#YouShape month is a super important time in Scouting for a number of reasons. However, it’s even more important to emphasise that what happens during #YouShape month and celebrating youth shaped Scouting is something that should be happening all year round and embedded within everything we do.

If you’re not sure why youth shaped Scouting or #YouShape month is important, let me give you two scenarios:

  1. A Cub Scout makes a suggestion to their Akela about their programme, asking to do a slightly wacky and ‘out there’ activity. The Akela completely disregards the Cub’s idea, telling them not to be silly and that they have to do the programme the leaders decide.
  2. A Cub Scout makes a suggestion to their Akela about their programme, asking to do a slightly wacky and ‘out there’ activity. The Akela takes the Cub’s suggestion and slightly adapts it to work well for the Pack and leaders and puts it in the programme for the next term.

If it isn’t already clear enough to you which scenario is what we should be aiming for, think about when you were young. When you were little and someone told you your ideas were silly; I can imagine you felt belittled and reluctant to offer suggestions in the future. Scouting is about providing young people with opportunities to develop their own skills and confidence and to offer them adventures and experiences that they will really enjoy. #YouShape is about letting every young person have their say in what they want to achieve and experience through Scouting.

If we provide the young people with a programme, support and opportunities that they want, then they’re more likely to stay within Scouting and we can continue to grow and develop as a movement. Not to forget that the young people of today are the leaders of tomorrow and if we want them to have the same passion that our leaders have then we have to give them a reason!

#YouShape is simply a fantastic opportunity for both young people and adults within Scouting. It isn’t just for section leaders, everyone can get involved and it is integral for the development of Scouting locally that we get stuck in! Celebrate what you do, be proud of your young people and their ideas and empower them to be the next generation of leaders.

Whatever your role within Scouting is, check out all of the resources on www.scouts.org.uk/youshape to help plan your #YouShape month and see what you can get out of it!