Youth Leading, Adults Supporting

Scouting has been a youth leading, adults supporting movement from the very beginning and youth leading, adults supporting is a key partnership where young people take ownership of their development and journey,  

All throughout their journey Scouts become increasingly self-managing with adults facilitating and supporting them in creating learning opportunities and together turn these opportunities intro meaningful experiences. The role of the adult Leader is to coach and guide youth members to develop knowledge, skills and experiences within the section whilst ensuring at all times a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment is accessible for all. 

As Scouts progress through the program, youth leadership will increase while adult leadership decreases and as such the role of the adult leader within each section can be viewed as:

  • A Joey Scout is assisted
  • A Cub Scout is guided
  • A Scout is encouraged
  • A Venturer Scout is mentored
  • A Rover Scout is advised

Learning Checkpoints

To understand:

  • The power of youth empowerment and how the Scout Movement promotes the development of leadership in all age ranges.
  • The distinction between adults taking control versus youth members being supported and guided.




  • Describe a time when you have seen a great example of youth leading with the support of an adult (even if the support is not obvious).
  • Imagine if you were that youth member, how might you have felt having been empowered to lead and activity?
  • Why is leadership development in Scouting central to the program?
  • Which parts of the program provide leadership opportunities for youth members within each section?
  • What does empowerment look like for youth members in my section?


Q: What does leading look like in younger sections?
A: Joey Scouts and Cub Scouts will have the opportunity to shape their journey in Scouting through input in program planning and Unit Councils. Adults will guide, support and inspire the youth members to take on new challenges and leadership opportunities. As they move through Cub Scouts, we see youth become leaders for their peers and they take a greater role in creating the program, preparing them for more leadership responsibilities in the Scout section and beyond.


  • How can I support adults recognise the balance of adult support that may be required for different activities?
  • How well do I know the leadership stage of a youth member in my Unit, and have I considered how I might support that youth member to further develop their leadership skills?
  • How do I know whether a youth member has embraced leadership opportunities in the Unit?
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