At the last World Scout Conference held in Slovenia in August 2014 a new Scout Youth Involvement Policy was accepted. This was a ‘Coming of Age’ document as it updated the previous policy developed in 1993. It defines youth involvement as a capacity building process based on enabling young people to actively share responsibility with adults for making decisions that affect their lives, and the lives of others in their community.

Included in this document are

  • The impact of recent research and developments in youth involvement
  • Guidelines to increase opportunities for youth members involvement at all levels of Scouting
  • A framework to assist with implementation at local, institutional and wider community levels
  • Definitions and explanations about Youth Involvement and why it is necessary in Scouting
  • Ways it can be ensured and strengthened at all levels of Scouting
  • Emphasis on the importance of the team and leadership experiences as tools at the unit level to enable young people to be involved
  • Guidelines for youth Involvement at the community level
  • Emphasises the need to establish a collaborative environment where young people and adults share knowledge and skills naturally and harmoniously
  • A timeframe of 9 years for implementation and review
  • Tools and activities to enable National Scout Organisations and world level structures in WOSM to enact the policy

Tools that promote youth involvement include ones we in Queensland are familiar with such as

Youth platforms and forums e.g. Branch and National Youth Councils. Other tools include

  • Mentoring/mentorship
  • Specific coaching
  • Specifying term of office to share skills among team
  • Right of young people to vote
  • Peer education models
  • Youth networks
  • Youth advisers
  • Quota to ensure a minimum number of young people are involved
  • Community service
  • Internships
  • Job shadowing
  • Partnerships with other NGOs

It would be timely for each of us to consider what we are doing in our roles to build the capacity of our youth members and to encourage youth participation to ensure greater involvement and empowerment. The new policy can be accessed at

Peter Blatch OAM
Deputy Chief Commissioner Youth Program