Encouraging Moving on From Scouts to Explorers

Links Between Scout Troop & Explorer Scout Unit


The aim is for all Scouts to become Explorer Scouts. The Scout Leader (SL) and Explorer Scout Leader (ESL) will, with the support of the Group Scout Leader (GSL) and District Explorer Scout Commissioner (DESC), or their representatives, ensure that effective transfer of Members takes place in a timely manner.

Every year the SL will provide details of Scouts aged 13 and over to the ESL and to the District Explorer Scout Administrator (DESA).

Encouraging Moving on From Scouts to Explorers – An Important Update


Recent surveys and discussions with Explorers at District and Regional level have given a good insight into the transition process. The dropout level between Scouts and Explorers is much higher than between the younger Sections. The SL and ESL should consider the following and develop co-ordinated programmes and communication relevant to their members to increase retention:

Factors preventing Scouts from moving on to Explorers:

  • Lack of information about Explorers.
  • Fear of the unknown – moving out of their comfort zone.
  • Moving on is not promoted by Scout Leaders.
  • Scouts leave before completing their time there (14) because:
    • They have nothing to look forward to (lack of information).
    • There is no special consideration given to the older group in Scouts.
    • The programme is repeating for the benefit of the younger group.
    • They feel disengaged.
    • Their own cohort leaves or ages out.
    • They do not know enough people outside their own troop.

What might help
Scouts meet Explorers on a number of occasions, including information sessions.

  • Scouts meet Explorers on a number of occasions, including information sessions
    • The people making contact should be engaging and passionate about Explorers.
  • There are joint events involving older Scouts and Explorers:
    • Taster sessions.
    • Explorer participation in District (Scout) camps.
    • Ensure that older Scouts keep in touch with friends who have moved up.
    • Scouts know people who have joined Explorers.
    • Scouts know who else will be joining – “The more people you know the more likely you will join.”

What the ESL, SL and Explorer Scout Leader – Young Leaders (ESL-YL) can do:

  • Leaders should celebrate moving on.
  • Scout leaders should not regard this as ‘losing their Scouts’.
  • Scout leaders should engage fully with District and local Explorer Unit(s).
  • Scout and Explorer Scout Leaders should plan their programmes actively to promote transition.
  • Leaders should encourage ESYLs on placement at the Scout Troop to talk about Explorers and possibly “buddy up” with Scouts during their early weeks in Explorers.
  • All leaders should know about the Chief Scout’s Award and include it in the programme.
  • Scout Leaders should inform Scouts that they can complete the Chief Scout’s Gold Award in Explorers, and Explorer Leaders should know and support this.

Specific recommendations

  • Scouts are more likely to transfer if they move with their friends and those in the same school cohort/year (typically S2), so we should do everything possible to inform and encourage the cohort to consider transitioning together, rather than basing it on specific age.  There is flexibility and this should be discussed well in advance by the SL and ESL.
  • Don’t delay transfer to allow completion of the CSA Gold Award – this can and should be completed in Explorers and allows them to start Explorers as part of their school cohort [in their S2 year].
  • Make sure Scouts are aware there are Top Awards in Explorers and that the ones relevant for them as new Explorers are the DofE Bronze Award, the linked Platinum Award, and the Young Leader’s Training Scheme.
  • DofE Bronze and the YL Training Scheme are very popular with Explorer Scouts and their parents and usually seen as important opportunities to gain Skills for Life and evidence them in personal statements and applications for college, jobs etc.  We should, therefore, promote these and encourage them to register at the point they transfer, and have support to allow them to get started and engaged with Explorers quickly.

    Include parents in this communication so they are aware of these opportunities. They have an important role to support/encourage younger Explorer Scout to increase their skills in these more self-directed Awards. This has also proven an excellent means to recruit parents as additional adult volunteers.

  • Consider opportunities to provide a taste of Explorer Scouts and to continue and build on achievements in the Scout section, such as:
    • Blair Atholl satellite camp
    • Zodiac Award
    • Activity badges that span the sections – First Aid, Water Activities, Camping


Pentland Brass Monkey 2020

Pentland Brass Monkey 2020

At the start of February, Bonaly played host to the annual Pentland Brass Monkey camp which was attended by 240 Scouts and 80 adults. This year’s event saw troops from West and East Lothian taking part for the first time, as well as the usual suspects from Pentland.

Strong winds were the first challenge on the Drum Field for the participants as tents were hastily erected after arrival on the Saturday. All four subcamps managed to succeed without any tents becoming airborne.

After a welcome meeting at the campfire circle, all the Scouts took part in Saturday afternoons “International Themed” activities. This consisted of teams of 3 or 4 attempting to complete 36 activity bases to earn points. Activities included dizzy football, giant chopsticks, mine sweeper and hoop horns. The winning team was Japan from the 100th Pentland.

After a sing song at the campfire and a filling roast beef dinner it was time for the evening activities such as a very muddy game of four-way football, a hectic ‘minute to win it’ competition, a challenging Simba’s game and a captivating game of sit-down bingo.

In the morning after a wet night, with all the not so dry tents packed away and a hot filling breakfast it was time to head up to Bonaly Country Park for a selection of wide games. Despite the miserable weather spirits were still high and it was brilliant to see everyone taking part in the activities. Once they were over it was back down to the campfire circle and just as the sun began to shine it was time to close the camp (typical) and everyone headed back down the road to go home and dry off.

Well done to all the Scouts who braved the Scottish February weather and survived the camp. Also, a huge thank you to all the adults who took part in the camp especially the core team of Kirsty, Ross, Stewart and Sue.

Catering Help Needed at Bonaly

Catering Help Needed at Bonaly

Would you have some spare time on your hands and be willing to help prepare meals for visiting groups to Bonaly Scout Centre?

We provide breakfast, lunch and dinner for groups of Cubs and Scouts and school parties, mainly at weekends but also during the week from time to time.  We need some new volunteers to share the load as in-house catering is becoming increasingly popular.

No previous experience is needed so if you would be willing to help from time to time please contact Muriel Beyer by emailing: mambeyer@aol.com

Volunteering at Bonaly Scout Centre

Volunteering at Bonaly Scout Centre

The Active Support Unit volunteers are the unsung heroes of Bonaly Scout Centre. They run the tuck shop, provide catering, do the gardening, sort out the recycling, repair just about anything and help keep the place looking great. Our ASU maintenance teem meet up on Tuesdays and always surprise us with just how much work they get thorough in a day. It might be cutting the grass, repairing a leaking pipe, building a decking walk way, painting and decorating, pitching our tented village “The Three Amigos”, the list goes on and on. On the first Tuesday of each month we have the “Tea and Tidy up” where the site gets a spring clean and everything put back where it lives. We are always looking for new people to help us at Bonaly so if you have some spare time and would like to get involved please give us a call.

Pentland Brass Monkey Camp

We were delighted that Pentland District chose Bonaly for their Brass Monkey camp this year. It was great to see the centre come alive with hundreds of young people having a brilliant time enjoying scouting, despite there being a little bit of rain! More in the March Newsletter.

ASU hard at work, there is going to be plenty of firewood!

ASU pitching “The Three Amigos”

Pentland District Brass Monkey, before the rain!

Residential weekend: Save the Date

Residential weekend: Save the Date

The South East training team will be hosting a residential weekend at Bonaly Scout Centre 13 – 15 March 2020. It’ll kick off on the Friday evening, and finishes on Sunday afternoon.

Details are still to be finalised, but we’ll be offering all the modules for Section Leaders and Assistant Leaders, and some extras for those who just happen to be interested, whether they already have a Wood Badge or not. I’m keen to include some practical sessions – maybe some tent pitching, fire-lighting, outdoor activities for your young people, and also some information sessions – advice on supporting young people with some special needs, myth-busting on organising foreign trips…

Accommodation will be in the Chalet, so you’ll be able to take full advantage and chat to leaders from other parts of the Region and share ideas. We’ll have a social event on the Saturday evening to have a break from all the learning.

Booking should be open by 31st December so don’t miss out. If it suits you better to come for the day(s) and not stay over that will be fine.

Mary Dick
ARC (Adult Training)

Busy Year at Bonaly Scout Centre

Busy Year at Bonaly Scout Centre

It’s been a busy year at Bonaly Scout Centre with 13,000 visitors staying for a total of 21,000 bed nights; and over 700 visitors on our busiest weekend in May. People have been visiting Bonaly from far and wide with international groups from Germany, Spain, Austria, Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands. Closer to home we have had groups from Aberdeen, Inverness, Lancashire, Cheshire and Hertfordshire.

As autumn is changing to winter we are less busy with visitors camping at Bonaly so it’s time to get on with all those jobs that we just don’t seem to have time to do during the busy season. We will be having a good tidy up, carrying out site maintenance and starting to plan new activities and events for 2020.

The Forth Lodge and Chalet are busy at weekends up until Christmas, and they are booking up fast for 2020. The new toilets in the Baronial Hall are nearly completed and our Active Support Unit (ASU) have been busy putting up more shelves in some of the site huts.

We still have a few hardy groups camping and if that’s you, don’t forget your thermals!