Parents guide to Scouts
From the first experimental camp for 20 boys in 1907, the movement now has an estimated 28 million members worldwide, and in the UK alone there are over 499,000 boys and girls involved in Scouting. An increase in adult volunteers means that more and more young people are now able to take part in their own big adventure.
The Scout Section is for young people usually aged between 10½ and 14½ years old. The Scout Troop is the third section in the Scout Group, after Beavers and Cubs.
Scouts are encouraged to take part in a wide range of activities as part of their programme. Participation rather than meeting set standards is the key approach, and for the Scout who wants to be recognised for his or her achievements there are a number of Challenges awards and activity badges.
Scouts take part in a Balanced Programme that helps them to find out about the world in which they live, encourages them to know their own abilities and the importance of keeping fit, and helps develop their creative talents. It also provides opportunities to explore their own values and personal attitudes.
Being outdoors is important, and half of the programme is given over to taking part in traditional Scouting skills, such as camping, survival and cooking, as well as a wider spectrum of adventurous activities, from abseiling to zorbing.
Its international aspect gives Scouting a special appeal, and many Scouts now travel abroad during their time in the section. In 2007, 40,000 Scouts from around the world attended the World Jamboree in the UK, and Scouts regularly participate in traditional camps and experiences both on home soil and abroad, each of them a unique experience in its own right.
A Scout Troop is divided into small groups called Patrols, each headed up by an older Scout called a Patrol Leader, and often with an Assistant Patrol Leader.
Scouting is about being with friends, as part of a team, and participating in the adventure and opportunities of life.