Why the Scouting movement is looking for professional people to help organise its activities

The Scouting Movement across Scotland, including my own area of Lothians and Borders, is looking to recruit more adult volunteers, including current and retired professionals.

Scouting is a modern and vibrant organisation which offers fun, challenge and adventure to 42,950 young people and adults in Scotland, supported by more than 7,300 volunteer leaders. Volunteers are needed to support the increasing numbers of boys and girls across the country as they take part in life-changing activities and challenges within their Scout sections. The modern reality of Scouting is very different to the widely held, but dated, perception of what Scouting is like. For a glimpse of Scouting today, visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1N3mq7uAYI

South East Scotland Scouts is focusing its attention on attracting the skills of current and retired professionals in the hope of drawing upon their years of experience and their particular skills, as not all volunteer roles involve working directly with children and young people.

Suitable role

The role of Group Scout Leader would be ideally suited to a current or retired professional, perhaps someone who wants the best for young people and is willing to help by volunteering, but would prefer not to be involved directly. It requires someone who knows how to get a job done, work as part of a team, and co-ordinate others, using their management and organisational skills behind the scenes to support other volunteers and ensure that the children and young people in Scouting are getting the most from their time with the movement.

As a Group Scout Leader, there would be no expectation of being involved in the weekly youth work activities; instead a volunteer in this role would be on hand to assist and support the group and its current volunteers to run effectively and develop further.

I believe it is a position ideally suited to someone who wants to be involved in the local community and see young people reach their full potential. Volunteering as a Group Scout Leader can provide someone with an avenue to contribute to this goal whilst at the same time fitting it around their other commitments, as there is no expectation of having to be at the same place, at the same time, every week.

There is also no requirement on volunteers to have a background in Scouting or uniformed youth organisations. What we are looking for are people who have some management or leadership experience, and who are good organisers and can support other adults.

One volunteer’s response

John Henderson recently took up the role of Group Scout Leader at the thriving Scout group in Balerno, Edinburgh. He currently works as a senior professional in a large UK company. When asked what motivates him about the role, he responded: “Scouting makes a big difference in the lives of young people and it’s a privilege to be involved with what is going on by supporting the volunteers who deliver the youth work. I enjoy being able to look at the big picture of our local group and encourage others in their roles. It’s exciting to see all that is being achieved!”

As a recent volunteer with the Group, John has needed to learn about the role and adapt his skills to the tasks involved. Full training and support is provided. He comments: “I really like the varied role of Group Scout Leader – my role is never dull! It draws on a number of skills I’ve learned in life and work, but the training that the Scout Association offers has also helped me become established in my role.”

One of the challenges facing Scouting is recruiting more volunteers to meet demand. Around one third of groups in the south east of Scotland have waiting lists of eager young people looking to join.

This link gives an example volunteer advert on the role: www.volunteerscotland.net/find-an-opportunity/opportunity-search/detail/?opportunityID=124926

If you are interesting in volunteering with South East Scotland, contact Scott Burton on 0131 229 3756 or email him on development@sesscouts.org.uk.

For those interested in volunteering outside the Lothians and Borders go to:


The Author
Scott Burton, Local Development Officer for South East Scotland Scouts
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