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Research into Cub Scouting

An independent research organisation has recently conducted research into the Cub section to find out why young people stay in or leave Cubs.  The report highlights what a positive and valuable experience Cub Scouting is for the thousands of young people who are involved.

As we all know, Cub Scouting can not only provide a fun evening but can also broaden the horizons for young people. It can give them the chance to develop skills and interests, make new friends and discover a life-long hobby.

We've been told that a good evening at Cubs can be as diverse as:

  • cooking on a campfire
  • rock-climbing
  • playing games outside
  • learning how to cook
  • working as a team to win a prize

Some factors are really important to making Cubs a success. If we can keep focussing on doing these things well, we will help more and more young people have an amazing experience of Scouting.

Getting outdoors

Cubs love being outside. Whether it's playing a game, lighting a fire, trying an adventurous activity or simply walking to the park, getting outside is vital to Cub Scouting. This doesn’t have to mean high adventure, and is just as important in winter as in summer.

Fun, challenge and badges

We already know that badges make Scouting special, and that achieving them can be the highlight of a child’s time at Cubs. As well as having fun, Cubs want to be challenged and relish the sense of achievement that being awarded a 'difficult' badge can give them.

A supportive atmosphere

Throughout the research young people talked about their leaders and why they make Cubs great. Leaders who are supportive, enthusiastic and inspiring, and who listen to what Cubs want to do, are key to successful Cub packs.

Leaders working together

No-one is a superhero. Cubs is most successful when a team of adults work together, each bringing different skills with them. So together they can be kind and understanding, good at communication, organised, full of energy and sensitive to the needs of different children. All this and they can still have some time to enjoy themselves.

Moving on to Scouts

Helping Cubs with the transition to Scouts will enable them to carry on enjoying the fun and adventure of Scouting for even longer. This can mean giving parents and young people information about different Troops, and making sure they move up as soon as they are ready rather than holding on until the last possible moment.

The research revealed that when it is done right, Cub Scouting is unlike anything else available to young people. In terms of the ongoing opportunity to try out new activities, stretch yourself, make friends and develop personally, as with the rest of Scouting, Cubs is truly unique.

Why have we been doing this work?

For some time there have been concerns that Cub Scouting is not growing as fast as the other sections in Scouting, and that we seem to be losing older Cubs at around age 9. We commissioned this research to look into the facts around these concerns, as well as what we can do about them.

An analysis of demographic trends in the last 10 years has shown that Scouting has actually done a good job of increasing membership of 9-year-olds during the years when this age group has been decreasing across the UK. So although Cub Scouting is growing slower than other sections, the growth is a significant achievement.

What research was done?

nfpSynergy, an independent research consultancy that specialises in working with non-profit organisations, was engaged to carry out this research. It interviewed leaders, young people and parents around the UK, including people who have left Scouting as well as those who are still involved.

It also looked in depth at our census statistics and at other relevant research that it conducted with The Scout Association in the past in order to come to its conclusions.

How can I find out more?

An 11-page summary of the report produced by nfpSynergy can be found here

The full report is 59 pages long. You can request a copy from the programme team by emailing programme@scouts.org.uk

We will incorporate these findings into the programme and other pieces of work over the next couple of years. Look out for more communications and ways to get involved.



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