Glossary of Terms

for the external Scoutship users

Adult Support

Adults facilitating and supporting young people to create learning opportunities and through a culture of partnership to turn these opportunities into meaningful experiences.


Primarily volunteers responsible for the development, facilitation or delivery of the Youth Programme, supporting other adults or supporting the organisation’s development. 

AiS (Adults in Scouting)

A systematic approach for supporting adults to improve the effectiveness, commitment and motivation of the adult leadership so that better programmes are facilitated or delivered by and for children and young people.  It also enhances the overall effectiveness and efficiency of NSOs and covers both volunteer and professional staff.

AiS – Life Cycle

The approach set out in the World Adults in Scouting Policy that recognises the concept of a life cycle in every role or function undertaken by an adult in Scouting.  It is a holistic and systematic approach that gives careful consideration to all aspects of the management of adults in the Movement and includes attracting the adults we need and supporting them in their role or function, assisting them in their development and their choices for their future.  One or multiple life cycles cover all stages and components in the lifespan of an adult in the Movement.

Community Involvement/Engagement

Members (adults) actively explore and commit themselves to communities and the wider world, fostering greater appreciation and understanding between people towards a common purpose of transforming their communities for the better.


A competency is the consistent application of knowledge, skill and behaviours to the standard of performance required in a particular role, function or appointment.  It includes the ability to transfer and apply skills and knowledge to new situations and environments.


Recognising people as individuals, understanding that each one of us is unique, and respecting these individual differences.


Valuing the diversity of individuals and giving fair and equal access and opportunities to all and having each person involved and participating in activities to their greatest extent possible.

Formal / Informal / Non-Formal Learning

Formal Learning is the hierarchically structured, chronologically graded educational system running from school to university.

Informal Learning is the process where individuals acquire attitudes, values, skills, and knowledge from daily experiences, such as from family, friends, peer groups, the media, and other influences and factors from in the person’s environment.

Non-Formal Learning takes the form of organised educational activity outside of the established formal system.  Though it is not as a rule-governed like formal education systems, and it does not have the same authority, it does have an educational purpose.  Scouting is non-formal and complements the learning that occurs in formal and informal settings.

Formal Training

The training which has a formal structure, for example, training courses, training studies; these are, in effect, a series of related and structured learning experiences.

Fundamentals of Scouting

The Fundamentals are the basic elements of who, what and why Scouting is and comprise our Purpose, Values, Principles and Scout Method, which includes key aspects such as the Scout Promise and Law.


Ideas about the behaviour, actions and roles shown by a person of a particular sex.  These ideas have been constructed by society.

Gender Equality

Providing equal and fair access to all resources and opportunities regardless of a person’s gender

Global Support Assessment Tool (GSAT)

The Global Support Assessment Tool (GSAT) is WOSM’s Quality Standard and is based on international best practices in Good Governance and Quality Scouting principles.  It enables NSOs to identify their strengths and areas for improvement, as well as to measure their ongoing progress across various dimensions (from the institutional framework and financial management to adult resource management).

Goal Setting

Goal setting is about each adult volunteer/staff person being able to think about projects or tasks they want to carry out in their Scouting journey and being able to set steps or milestones along that path to reach those goals (projects, tasks).  Goal setting is a life skill that needs to be developed and Scouting can provide opportunities for ‘goal-setting’ that lead to personal growth and development.

Induction and Induction Training

This is an ‘introduction’ to Scouting that all adults (both volunteer and staff) who are new to Scouting undertake, or, if changing to a different role or appointment, know something of the required ‘basics’ of that role to get started.  For new adults, ‘Induction Training’ is structured to provide the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviour expectations necessary to undertake a role regardless of appointment.  This process also allows adults to understand their responsibilities and the need for training. 

In-service Training

Any part of training carried out whilst the adult concerned is actively engaged on the job.  Sometimes called ‘on-the-job training’.

Learning by Doing

The use of practical actions (real-life experiences) and reflection(s) to facilitate ongoing learning and development.  It is one of the 8 elements of the Scout Method and is key to ensuring that learning opportunities are fun and relevant.  ‘Experiential learning’ the Scout way.

Learning Experience

Any situation in which an adult undergoes a relatively permanent change in behaviour.  A training session is an example of a specially designed learning experience while a training course provides multiple learning experiences.

Learning Path

Learning Path is a special feature of the Scoutship.  It offers pre-set content for advanced AiS users to deepen understanding, develop skills and explore some examples.  It is a pathway to navigate through the content if you are doing a specific task or mission, or wanting specific content for a specific purpose.  For example, How to organise (manage) adults; How to keep volunteers in Scouting; or How to develop leadership skills and so on.

Learning Zone

A menu item on Scoutship with content that assists users in understanding and supporting volunteers more through many accessible WOSM Policy and support documents relative to key strategic and operational priorities.  Areas include Adults in Scouting Life Cycle, AiS Structures and Processes, and Safe from Harm.

NSO / NSA (National Scout Organisation / National Scout Association)

National Scout Organisations (NSOs) are responsible for managing, developing and supporting Scouting in that country.  An NSO may have several member associations, known as National Scout Associations.  For Scoutship purposes, unless mentioned otherwise, the terms ‘NSO’ or ‘organisation’ will be used and applied to both structures. 

Safe from Harm (SfH) and Safe from Harm Policy

In the context of Scouting, keeping children and young people safe from harm encompasses all areas of child and youth protection work, and includes a full range of strategies, systems and procedures that aim to promote that the wellbeing, development and safety of children and young people is a priority in all Scouting-related activities.  Within the context of an NSO, the implementation of the policy requires putting in place a systemic approach to prevent and react to situations that may affect the wellbeing, development and safety of children and young people.

Scout Promise and Law

The Scout Promise is a personal voluntary commitment to a set of shared values, which is the foundation of everything a Scout does, and a Scout wants to be.  The Scout Law is a code of living for each Scout and all members – based on Scouting’s Principles.  The Promise and Law are central to the Scout Method.


Scoutship is an online resource aiming to assist NSO structures to better manage adults in Scouting.  It is also a resource for adults in Scouting and others to better understand how to support youth programme implementation, build quality leadership, support organisational structures and create positive adult (volunteer) experience.  Many of the topics on Scoutship have wider application than just for Scouting purposes.

Scoutship Content

Many ‘volumes’ set out in an attractive progressive format where users can access material for a specific purpose.  The material can be explored through an overview (surfing), more in-depth (snorkelling) and greater depth (deep diving) to suit the individual and wider practical application.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The 17 United Nations SDGs build on the good work of the previous set of goals, known as the Millennium Development Goals.  WOSM is a global partner of the SDGs, and NSOs support this by incorporating the SDGs into various aspects of the Youth Program, and other initiatives.  NSOs are encouraged to register their SDG projects on and to view all the projects globally on

Team System (Patrol System)

The use of small teams as a way to participate in collaborative learning, to develop effective teamwork, interpersonal skills, and leadership as well as build a sense of responsibility and belonging.  Often supported by an adult/s.

The Purpose of Scouting

The Purpose of the Scout Movement is to contribute to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual potential as individuals, as responsible citizens, and as members of their local, national, and international communities.

The Principles of the Scout Movement

Duty to God – Adherence to spiritual principles, loyalty to the religion that expresses them, and acceptance of the duties resulting therefrom.

Duty to Others – Loyalty to one’s country in harmony with the promotion of local, national, and international peace, understanding, and cooperation.  Participation in the development of society with recognition and respect for the dignity of humanity and the integrity of the natural world.

Duty to Self – Responsibility for the development of oneself.

The Scout Method

The Scout Method is the “how” of the Scouting Programme.  How we conduct our Youth Programme so our youth members get the most out of their experiences.  The Scout Method is an essential system for achieving the educational purpose of the Scout Movement.  It is defined as a system of progressive self-education.  It is one method based on the interaction of equally important elements that work together as a cohesive system, and the implementation of these elements in a combined and balanced manner is what makes Scouting unique.  The Scout Method is a fundamental aspect of Scouting and is expressed through 8 elements all of which hold equal importance in the development of our youth members.

The Scout Movement

The Scout Movement is a voluntary, non-political, educational movement for young people open to all without distinction of gender, origin, race, or creed, following the purpose, principles, and method conceived by the Founder, Lord Robert Baden-Powell.

Training Method

A procedure which provides a suitable structure and environment for a learning experience, for example, brainstorming, buzz group, case study, demonstration, lecture, lesson demonstration, practical exercises, programmed learning, project, role play, talk, training study and workshop.

Training Need

The specific needs of a person, regarding carrying out a given job, which can be satisfied by training or other suitable professional development.  These needs and the abilities and skills called for to satisfy them can be classified under four headings: knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours.

A vision of Scouting

By 2023 Scouting will be the world’s leading educational youth movement, enabling 100 million young people to be active citizens creating positive change in their communities and the world based on shared values.  “The Vision for Scouting, Vision 2023”, was adopted at the 40th World Scout Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2014.


Volunteers are people involved in different activities without monetary remuneration (although the reimbursement of expenses may be allowed).  This involvement is undertaken entirely of the individual’s own free will.  The benefit of this involvement is directed at supporting Scouting to achieve its Mission rather than at the volunteer, although the volunteer should also gain and develop from their involvement.


A state in which every individual realises his or her potential can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and can contribute to his or her community’. (World Health Organisation, 2014)

Wood Badge Training Scheme

The Wood Badge Training Scheme consists of a Training programme for all Adults in Scouting, whether at a leadership or support level, both volunteer and professional.  It can be divided into 2 levels (Basic and Advanced) and in some NSOs, provision is made for access to supplementary courses to assist adults’ further personal development and continuous improvement.  There are also several provisions for the different age Sections (Cubs, Scouts, Rovers). 

Wood Badge

The Wood Badge is a common standard that identifies the levels of training and development required by Adults in Scouting to perform certain roles.  This includes the Basic levels expected and those at a more advanced level leading to the attainment of the ‘Wood Badge’.  It is an indicator of high-level training competencies, quality training systems, and individual opportunities for development in an NSO.  The most common emblems or symbols used are:

Gilwell Woggle (Wood Badge Woggle) – a ‘Turk’s Head’ scarf slide woven from two strands of round leather thong; Wood Badge Beads – two small wooden beads are worn on a leather thong or cord around the neck; and Wood Badge Neckerchief or Scarf – bearing a McLaren Tartan patch on the point.

World Adults in Scouting Policy

The World Adults in Scouting Policy aims to support the Mission of Scouting.  This is achieved by developing the ways and means by which the quality of leadership at all levels can be improved through providing better support and management for all adults, resulting in the provision of better services for young people.  The policy encompasses all the roles and functions undertaken by adults in Scouting and all the areas of competence necessary to fulfil them.


The World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM). Is the largest youth organisation and has more than 55 million members in 171 National Scout organisations (Census 2020).

WOSM Services

WOSM’s one-stop-shop to support and strengthen the ability of National Scout Organizations (NSOs) to deliver better Scouting activities and programmes to more young people worldwide.  WOSM offers high-quality and effective support via 13 WOSM Services related to the core areas of Scouting, everything from the Adults in Scouting and Safe from Harm to good governance and partnership development.

Youth Empowerment

Youth Empowerment is the attitudinal, structural, and cultural process whereby young people gain the ability, authority, and agency to make decisions and implement change in their own lives and the lives of other people, including young people and adults.

Youth Engagement

Youth Engagement is the meaningful participation and sustained involvement of young people in an action in which they use their time, intelligence, talents, skills and abilities for making a positive change in their own and the life of others, which results from strong connections to a particular idea, person, activity, place or outcome.

Youth Involvement

Youth Involvement is 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.

Youth Participation

Youth Participation is a process that ensures young people are consulted and allowed to contribute to the decisions that affect their lives.

Youth Programme

The Youth Programme in Scouting is the totality of the learning opportunities from which young people can benefit (What), created to achieve the purpose of Scouting (Why), and experienced through the Scout Method (How).

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