Young flock to join Scouts for adventure - Home News - UK - The Independent

Young flock to join Scouts for adventure

Numbers soar close to 500,000 as schools turn away from outdoor pursuits.

Elderly ladies stranded on the wrong side of the road can breathe a sigh of relief. The UK now has more Scouts than at any time in the past 40 years. Membership of the group has reached almost 500,000, show figures published today. More than 16,500 people have joined since January last year, the fifth consecutive annual rise.

Contrary to the commonly held belief that Britain's youth is an increasingly sedentary bunch, the Scout Association said a major reason for the surge was down to record levels of interest from teenagers. Some 65,000 teenagers are now involved in Scouting, a rise of more than 26 per cent since 2001.

So why are so many people signing up? For Kate Lloyd, a Scout leader at the 100th St George's Newcastle troop, the answer is clear. "People are coming to the Scouts because of the activities they offer," she said. "Rock climbing, canoeing, abseiling and other outdoor activities. Schools are turning away from them because they're concerned about health and safety. The Scouts are carrying on with these just the same. People turn up to our Scout group because they want to do these sorts of things."

Among activities undertaken by Scouts in the UK are zorbing, water skiing, abseiling and adventure glider flights, not to be found on the curriculum of many schools. But the growth in membership has also come after a keen publicity drive by the group. Ms Lloyd says several of her troop's new members have come because "their parents have seen Scouting advertised and encouraged their kids to join".

In a PR coup in July last year, the adventurer and television presenter Bear Grylls was appointed Chief Scout. He hoped the growth would inspire more people to join. "It's fantastic to witness such a huge surge in Scouting," he said. "It is proof that Scouting is appealing more and more to teenagers. Scouting is empowering, wild and fun, and offers so many adventure-based activities for young people and adults alike. My goal is for every young person who wants to be involved in Scouting to be able to be so. I hope to inspire even more adults to volunteer and help this happen."

Adults, too, are joining in increasing numbers. Some 2,800 people are signed up to the leaders' programme, up 3.1 per cent on 2009. But waiting-lists to join the movement remain at an all-time high due to the need for more adult volunteers. Although more than 13,500 new places were created this year, thanks to 2,871 new adult volunteers, some 33,500 young people are still on the waiting-list.

Not all adults who volunteer work with young people; other jobs include gardening and general DIY, organising events, doing the accounts and writing press releases. Only 27 per cent of volunteers are parents of children involved in Scouting, and many volunteers have no previous connection to the movement. "The element of giving something back, to do something beneficial, attracts people," said Ms Lloyd, who by day is a project manager at the Sector Skills Council. "And then people just get hooked. It's hard work, but it's really good fun. And kids get such a bad press these days when for the most part they're fine individuals. Lots of adults get involved in Scouting because they think kids deserve a fairer deal."

The Scout movement was founded in the early 20th century by the military officer Robert Baden-Powell. Its handbook, Scouting for Boys, remains the fourth highest-selling book in history. Worldwide Scouting now has 28 million members, both male and female, and operates in almost every country. In the UK, the number of Scout volunteers is higher than the combined workforce of McDonald's (67,000) and the BBC (24,000).

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week