‘Putting a younger face on scouting’

A group of scouts reading a map as part of a young spokespeople course
A group of scouts reading a map as part of a young spokespeople course
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Peter Marcus, a scout leader in Portsmouth and Scout Trustee for Hampshire, writes about the modern face of the scout movement

Scouting has changed since 1907 into a modern and forward-thinking movement. It’s the largest youth movement in the world open to both boys and girls.

This weekend scouts from across Hampshire are being given the chance to try something new. For two days, they’re putting aside the adventure of camping, climbing and being Bear Grylls in order to learn more about the media.

This is all part of scouting’s plan to become more youth-led, by making young people the face of the movement. Their logic is simple, young people can speak to young people easier than an adult can speak to young people. It makes sense. That’s why they run young spokespeople courses, just one of the ways scouting gives its members skills which will help them in life.

I was lucky enough to go on one of these weekend courses three or four years ago. On that course I learned how to do radio interviews, television interviews and how to write press releases. It was that course which got me interested in the media, and it must have done a good job because I’m now training to be a journalist.

Scouting’s founder, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, was a supporter of scouting being shaped by its members. He said: ‘Scouting is a game for boys under the leadership of boys under the direction of a man.’

Although scouting isn’t a boys’ movement anymore, the idea of scouting being ‘a game for young people’ is truer than ever. Scouting has young people on every committee, like the Hampshire County Executive which itself has four under 25s on it.

I could bore you with how scouting has changed over the last 108 years, or where they see the next few years taking them. But compared to the undeniable impact scouting has on its members, that isn’t very interesting.

What is interesting is that scouting encourages its members to try new things, meet new people and grow in confidence.

Three things which it does for both youth and adult members – members like me.

The best thing is scouting always welcomes both adults and young people (boys and girls) to get involved in the adventure.

n Go to portsmouthscouts.org.uk to find out more and get involved.