Youth Leading, Adults Supporting is one of the eight elements of the Scout Method. It summarises the different, but complementary, roles of youth and adults in how Scouting is delivered by Scouts Australia.
In its most basic form, “Youth Leading, Adults Supporting” is about young people taking charge of their Scouting journey while being assisted and mentored by adults. Young people are in the driver’s seat, making developmentally appropriate decisions about what they want in their Scouting, and learning life skills as they interact with other youth members and adults.
Youth Leading, Adults Supporting develops a voice for youth members to achieve their goals through Scouting, and to develop and run the program they need to achieve their personal development goals.
The Role of the Youth
Either individually or in teams, young people plan their Scouting journey. They will decide the skills they want to learn and determine when and how this will happen. Collectively they have responsibility to progressively grow and develop their team, Section and then Group. With experience and maturity some will collaboratively participate in the management and development of Scouting at all levels. The focus is for young people to both use and develop in all aspects of the Scout Method – thus developing a broad range of life skills, not just leadership skills.
What is the role of Adults?
Scouting is a partnership between young people and adults. Young people take ownership of their development and journey. They are supported by adults as they become increasingly involved in the management of their Scouting. Adults facilitate and support young people to create learning opportunities and together turn these opportunities into meaningful experiences.
Implementing Youth Leading, Adults Supporting
Plan > Do > Review > is a key tool to support the concept of Youth Leading, Adults Supporting in Scouting. By utilising this tool, young people can be empowered and involved in all steps of the organisation of their adventures (The Plan stage), and learn a diversity of skills for their future lives, in an age-appropriate manner.
In many Scouting activities there is currently strong youth leadership during adventures (the Do stage); formal leadership positions within the Patrol System are well-utilised for leadership when undertaking Scouting activities.
Currently however, in many activities, it is adults alone who decide upon, plan, organise and review the activities that young people participate in.