If you’re on social media (and we appreciate not everyone is), you’ve probably seen a lot more activity on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram than normal over the last week or so. Woven between the posts about regular Scouting, future events and useful updates, we’ve been sharing volunteering appeals in varying forms. Everyone is different; we all have different skills, availability and capabilities – that’s what makes us unique. It’s also why one-size messaging doesn’t appeal or resonate with everyone.
Alongside our posts, the local and national media have been sharing some fantastic content about Scouting. From BBC Radio Sheffield and Toby Foster’s breakfast show speaking with young people and some local leaders to Sky News interviewed the Scouting Chief Exec and Deputy UK Chief Commissioner. There have been articles in the Guardian, Independent and more. This level of awareness highlight both the force of good scouting is for young people, and those who volunteer have been terrific.
There are two key messages amongst all of the reporting:
Firstly, that like many other organisations, COVID has massively impacted Scouting.
Active membership slumped by a quarter over the past year, with 117,000 fewer beavers, cubs, scouts and explorers taking part. One in 10 of its adult volunteers, many of whom were key workers, have also slipped away, with the ranks of its volunteers reducing from 156,000 to 141,000 in the last year. Many adults who lost jobs or had to change jobs during the pandemic were no longer able to helpThe Guardian
Secondly, that despite all this, scouting is still a massively positive experience and an opportunity that’s enjoyed by both young people and adult volunteers – it’s also critical in supporting our mental health and wellbeing. Many of the young people only had scouting to lean on during lockdowns. Our volunteers conveyed that scouting meant they didn’t feel isolated and had rewarding experiences to look forward to supporting young people.
Both of these tie into the National Scouting campaign #GoodForYou. Our Chief Scout, Bear Grylls, summarises things nicely in the following video.
But what can I do, really?
We can’t emphasise this enough – Scouting is a flexible volunteering opportunity. It doesn’t matter if you can give 50 hours a week, an hour a month, or are there to support a day trip or event. However much you volunteer, you will make a difference – both to the young people and to yourself.
The best thing you can do is let us know you’re there, and let’s talk about what could work for you. We are all different – let’s see what rewarding opportunities fit for you.
Scouting in the media
- BBC Radio Sheffield – “We’re looking for the goers and doers” [Audio – 6 mins]
- The Guardian – “Scouts suffer worst membership slump since second world war” [Article – 2 min read]
- Sheffield Star – “Scouts launch campaign to help Sheffield youngsters recover from impact of pandemic“[Article 2 min read]
- Independent – “Young people need the Scouts now more than ever – and you can help by volunteering” [Article – 3 min read]
- UK Scouts – “Scouts launch #GoodForYou to recruit volunteers and help Generation COVID recover” [Article – 3 min read]
- Third Sector – “Why now is the time to champion the power of volunteering” [Article – 3 min read]
- Sky News – “Scouts Volunteer Recruitment” [Video – 7 mins]
- BBC Radio Sheffield – “Make a difference” [Video – 67 secs]