Thinking about inclusion as we're getting back to face to face Scouting

02 October 2020

As we return to safe face-to-face Scouting, it’s more important than ever to include all our young people as much as we can. Some will have been through some very difficult experiences and getting back to Scouting should be fun and supportive for them.

As an inclusive organisation, we need to consider how we provide Scouting for all. We can do that in several ways:

Reassure parents and carers about the rules we’re following on social distancing and hygiene. Demonstrate that the young people are safe.

We need to be open and honest in our communication with young people and parents. Think about using the Parent/Carer Conversation Framework as a starting point to understand their needs, especially if the young person is new to Scouting or your Section.

Listen to young people. What are they telling you they need? Treat them as individuals with different needs whether they have a diagnosis or not.

Include young people in your planning, whether that’s for activities in your hall or online. You could think about providing online Scouting, if possible, for those not confident in returning quite yet. Use technology as your ally.

Look to remove the barriers to participation as best you can. ‘No’ should not be your first response. Get suggestions from young people in how to creatively problem solve.

Look for ways to make reasonable adjustments, whether that’s for physical access to the hall or providing a safe/quiet space for a young person with a noise sensitivity, as two examples. The adjustments needed to make the difference to a young person are not necessarily big or disruptive to the section, but could mean the difference between acceptance and rejection for the young person.

For new members coming to your group, why not think about recording short videos from the leaders to welcome them before they come to the hall and post on your website or Facebook page if you have them?

Even with all the effort you are putting in and the enthusiasm and resilience of young people, there may still be those who don’t feel they want to come back, or may just need more time. Hopefully we can retain our members, and attract new ones, with an exciting and challenging programme provided by our amazing Leaders.

For information and guidance on Additional Support Needs please contact: john.kitson@scouts.scot

For other Inclusion enquiries contact: alan.freeburn@scouts.scot