The Youth Programme is the educational means used to achieve the purpose of Scouting, which is ‘to contribute to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual potentials as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities’. Therefore, the Youth
Programme is the means through which Scouting contributes to the empowerment of autonomous individuals and the holistic development of active global citizens for the community.
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).
The Youth Programme Content
The World Scout Youth Programme Policy is a guide for the ongoing development of the Youth Programme in NSOs. The Policy sets out the common elements of Scouting education that NSOs should implement according to their circumstances, sharing the same concept of Scouting as education for life with Scouts all over the world.
“Scouting is an educational movement for and of young people based upon the Fundamentals of Scouting: its purpose, principles, and method. The cause of Scouting is Education for Life, where the Youth Programme is the main medium through which young people are educated. Hence the Youth Programme is the central element of Scouting, the vehicle through which the purpose of Scouting is achieved. Without the Youth Programme, there is no Scouting (World Scout Youth Programme Policy, Purpose of the World Scout Youth Programme Policy, page 7).”
All functions of an NSO support the implementation of the Youth Programme. For example, management structures, adult training, communication teams, and financial resources. This means that all adults in Scouting work together to implement an effective Youth Programme, no matter their role.
Part of the Policy describes all learning opportunities in Scouting from which young people can benefit:
“Adults and young people should work together in partnership to create learning opportunities. It is up to young people to turn these opportunities into meaningful experiences for themselves (learning is a choice). The adults support the young people in this process. Hence, the primary role of the adult in Scouting is not to plan or execute activities, but to facilitate the learning of young people (World Scout Youth Programme Policy, What, page 12).”
When developing its Youth Programme, an NSO should consider many other areas in addition to the content of the Programme:
- The Youth Programme should be organised into different age sections based on the development stages of young people. The content of the programme should be age appropriate.
- When reviewing the Programme, NSOs should also review adult training schemes to ensure that the Youth Programme is implemented appropriately.
- NSOs should establish an infrastructure to support the implementation, monitoring, and further development of the Programme.
- They should also ensure that they have sufficient qualified and active adults, with the relevant knowledge and skills.
The Youth Programme is implemented through a partnership between young people and adults, based on the young people’s interests, needs and abilities. An effective Youth Programme, one which appeals to young people and is perceived to be relevant to the social reality in which it is offered will also attract adult leaders committed to supporting its implementation. Those responsible for the Youth Programme and adult training in an NSO should, together
- analyse the role of adults and the competencies they need to perform their role.
- identify their training and personal development needs.
- design and implement a support framework that meets those needs.
- evaluate the effectiveness of personal development in terms of its impact on the implementation of the Youth Programme.
Adult Roles and Responsibilities
The World Scout Youth Programme Policy also describes adult roles and responsibilities:
“The Youth Programme should be everyone’s job within the Scout Movement at all levels. It is important to differentiate between who is facilitating, supporting, and developing the Youth Programme. At all levels of Youth Programme, three roles performed by adults can be identified:
- Facilitator: creates the right circumstances for young people to gain positive learning experiences through their Scout life. This role is linked more to the implementation of the programme.
- Developer: evaluates, analyses, and designs the programme according to young people’s needs, taking into account any new trends that arise. This role is generally practised by the Youth Programme teams that develop the programme at any level.
- Supporter: assists the development and implementation of the Youth Programme. It includes a wide span of adults in Scouting who may be volunteers or professionals working in the field of the Youth Programme or elsewhere e.g. in Adult Support. (World Scout Youth Programme Policy, Key Principles for the Youth Programme, page 18).”