Most people that see Scouting in action realise that it does add something to the lives of the young people and adults involved. The impact of Scouting has now been independently measured as Wayne Bulpitt, UK Scout’s Chief Commissioner explains in this extract from his blog:
Exactly how much does scouting contribute? In this age of targets, we need to be as smart and accountable as any other organisation. It’s not enough to talk in woolly terms about helping old ladies across roads. Parents, volunteers and supporters have tough choices to make about where they commit their children, time and money. They need empirical evidence to help them make their decisions.
That’s why we brought in an independent research company to measure our impact – and we genuinely did not know what this would show. They spoke to more than 2,500 people (volunteers, scouts, former scouts and non-scouts). While we paced nervously up and down the grassy fields of our activity centres, we knew that good results were vital if scouting was to remain relevant today.
Fortunately, the numbers, when they emerged, backed up what we knew deep down – our instinctive feeling that scouting makes life better for young people, adult volunteers and our communities. Some 88% of our young people said scouting has helped them develop key skills; 97% reckoned scouting helped them make friends and build relationships with other people.
We deliver everyday adventure to girls and boys – helping them canoe, climb and camp for the first time (as well as skate, dance, sing, cook – the list goes on). This means they have fun in a safe, supportive environment – but something else is happening too. They grow in confidence, develop leadership skills and start to take a bigger interest in local, national and international affairs.
The results were even more startling when it came to adults. More than 90% of scouting’s volunteers say it has helped them develop personal and practical skills. The evidence from employers backs this up too. Organisations say staff who have been involved in scouting are above average employees.
Most relevant to this week’s announcement however, is the evidence of our community impact. The research shows that a substantially higher proportion of scouts engage in voluntary activities than those not engaged with scouting – and the effect is long lasting: 36% of former members volunteer regularly (as least two hours per week) set against only 26% of the general population.