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Retaining adults and young people

Retention of all our members is really important to the sustainability and growth of Scouting; experience shows that where adults and young people enjoy and take pride in their Scouting, everybody benefits.

Retaining Adults

Adults volunteering for Scouting want to feel valued for the contribution that they make and this can be achieved using a strong welcome, induction and offering continued support throughout their time in Scouting.

We are developing an interesting understanding of why adults leave Scouting, some of which may be more surprising than you think.

The reason new volunteers leave within 12 months is often because they do not feel welcome or they find that the role they have taken on demands more time or responsibility than they were expecting. Sometimes they feel challenged by the behaviour of young people or have difficulties with other adults.

Volunteers who ‘came through the Movement’ often stay with Scouting and volunteer for many years but when they leave it can be due to changes in personal circumstances and their time or because of difficulties with other adults.

Many parents are willing to volunteer but typically stay for 3-5 years and again, leave due to changes in personal circumstances and their time or because of difficulties with other adults.

So what can we do about it?

To improve the retention of adult volunteers we can:

Retaining young people

In 2012, research was carried out to look at why young people stay in or leave Cubs and the following are some key highlights to what was found, many of which can be applied across the age sections:

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 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 in Scouting. As well as having fun, our members 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 Scouting great. Leaders who are supportive, enthusiastic and inspiring, and who listen to what the young people want to do, are key to successful Sections.

Leaders working together
No-one is a superhero. Scouting 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
Helping members transition between the sections 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 Packs, Troops or Units and making sure they move up as soon as they are ready rather than holding on until the last possible moment.

The full report can be found here.


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