.1% and now is the highest it’s ever been in the Scout's 110 year history.

Katie Docherty, chief executive for Scouts Scotlandm said: “I’m delighted that our membership has exceeded 50,000 for the first time this century, it definitely shows us that we’re doing something right.

“The challenge for us is that we now need more volunteers than ever before. We have a long list of young people waiting to join and benefit from what we offer, but we need more volunteers.

“I’m a busy mum, I understand the pressures there are on people today. But I also see directly the benefit that scouting has on my son, and on many thousands of young people across Scotland, so I would really encourage people to consider if they can help us to improve lives.”

Scouts Scotland’s youth membership has grown faster than the rest of the UK this year, with an increase of 2%.

The Cub Scouts (8-10 years) are the most popular section with 13,000 members, an increase of 2.4% on the back of centenary celebrations last year. The Explorer Scout section (14-18 years) grew the fastest with numbers increasing by 4.5%.

Alison, a volunteer leader from Aberfeldy said: “Volunteering with Scouts is one of the best things I have ever done. It’s been a really rewarding experience, being part of such a supportive team, and I get as much out of it as the young people I work with.

“For me, I get a huge amount of satisfaction from giving young people opportunities and life skills that they don’t get anywhere else.

“There have been new experiences for me too. I’ve learned to camp, navigate and cook outside, things that I would not have the chance to do on my own or at work.”

Adult volunteers receive full training and support. Find out more about volunteering with the Scouts.