Being a Scout

Who are Scouts?

Scouts are a go-getting group of young people aged 10½ to 14 who:

  • Master new skills and try new things
  • Make new friends
  • Have fun and go on adventures, at home and abroad
  • Explore the world around them
  • Help others and make a difference, in their own communities and beyond

Week in and week out, they gather in groups called Scout Troops to conquer the small task of changing the world.



What do Scouts get up to?

Discovering the world

Being a Scout is all about discovering the world on your own terms and making the most of what you have, wherever and whoever you are.

Alongside your new friends, you’ll master the skills that will help you weather the storms of life, and try things you’d never get the chance to do at home or at school - working with trained volunteers to achieve whatever you set your mind to.


Starting small, thinking big

Scouts start small but think big. They stand up for what they believe in and make a difference on their doorstops, confident in the knowledge that their daily actions add up.

In a society that can often feel increasingly isolated and inward facing, Scouts build bridges and break barriers.

Throughout history, they’ve played all sorts of useful roles in society, and this legacy continues today.



Listening in, lending a hand

Scouts seek out the answers to the big questions, and to the smaller questions that don’t seem to matter but really should. Most importantly, they say yes more often than they say no - whether they’re taking part in their first ever camp away from home, or writing their first line of code, or accepting the last of the toasted marshmallows.

Sound like fun? That’s because it is. All that’s missing is you.



Who leads Scouts?

Each Scout Troop is made up of young people aged 10½ to 14, led by trained adult volunteers who are on hand to share their skills and keep everyone safe. Traditionally, Scout leaders were nicknamed ‘Skip’ – an abbreviation of ‘Skipper’, which is a name given to a ship’s captain. In some Troops this name is still used, but these days it’s more common for Scout leaders to just use their real names.

Within their Troop, Scouts are part of a Patrol - smaller groups of Scouts who look out for one another, and help each other grow. Scouts usually gather in their Patrols at the beginning and end of meetings. They might also stick together on expeditions or trips away, or during certain activities.



The bigger Scout family

Scouts are probably the most well-known members of the global Scout family.

Closer to home, they’re also part of their wider local Scout Group, alongside Beavers (aged 6-8) and Cubs (aged 8 to 10½). When they're older, they can also join Explorers (for young people aged 14 to 18) and Scout Network (for young people aged 18 to 25). Although both of these are closely associated with the younger sections, they are not part of the local Scout Group.



Promises and Ceremonies

Every Scout is unique, but they find common ground in their shared Scout values, and make a promise to stick by them.

Making a promise when you join the Troop is a way of celebrating these values. Every time a new Scout decides to join, they chat through their promise with their leader before saying it out loud in front of their fellow Scouts.

The process usually takes place once you’ve had a few weeks to settle in, and is known as being ‘invested’ into Scouts. Usually, the promise ceremony happens in a place you’ve chosen, or in a memorable place that means a lot to the group.

It could be held in your usual meeting place, or it could happen around the campfire, or it could happen on a boat sailing the seven seas. Regardless, it’s a big celebration for all involved, and it’s not uncommon for family and friends to join your fellow Scouts as they cheer you on.

You can find options for the promise by clicking the Promise and Law link on the left of this page.

A similar ceremony – known as a Moving On ceremony – usually happens once you reach the end of your time at Scouts. It’s an opportunity to celebrate all you’ve achieved and conquered and enjoyed – including that time you moved mountains, and laughed so hard on camp you spurted lemonade out of your nose. It’s also a chance to properly say goodbye, and send you on your merry way.



How to join

Interested in joining? To join Scouts, please fill in the Join Us form, linked to the left of this page.


Is Scouts suitable for me?

Scouts 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 are itching to join Scouts, so you might need to wait for a space to become available.

If your local Troop has a waiting list, parents and other adults might be able to solve the problem. We don’t just need swashbuckling adventurers to lead expeditions. We also need listeners, tidy-uppers and tea-makers, for as little or as much time as they can spare. If your parents or carers are curious about giving it a go but don’t want to overcommit, why not ask them to complete our four-week volunteering challenge? Every hour counts, and everyone is welcome.


What should I wear?

Once you’ve had time to settle in, you’ll get your own uniform to wear during meetings and on trips away.

Scouts usually wear a green shirt or blouse with their badges sewn on, which they pair with the Troop scarf. They might wear blue uniform trousers or a skirt, or they might save their uniform bottoms for special occasions like awards ceremonies and public events – choosing to wear something more casual with their shirt during the week. If you’re not sure where to start, adult volunteers can give you more information about what to buy and where to buy it.


How much does it cost?

There's a basic fee covering the cost of the hire and upkeep of the place where you meet. Trips, camps and activities that take place away from the usual meeting place are usually charged separately.

Scouts 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.

Windsor and Eton District Scouts

Berkshire Scouts County Office, Sindlesham Court, Mole Road, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG41 5EA

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