Was Scouting prepared for this? A surge in Scots teen membership
CLAD in khaki, they first kindled fire and camped under canvas more than 100 years ago. The Scouts, inspired by the young messengers of the Siege of Mafeking, during the Boer War, have triumphed in a more recent battle of attrition against once- falling numbers and a public perception of irrelevancy.
Scouts in Scotland have achieved their largest growth since 1972, according to the UK Scout Movement which said 1,741 new members joined in the past year.
Scouting here has grown 4.7 per cent since 31 January 2009, helping the total British membership reach 499,323. The impressive surge in membership, the fifth consecutive year of expansion, has helped cement Scouting's position as the largest co-educational youth movement in the country.
And, according to the organisation, a large part of this growth is due to record numbers of teenagers in Scotland joining. This is the fastest-growing age group, with 382 new members in the past year, up 7.8 per cent on 2009 compared to the UK average of 5.4 per cent. This means there are now 5,283 teenagers in Scouting in Scotland – 26.8 per cent more than 2001 when such detailed data was first collected.
Much has changed since Baden-Powell suggested cold showers as an antidote to the average teenage boy's nocturnal activities. Since 1990, the Scouts have been mixed sex, and while boys in the past would spend time earning their Tenderfoot badge for catching a runaway horse, today's Scouts compete to earn badges in PR and IT. Yet at the heart of the Scout movement is an appreciation of nature and a love of the outdoors.
Overall waiting lists to join Scouting remain at an all-time high due to the need for more adult volunteers. While the Scout Association has been able to create more than 13,500 new places this year thanks to 2,871 new adults volunteering their time to local groups, there are currently more then 33,500 young people waiting to join Scouting across the UK – nearly 2,200 of them in Scotland.
Peter Ferguson, 17, an Explorer Scout from Perth, said: "Scouting's awesome. I totally love being involved. You get to do so many amazing activities that you just wouldn't do elsewhere. It's great. I'd definitely encourage others to join."
Chief Scout Bear Grylls, the TV presenter on survival skills, said: "It's fantastic to witness such a huge surge in Scouting – the biggest growth for 38 years – and it's proof that Scouting is appealing more and more to teenagers.
So I hope to inspire even more adults to volunteer and help this happen."
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west