What is Scouting?

Scouting is a worldwide, values based, educational Movement.

How Scouting began

The World Scout Movement began in the United Kingdom in 1907 with an experimental camp on Brownsea Island, Dorset. During the week-long camp, Robert Baden-Powell and a small party of boys put into practice his ideas for training young people in responsible citizenship. In August the following year, the first official Scout Camp was held at Humshaugh, near Hexham, Northumberland.
Today, there are well over 28 million Members in over 216 countries and territories and the Movement is still growing. Two-thirds of the world’s Scouts live in developing countries.

A co-educational Movement

Scouting in the UK is firmly committed to coeducation so boys and girls can meet the aims of Scouting through one programme.

The Aim and Method of Scouting

The Aim of Scouting is to promote the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potential, as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities. The Method of achieving the Aim is through the provision of exciting and adventurous activities with progressive training based on The Scout Promise and Law guided by adult leadership.

The Programme

The Programme is a seamless progression of training, activities and awards for young people aged 6 to 25. The Programme is delivered in five age groups, called Sections.
Beaver Scouts (6-8 years)
Cub Scouts (8-10½ years)
Scouts (10½-14 years)
Explorer Scouts (14-18 years)
Scout Network (18-25 years)
The Programme aims to help young people to grow in a number of personal development areas to ensure the young people themselves really are ‘learning by doing.’

United Kingdom Membership

Total youth membership in the UK is 390,929. This includes 103,226 Beaver Scouts,140,621 Cub Scouts,113,058 Scouts, 31,976 Explorer Scouts and 2,048 Scout Network members.

In 2009, the adult membership reached 89,995. This includes Leaders, Supporters, Managers and Administrators.


Scouting in the UK is administered by The Scout Association at Gilwell Park, Chingford, London E4 7QW.
The Association employs 198 full-time & part-time staff to support the work of its adult volunteers. In the UK the Movement is decentralised in 7,848 Scout Groups, each of which comprises one or more Beaver Scout Colonies, Cub Scout Packs and Scout Troops. The Groups are supported locally by 895 Scout Districts which, in turn, receive support and guidance from 115 Scout County organisations.

Promise and Law

The Scouts, with the Guides, are unique amongst youth Movements in having a Promise and a Law which Members willingly accept as a guide to the standards of conduct required of them.

The Founder of Scouting had a vision from which a Movement has grown, so that Scouting is found today in every corner of the land.