A Guide to Becoming a Scout Leader

18 June 2011

adult-help-scoutingI was flicking through my Google Analytics stats when I came across one interesting keywood search that came to this blog. The keyword was:

a guide to becoming a scout leader

This intrigued me, so the first thing I did was go and Google the keyword myself. Interestingly, there was virtually nothing out there useful which appeared. Yes, there was a sponsored link to www.scouts.org.uk, but that’s not really the same.


So, how does one become a Scout Leader?


Note: This is a brief guide and the specifics will vary depending on local Scouting provision!

Step 1

Decide on your motivations. Why do you want to be involved Scouting? How much free time do you have to give to Scouting (don’t worry if you don’t have much – there are roles to suit you however much or little free time you can spend Scouting!)? Do you have any special skills? What do you expect in return?

The answer to these questions shouldn’t put you off: Scouting has many many roles to suit you whoever you are and whatever your skills, interests and however much time you have to volunteer!

Step 2

Which section/age group would you prefer to work with?

  • Beavers: 6-8 years old
  • Cubs: 8-10½ years old
  • Scouts: 10½-14 years old
  • Explorers: 14-18 years old
  • None of the above – there are many non-Leader roles in Scouting too, including becoming part of an Active Support Unit

Each Section has their own specific needs and different people are better suited to different Sections – and you can always move between Sections at a later date if you change your mind!

Step 3

So you now know why you want to volunteer as a Scout Leader and have an idea about which section(s) you want to volunteer with. Now you need to contact your local Scouting!

There are a multitude of ways to do this. Scouting often appears in local volunteering literature or websites and many groups/districts/counties have their own websites with contact forms (like my Group and my District do) where you can offer to volunteer. Or you can fill in a form at scouts.org.uk instead

Step 4

Once you have contacted your local Scouting representatives, you will usually be contacted back pretty quickly.

What happens now will depend on how each Group/District/County run their volunteer recruitment process, but will usually involve having a meeting or discussion with someone. This discussion should cover the role you are to undertake.

Step 5

Once everyone is happy with your role, you will need to complete a AA (Adult Application) and CRB form (including details of referees). This is because Leaders and other Adult Members may have unsupervised access to young people, and safety comes first!

Shortly after this has been completed, you should be able to start volunteering!

Step 6

Once all the forms are complete and returned, there is one final administrative step (though you can start volunteering before this step is completed). This is the Appointments Advisory Commitee – and it’s not as scary as it sounds! Your Scouting “line manager” will explain this to you before it your appointment, but it is usually a short discussion with other people involved in local Scouting to ensure that everyone (including you!) are happy with the role you are doing.

Step 7

By now, you are involved in Scouting and hopefully very much enjoying it! But in order to move your appointment from “provisional” to “full”, there is one final step to take within your first five months.

As Scouting is committed to ensuring that both our Adult and Youth Members are safe, there are three compulsory “Getting Started” training modules which will usually be covered over a couple of evenings (depending on local training organisation):

  • Module 1 – Essential Information
  • Module 2 – Personal Learning Plan
  • Module 3 – Tools for the Job

Step 8

Congratulations! You are now a full Adult Member in Scouting!

I promise that it isn’t as arduous as it sounds!

Updated with help from Escouts.


  • jo said:

    Sounds spot on! Well written. Once you start you’ll wonder what you did without- a good experience :)

  • Strictly Jen said:

    Great post, and very interesting as a parent of a Beaver to know what his leaders have done.

    I will have to write something similar from this side of the fence.

  • Jamie said:

    This is really good. I’m just about to embark on joining a scout group and the bit I would love to ask but feel a bit embarrassed about is what will it cost me as I begin the journey as hopefully a uniformed assistant section leader? I understand paying my way on trips/camping etc but what do I have to pay for? Uniform, training events, equipment etc…

  • kiera said:

    Thanks for writing this asit has helped as i use to be a scout then became a young leader,. unfortunately i moved away and havent done any scouting for nearly 4 years.

  • Sam said:

    Great tips. I’ve bookmarked this as a resource for some of our scout groups that get in contact!

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  • Jay said:

    Great article and of use as i have just completed all my paperwork and now ready to hand it in at the next meeting. Hopefully it wont be long before i get started on moduels 1,2 and 3.

  • Emilie said:

    Good afternoon,

    May I first of all introduce myself; I’m Emilie, I’m 20 years old and I live in Mauritius, a little island in the Indian Ocean. I am at my second year of Communication license. I confess, it is my first time I write on a blog of someone who is already very accustomed with blogs. The purpose for my project was to create a blog on something we are engaged and involved in. I decided to discuss about Scouting especially on Cub scouting. I am engaged in this movement since I was 8 years old; it is a really important part of my life. I’m now a Cub’s leader.
    During my researches, I saw your blog and I find really interesting to see how people are involve like me in this movement.
    I find really interesting these tips you give to become a scout leader. I myself take care of 20 little boys, and As a Cub’ leader I find essential to be 100% engage and involved in scouting activities. I think that Scouting movements form a family and that we need to be prepared and do our best in every circumstances.

  • Danielle said:

    i recently joined back up because i missed scouts so much , it was amazing there is stuff from my scout dayz i’ll never forget now i want to be in training to become a leader and i have a new scouts group i joined and i can’t wait to see where i’ll go from here :)

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