Peter Marcus, a volunteer Scout leader and trustee, talks about how young people are shaping the UK’s largest co-educational youth charity
This weekend scouts from all over Hampshire will meet at the charity’s Hampshire headquarters in the New Forest for a weekend of fun and to discuss how to improve scouting.
Hampshire Scout Youth Council meets twice a year to talk about a range of issues facing scouting and its members shape scouting at all levels.
Two members of the youth council helped to organise an event in Doncaster earlier this year called YouShape, which brought 14-18 year olds from all over the country together to look at inclusion, growth and community impact.
For any organisation these are important topics, and when it comes to scouting members of all ages get involved in them.
The Hampshire Scout Youth Council also chooses people to represent our 20,000 local members at things like The Scout Association’s annual general meeting and on the county executive committee.
I got asked to sit on the Hampshire Scouts County Executive Committee less than a month before my eighteenth birthday and was elected to it the month after.
This in turn made me a trustee of Hampshire Scouts, one of the people responsible for scouting in Hampshire.
This trust in young people is one of the things that I think is special about scouting.
In some organisations it is deemed most appropriate to leave the important decision making to people who have been involved for many years.
However, scouting recognises that all our members have an equal part to play in making sure the movement is successful.
That is why, I think, scouting continues to grow.
This weekend’s youth council members will have the chance to have their say on a range of topics as well as getting to enjoy some activities and hear about what’s happening in scouting at the moment.
Scouting isn’t the only organisation looking to engage its members in this way.
There are countless similar projects in other organisations such as the NHS England Youth Forum, the National Express Youth Panel and youth councils up and down the county.
I for one am glad that charities, councils and companies are realising that young people need to be listened to – and we’re at the forefront of this change.
To find out more about Hampshire Scout Youth Council visit hampshirescouting.org.uk or follow @HantsScoutYC on Twitter.