Longest waiting list ever to join Scouts in Scotland

Youngsters face a wait to join Scouts due to lack of volunteers.
PICTURE: Callum Bennetts
Youngsters face a wait to join Scouts due to lack of volunteers. PICTURE: Callum Bennetts
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The waiting list to join the Scouts in Scotland is the 
longest in the organisation’s history due to a shortage of volunteers.

While record numbers of people are signing up to help, many can only give limited time due to factors such as 
job-shares or child-care responsibilities and volunteer on a “flexible” basis.

This can mean volunteering every second Tuesday evening which Scouts Scotland welcomes, but this is not boosting the numbers needed – the movement currently needs hundreds more volunteers.

Over 3,400 young people are waiting to join the organisation north of the Border, a figure larger than ever before and 9.4 per cent higher than the previous year.

The UK waiting list is 51,000.

The charity has a total membership of 50,081 in Scotland, including 38,636 young 
people as members and 11,445 adult volunteers.

Graeme Luke, head of Scouting operations in Scotland, said Scotland faced particular recruitment challenges. He said: “From a Scottish point of view, rural challenges do exist. Young people need a Scout group where they live.

“However, we have Scouts in all 32 local authorities and also have a team of development officers whose role is to recruit adults, ‘selling’ Scouting to them, highlighting the opportunities it can give them.”

Mr Luke said that, as well as time commitment, adult 
volunteers needed to have a skill which could help Scouts working on many of the 200 badges the movement offered.

“These can range from 
practical skills such as digital communications and social media skills to teaching 
international awareness, interpreting or gardening.

“However, for adults volunteering we can offer an award-winning training scheme which has 38 modules.

“This will give them the opportunity to add all sorts of skills to their CV including the “soft skills” not often taught in schools – resilience, team building and team management, planning an overseas trip.”

Alison, a volunteer leader from Aberfeldy, in Perth and Kinross, said: “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.”

Bear Grylls, Chief Scout of the movement founded in 1908, said: “Our challenge is to keep recruiting even more adults as we’ve got 3,400 young 
people in Scotland wanting to join and benefit from what Scouting offers.

“Volunteering changes us all for the better. Please join me.”