Information for parents and carers

If your child is interested in joining scouting, or you're keen for them to get involved, take a look at some of the questions we are most frequently asked by parents and carers.

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How to join

The first step to becoming joining is to find your nearest Scout Group, Explorer Scout Unit or Scout Network. This is easy to do, just use our finder tool. To get started, simple find your nearest provision, and apply to join, your enquiry will be sent straight to the local leader, who will send you more information on joining.

Scouting is open to all, and we can usually tweak things to make sure everyone can join in the fun. If you have any questions about accessibility, chat with your local leader as soon as they contact you. By being upfront from the start, parents/carers can work in partnership with local leaders to make sure their young person has . More information on specific adjustments can be found on our national website here. 

Is scouting for my child(red)?

Scouting is for everyone. If you have any questions about accessibility, have a chat with your local leader. By being upfront about additional needs from the start, we can work together to make sure everyone can join in the fun on their own terms. More information on specific adjustments can be found here. 

Is there a waiting list?

Lots of young people want to join scouting and you might have to wait for a space to become available before you can start. If your local colony is full or has a waiting list, parents and other adults might want to think about what they could do to help out. Regardless of skillset or availability, there’s an opportunity for everyone to contribute. Volunteering some of your time to scouting is easier than you think and doesn't mean making a regular commitment ,

How can my child benefit from joining scouts?

In an independent survey of over 2,000 parents of Scouts, nine out of ten parents said Scouting is worthwhile and nine in ten said their children find Scouting enjoyable.

As your child progresses through scouting you should be able to see signs of the impact their scouting adventure has on them.

Parents tell us scouting gives their children more confidence, responsibility and a broader set of friends. Scouting can help develop your child’s social skills and encourage self-sufficiency, and gives them access to activities and opportunities that may have been otherwise unavailable to them. A huge number of parents agreed that since their child joined Scouting family life was easier and they were ‘nicer children to live with’.

Is the scouts a religious organisation?

The Scout Association is an inclusive and values-based Movement. Membership is open to young people and adults of all faiths and beliefs, including the absence of an affirmed faith, humanists or atheists, who share our values. Our values are integrity, respect, care, belief and cooperation. A key element of the programme is spiritual development and exploring different faiths, beliefs and attitudes. There are a range of variations of the Promise (a commitment made by all members), to account for different age ranges, faith and beliefs and nationalities (including those who are stateless). 

My child is in scouting, is there anything I could do to help?

The short answer is yes. Many of our helpers and leaders are parents of our youth members. This is for a number of reasons including being able to see first-hand how Scouting benefits young people and wanting to give something back, being able to spend more time with their child and realising that volunteering for Scouting is enjoyable and teaches them new skills. Speak to your child’s Section Leader to discuss how you might become involved.


I will only be able to help out on a flexible basis is this ok?
Yes. There are many different ways to help in Scouting and many of these can be adapted to suit your needs. Whether you can help out once a fortnight, month or term or just at special events or camps, there is bound to be a role you can play. Learn more.


I don’t feel I have any suitable skills; how can I get involved?
Parents can volunteer and help in many ways; you don’t have to be a regular Bear Grylls. You might have first aid knowledge that you could teach the group, or you might be able to teach our Scouts a thing or two about DIY.

If you’re good with accounts you could be Group treasurer, or if you’re a culinary whizz you could run cooking sessions with the young people. Everyone has a skill (whether you know it or not) and we can make use of it.

There's no pressure to continue as a helper or leader afterwards, but hopefully we'll be able to inspire you by showing how easy and rewarding it can be to volunteer with Scouts.


Do I have to wear uniform?
No. Although Scouting is a uniformed organisation, adults in Scouting do not have to wear a uniform.

We’re moving to a new area, can I transfer my child to a new scout group?

If you're moving to a new area, transferring to a new Scout Group can be great way of helping your child settle in and make friends. You should let your child's current leader know as soon as you can that you're planning to move.

When you know where you're moving to, you can contact the local Group directly.

You can also call the Scout Information Centre on 0845 300 1818. They will be able to put you in touch with a Group in your new area.

If you're moving abroad, the Information Centre will be able to give you the details of the Scout organisation in that country.

My child is moving up a section; what do I need to do to help them prepare?

When the time comes to move up to the next age range, a young person can have mixed feelings: excitement at moving on, sadness at leaving friends behind. Making the transition as smooth as possible goes a long way to helping your child settle into their new section.

First of all you need to check what the process involves with your child’s current Section Leader as it can vary locally. You might need to put your child on a waiting list for the next section or, in some cases, it may happen automatically.

You should also ask whether the new Section Leader will be in touch or if you have to contact them first. Also be aware that meeting times and places may be different in the next section.

If your child has friends in their section that they want to move up with, make sure that the section leader knows about this so that they can help if possible. This could also be a good opportunity to arrange sharing transport to and from meetings.

How much does it cost to send my child to scouts?

The cost of going to meetings will depend on how your local group or unit does things. Usually, a basic fee covering the cost of the hire and upkeep of the place where you meet will be collected weekly, monthly, termly or annually. Trips, camps and activities that take place away from the usual meeting place are usually charged separately, (pay as you attend).

Scouting is designed to be an affordable way to learn lots of new skills through a single membership. Nobody should feel excluded because of money worries. If they’re concerned about costs, adults should speak to their local leader in confidence, to see what they can do to help. In most cases, support is available to make sure nobody misses out. 

How are leaders screened, and what safety precautions do The Scout Association have in place?

Our leaders undergo a stringent screening process. This includes a Police Records Check, appointment panel Interview plus two personal references. Our thorough safelt and risk management policy require that there must always be two registered leaders present with any number of children. Leaders are well versed in risk management and our Duty of Care during their training process.

For more information on how we keep you child safe download our Safe & Sound leaflet. 

Is there a planned programme of activities for scouts?

Yes. Behind the fun of scouting, there is an educational programme. While each group or unit will undertake different activities, the main programme themes are outdoor and adventure, skills and world. The leaders in each group/unit are trained to plan and delivery the programme.

What do scouts wear and where can I buy it?

Scouts wear a uniform depending on the age range. All Scouts (adults and young people) wear a coloured scarf or necker, the colour of which varies depending on the Group. Uniform can either be bought from Scout Stores or your local district scout shop (the adults in your child's group/unit will be able to give you more information).


Have you got another question? Contact us to get an answer.


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