We all know that we are making a difference as Scouters working with young people. But how do we really know- we JUST know, you can see it in the young people we are working with, we can see it in their selection of activities, but how do we really know and how do we measure this?
Scouting has long relied on personal stories and anecdotal evidence to justify the impact we are making. At the world level, “Social Impact” is one of the six strategic priorities of Vision 2023, and a strong focus has been to measure Scouting’s impact on a global level.
Based on this request, the Reaching Out to All (ROTA) work stream, which I lead, has been working during the current triennium (2014-2017) on developing a toolkit that would allow national scout organisations to measure their impact on a national level. The toolkit is based on a simple cost-benefit analysis, that involves evaluating a list of outcomes individuals and communities are expected to have from engaging in Scouting. Our next stage is to prove the impact Scouting achieves in individuals’ lives. Currently at the world level there is a need to go beyond this methodology, and compare youth and young adults who have been involved in Scouting to those who haven’t across a set of skills, attitudes, knowledge and behaviour that is considered to be developed through Scouting.
There are two main reasons for measuring the impact Scouting- it will help us understand what we are doing well in our youth programme, and where we need to improve, and it will help us show external audiences the impact we have in concrete terms, backed by evidence and “hard figures” (rather than anecdotal evidence).I will keep you informed about this exciting global project which reinforces that scouts are creating a better world.
Peter J Blatch OAM
Deputy Chief Commissioner