Volunteering guide for beginners

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Do you fancy volunteering but are not sure where to start? In this handy Scouting volunteering guide for beginners, we answer common questions, give you some options and explain how you can use your time best to help others.

Welcome to Scouts, the place to make new friends, have amazing adventures, and learn skills for life. 

We’re the UK’s largest mixed youth movement, proudly led by volunteers. Everyone is welcome, no matter your experience or background. You can find an opportunity that’s #GoodForYou and volunteer today.

Volunteering comes in all shapes and sizes. When you join Scouts you are choosing to support young people and your local community, and we want you to have a great experience while you’re doing it!

Not only does offering your time to Scouts help young people who need it most, but volunteering will also allow you to acquire new skills, boost your CV and even get you some extra qualifications.

If you’ve ever been interested in volunteering with Scouts, then this is the guide for you. We’ve compiled a host of ideas so you can make some informed choices and get involved in something that’s right for you. If you’re ready to volunteer then please email the team.

There’s always room for another at any youth section or in the behind the scenes teams. 

All our Districts have particular needs at the moment. The South East Scotland Scouts Region is made up of seven Districts – listed below. We have 89 Scout Groups AND the Bonaly Scout Centre and Longcraig Scout Centre – in the Region. So there is lots of local opportunities to volunteer, and right on your doorstep! So you know,  Scout Districts are where the programme is delivered to young people. The Scout Districts manage the Scout Groups, Explorer Scout Units and Scout Network within them.


You do not need to have any prior scouting experience to get involved in Scouting and volunteer – everyone is welcome

Getting involved as an adult volunteer is hugely rewarding, and we offer a range of different roles depending on your interests.

The good news is you shape what you do and decide how much time you give. Scouts happens when a lot of us give a little (and no, you don’t have to be a Scout or outdoors expert to volunteer).

Scouting in South East Scotland Scouts is run completely by volunteers to ensure that young people can enjoy as much fun and adventure as possible. However we still have many young people on waiting lists who want to join Scouting, but can’t because we don’t have enough volunteers to allow all the extra young people to join.

We don’t just need people to volunteer to help run weekly meetings. There are also plenty of support roles working behind the scenes. You could help with maintenance, assist with finances or record keeping, help with a badge of specific activity, provide training support or help with social media.

When you volunteer with us, you can give as much or as little time as you want, whether that’s committing an hour or two to a weekly meeting, undertaking administration at home at a time which suits you, or attending on an occasional basis as time commitments allow.

There are a variety of roles in Scouting to work with a range of different age groups, meaning that there is an opportunity for everyone to get involved, regardless of how much time you can commit:

  • – Section Leaders: Organise and lead the meetings. It sounds like a big job, but as a team its manageable. We have a number of our members running sections and have helped to put on some of the best events and activities in the Region.
  • – Assistant Section Leaders: This is the role most members pick. It provides the opportunity to run games and activities, but with slightly less involvement than a full leader. An assistant leader attends (almost) every week to help with whatever the group is doing.
  • – Section Assistants/Occasional Helpers: Don’t want to commit to a weekly basis but to help? Occasional helpers still run games and activities, but less frequently. It could be anything from once a term to a couple of times a month. This is perfect for the busy yet helpful adult/carer/parent. It’s also a great stepping stone for anybody not quite sure about Scouting!
  • – Other: There are plenty of other opportunities in Scouting, we can basically accommodate anything. Maybe you have a specific skill or particular interest to share with the young people, or you would rather just offer a bit of time to help with the upkeep of our district campsite. For example:
  • – Young Leaders (aged 14-18) to support our young people and volunteers at regular meetings
  • – Managers to lead and support teams of adults to deliver Scouting
  • – Trustees to make sure property and resources are properly administered
  • – Instructors to run a huge range of adventurous activities
  • – Media and communications people to promote Scouting and improve our communication
  • – Administrators to maintain finances, records and ensure policies and procedures are followed correctly
  • – Training Managers to co-ordinate our comprehensive adult training programme

And more!

Volunteering is easier than you think. With full support and training, you can volunteer on a flexible basis.

Give young people the skills they need to succeed in life and discover how being part of the Scouting family can be as rewarding for you as it is for them.

You just need to believe in a more positive future and the difference we can make together.

Volunteer today and help us prepare more young people with Skills for Life.

As a volunteer, you can choose from a number of different types of volunteering placements:

  • – Regular – whether you want to support directly with young people week to week at your local group or monthly behind the scenes
  • – Casual – join a parental rota, help at a scouting event, contribute to one of our Activity Centres – Bonaly and Longcraig; support the Region/District with our strategic plans.
  • – Online – you can volunteer from the comfort of your own home looking at some of our digital channels and tools, training online and more
  • – One-offs – if you don’t feel able to commit, that’s ok! You’ll still find lots of one-off volunteering activities where you can help out. You may have a skill you can share including an outdoor hobby, photography, social media, or you might be interested in archiving.
  • – Universities – we welcome students and provide flexible opportunities to fit in around studies to provide CV boosting opportunities to enhance employability
  • – Young Leaders – volunteering for Scouts is not just for adults. The Young Leaders’ Scheme is a programme of 10 training modules and four missions (projects) designed to help and support those aged between 14 to 18 who work with Beavers, Cubs or Scouts as a Young Leader. It gives Young Leaders the skills and knowledge to act as part of the section leadership team, and covers subjects such as a balanced, quality programme, child protection, first aid and leadership skills. For more visit here.
  • – Job share – if you and a friend wish to help then why not speak to your local Scout Group about job-sharing ways to give back

Our volunteering opportunities are flexible and can easily fit around the time you have available to get involved.

Vacancies exist in Edinburgh, East Lothian, Borders and Midlothian. And regionally working remotely.  Flexible opportunities exist to fit around your home and work life. Roles include working with children and young people, managing teams of adults, administration and finance, trusteeship and training. There’s something for everyone, regardless of your experience or background.



As well as having a positive effect on young people and being great for your karma, there are tonnes of benefits to volunteering with Scouts.

The benefits in return are so rewarding:

  • – Spend time with your children – or gain experience with young people
  • – Try something new and have fun – make new memories and make new friends
  • – Spend time with your children – or gain experience with young people
  • – To develop your own personal skills – boost your CV with valuable work experience, qualifications and training
  • – Do something good for your community – be proud of yourself
  • – Improve your self esteem and confidence – you can feel pretty good about yourself for doing good
  • – Because volunteering is a ‘good thing’ – its worthwhile
  • – Help more local young people be and do more
  • – To rediscover a sense of adventure
  • – Gain a sense of ‘I helped’ having contributed to the growth of young people
  • – Keep your bodies and brains active and happy – whether that’s by scaling mountains, sharing skills or serving tea


Research has shown that volunteering has a hugely positive impact on the lives of those who volunteer in the charity sector. Whether you’re a Group Scout Leader, Occasional Helper or an As-Often-As-You-Can-Er!

According to the research, the majority of volunteers reported having improved life satisfaction (70%) and self-esteem (66%) since beginning volunteer work, as well as having reduced feelings of loneliness (42%) and stress (33%).

Nearly two thirds (65%) also said that since beginning volunteer work they have developed useful employability skills; with 59% saying they feel more confident and 54% feeling more motivated in their jobs.

Whether you want to work with young people directly or help behind the scenes, there’s something for everyone at Scouts. 



Volunteering can be a brilliant way to boost your mental wellbeing. It’s a great feeling knowing you’re helping young people get skills for life, and you might even learn a lot about yourself along the way. 



South East Scotland Scouts is full of ordinary people making an extraordinary difference to young people’s lives and learning a whole lot along the way.

Read their stories and find the perfect volunteer role for yourself. Whether you want to work with young people directly or help behind the scenes, there’s something for everyone at Scouts.



Cubs (and Squirrels):





Scouts Activity Centre

Volunteer – Alex
Volunteer – Janie
  • Our Volunteer commitment: 
    • – To provide support every step of the way 
    • – To have roles to suit you, your lifestyle and time 
    • – To provide support, training and assist with succession planning 
    • – To base our volunteering on our core values of care, integrity, respect, belief and cooperation 
    • – To be flexible to work around your needs 
    • – To be fair, honest and transparent  
    • – To work together to build livelong memories 

      Scouting depends on volunteers like you!
  • There are many roles in Scouting so we can use many different skills.
  • – Anyone over 18 can help out as an adult volunteer in Scouting. There is no upper age limit.
  • – Volunteering is flexible.  You can decide how much time you can give.
  • – We will provide training and support. So no experience of Scouting is necessary.
  • – You will meet new people and learn new things.

Not sure if you can do it?

You don’t need to be Bear Grylls to join us. You don’t need to have been a Scout when you were younger. You don’t even need to know how to put up a tent! Our door is open to people of all ages, genders, races and backgrounds, and we’re only able to change lives because people like you lend a hand. We’re talking about tea makers, tidy-uppers and skill sharers. We’re talking about mini bus drivers and first aiders. We’re talking about students who want to boost their CV, and parents who volunteer so they can spend more time together as a family.

Whatever your skillset, lend a hand for as little or as much time as you can spare, and we promise you’ll get more out than you put in. Because whether you’re helping a leader to run an activity in the local town hall, organising a night away, or buttering 120 slices of bread a group of very hungry eleven year olds – no two Scout meetings are the same. The difference you make, though, is always great.

We provide the training. You show up, get stuck in, and make memories for life.

Sounds fun? Worthwhile? It is!



To help as many young people as possible enjoy the best Scouting possible, we need adult volunteers to get involved in a variety of ways.

This may include helping “behind the scenes” with PR, photography, social media or video-making…our Comms Team could benefit from your skills and expertise and help us shout about the great things Scouting is achieving and get our message out there.

Or you may be an experienced pursuer of an outdoor hobby or sport, and could give a Scout Group a day or two a year to help with outdoor activities and pursuits. Many Groups could benefit from this kind of expertise, helping young people to expand their horizons and enjoy the outdoors.

Or maybe you are a more practical type of person – handy with a hammer, interested in archiving, or willing to help with a fun outdoor activity? Then one of three Scout Centres could really benefit from your involvement.

All these roles can be quite informal, with less regular involvement if that is preferred – but just as much opportunity for fun, meeting people and contributing to the adventure of Scouting. You would be given an induction and support, and where necessary appropriate training.




There are currently about 89 Scout Groups across the South East of Scotland, many of which would love to have your help deliver the activities they run with children and young people! On an evening, you can expect the young people to participate in fun games and some sort of learning activity that will be teaching a new skill, helping them expand their horizons or generally contribute towards their development.

We are looking for adults to help support the running of evening activities for the following age groups:

  • * 4-6 year olds (Squirrels) – about an hour per week
  • * 6-8 year olds (Beavers) – about an hour per week
  • * 8-10 year olds (Cubs) – about 1-1½ hours per week
  • * 10-14 year olds (Scouts) – about two hours per week
  • * 14-18 year olds (Explorers) – about two hours per week

We also pride ourselves on being as flexible as possible, so if you don’t think you can come down for a weekday evening every week, but can help out less often then please let us know what you can manage.

Every volunteer role comes with an induction, some training and on-going support. As a result, you do not need any Scouting experience – just enthusiasm to help children and young people achieve their full potential.

This type of role will help you develop and evidence essential skills such as team working, taking initiative, creativity, planning, time management and many more. The most important part though, is that it’s fun and rewarding – both for you and the young people!



Every Scout Group needs a team of volunteers helping behind the scenes to ensure the admin, accounts and other practicalities are running smoothly. Together they are called the “Group Executive Committee” and in some Groups they are also known as the “trustees”.

This team meet less regularly than other volunteers in Scouting, maybe 3-4 times a year for a few hours, and give of their time here and there between meetings as required. It is a much less time demanding role but just as crucial as it frees up the volunteers who are working with the children and young people, and ensures all the other little jobs get done

If you have skills in admin or accounting, or are happy helping organising an event or two, then this kind of role could be right for you. Many of our Scout Groups are needing more help in this way and they will feel encouraged by your involvement.

This role also comes with an induction, some training and on-going support. As a result, you do not need any Scouting experience – just enthusiasm to help contribute in a practical way to the development of children and young people.

This type of role will help you develop and evidence essential skills such as team working, taking initiative, creativity, planning, time management and many more.



Are you primarily interested in working with adults but benefiting children and young people at the same time? Do you have (or want to develop) leadership and management skills? Then the role of Group Scout Leader could be right for you. We have a number of vacant slots across the south east of Scotland – there may be one near you!

This role is about contributing to the sustainment and development of an individual Scout Group, by managing and supporting the other volunteers in the Scout Group.

The main tasks of the role include:

  • * Ensuring the best structures and practices are established to support the Group and volunteers. (Don’t worry, we can tell you what that looks like!)
  • * Give line management and support to the volunteers.
  • * Interacting with other local Scout Groups.
  • * Bringing on board new volunteers and delegating appropriate tasks to them.

    It is a regular volunteer role, requiring 2-3 hours per week, though not all in the one evening – you can spread the work out over the course of the week if necessary.

The role will allow you to:

  • * Make an impact in the lives of children and young people.
  • * Put something back into the community and leave a legacy for future generations.
  • * Fit your volunteering around your availability – you don’t need to be somewhere every week at the same time.
  • * Use or develop your leadership and management skills.

This role also comes with an induction, training and on-going support. As a result, you do not need any Scouting experience – we are after volunteers who are capable of motivating, supporting and leading a team of adults (or willing to learn that), and able to be a good time manager and planner.



Volunteering might feel like a big step, but we want to make it as easy and enjoyable as possible. At Scouts, we learn by doing, and this means that from the very beginning you will be able to try out performing some tasks with the support of other local volunteers.

Your local team will support you through your entire journey as a volunteer. They’ll let you know exactly what happens next and answer any questions you have.

The information below is an additional support that will help you get started, and guide you through your journey. The order of the steps you will follow next might be slightly different from Group to Group or from one District to the other, but this guide gives you an overviews of what to expect from your first few months of volunteering with Scouts.

Connect with local volunteers

Scouting is a global movement acting in local communities. Volunteers such as your Section Leader, Group Scout Leader or Induction Mentor will give you a warm welcome and support you through your journey. They will answer any questions you might have, show you around, introduce you to other volunteers and help you get started. They are your main support, guiding you through your Induction and Appointment process.

Start your learning journey

After a couple of weeks at the Scouts, you have probably had the chance to do some of the tasks related to your role and have decided that volunteering with us is the right thing for you. Hooray!

Now we will start giving you a deeper panorama on what Scouting looks like, how your Scout Group/Section/District operates, and ensure you have a good understanding of your tasks and responsibilities.

During the next 3-5 months your local volunteer team will discuss with you how we do things in Scouting, introducing you to our values and promise, and guide you through your learning journey.

You will be offered the Getting Started training, an online training pack for new volunteers, and slowly be introduced to the key polices you should be aware of. The Getting Started online training is similar to all new volunteers, with small differences depending on the tasks you will be performing.

Have your appointment meeting

To welcome you to the wider team, you’ll be invited to an appointment meeting with 3 volunteers from your area. This is an informal conversation where you’ll find out a bit more about Scouts, and ask any questions you like.

It’s also a chance for you to check you’re comfortable with the role, the tasks you’re taking on and the responsibilities involved. There’ll be an opportunity to talk through our key policies and understand the Scout Promise (but relax, we won’t make you memorise it).

The conversation should last around 30-45 minutes, and can be held face to face or online.

That’s it! 
Remember your local volunteer team is there to support you through this entire journey, and you can always count on them.

If you are hungry for more, take a look at the additional information. 


Giving back will improve your wellbeing, equip you with skills for the future, and help you make a positive impact on the lives of young people.
We want to find the right fit for you in Scouting, and knowing more about your interests and skills is definitely helpful.
Please visit here

If you’re interested in finding out how you could get involved with Scouting, complete the form here or contact our South East Scotland Scouting Support Officer, Kirstie Armsworth today. We will be in touch to chat to you.



Do I really have the Skills you need?

You don’t have to be an adventurer like Bear Grylls to get involved with Scouting. Do you have first aid knowledge? Are you good with numbers? Handy in the kitchen? Or are you a DIY whizz? We all have useful skills and you can volunteer and help in many ways.

What if I don’t have much spare time?

Volunteering with us is easy, fun and flexible – how much time you give is completely up to you. Whether you help out once a fortnight, month or term or just at special events or camps, there is bound to be a role you can play, and no matter how you get involved, we’ll make sure you’re properly trained and supported.

What will I get out of volunteering?

As well as gaining externally recognised skills and having a brilliant time, Scouting also offers the chance to build on personal skills, like teamwork, confidence and leadership. A study found that over 90% of our volunteers believe that the skills and experiences they have gained through Scouting have been of relevance to their working or personal lives.

My child is in Scouting – is there anything I can do to help?

The short answer is yes. Many of our helpers and leaders are parents of our youth members because they’ve seen first hand how Scouting benefits young people and want to give something back. It’s also a chance to spend more time with your children and learn new skills.

Is there an age limit?

As long as you’re over 18, you can help out as an adult volunteer in Scouting. There is no upper age limit for adult volunteers. If you are aged between 14 to 18, there is the option of becoming a Young Leader.

Anyone who volunteers with Scouts will be part of a great team of leaders and will work with some amazing young people who are keen to try new and positive experiences!

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We all want young people to have the chance to dream big, give it a go and build skills for life. And its not just the young people who benefit from Scouts.

Volunteering is good for boosting your wellbeing, developing CV-friendly skills, making news friends and building memories.

Whether you want to support young people or if you’re more comfortable planning from the sidelines or behind the scene, we’ve got space for you.

Be an enabler and do a good thing. Make a difference, put your skills to good use and play an active role in your community.

Team player? Love supporting young people? Great at planning? Why not join us? We are looking for those with a positive, can-do attitude who want to inspire and support our local young people. Please get in touch to find out more.