5 ways Scouts encourage listening skills

Listening is about far more than just hearing — it’s about understanding, responding to and remembering what someone is telling you. Recent YouGov research found that 91% of UK adults who stated an opinion think the Scouts help young people develop active listening skills — but how do we do it? Here are five practical ways that we develop listening skills at Scouts.

1. By developing teamwork

Whether it’s putting up a tent in the rain, working on a campaign to make others aware of an environmental issue, or even completing your Teamwork Challenge Award, the Scouts offer plenty of opportunities to work as a team to achieve a goal. A crucial part of teamwork is listening to each other’s ideas and learning from each other, and any Scout can tell you that listening is key to preventing and solving conflict.

2. By offering opportunities to help others

Volunteering reaches across almost everything we do as Scouts — from Young Leaders supporting Beaver Scouts to our most experienced volunteer, everyone has something to offer others. Our campaign, A Million Hands, aims to mobilise half a million Scouts in support of issues chosen by our young people: water and sanitation, mental wellbeing, dementia, and disability. Whatever your volunteering looks like, listening is the crucial first step because it’s how you understand what people need and how you can help them.

3. By bringing together members from different backgrounds

Scouts is open to everyone who shares our fundamental values — we’re proud to be an inclusive organisation, where everyone is welcome. One of the many benefits of spending time with people who are different to you is that you learn how to become a better listener. We also create a safe space for intergenerational listening; for example Beaver Scouts and Explorer Scouts can work on projects together, and leaders of all ages can help young people develop skills for life.

4. By adventuring safely

Scouts know the importance of listening to those who are there to help you and keep you safe, whether you’re abseiling down a rock, kayaking down a river, or helping a friend settle into camp. Our exciting programme requires us to listen to leaders and other young people in order to have a brilliant time while staying safe.

5. By being youth shaped

When young people are involved in shaping their Scout experiences, they get more out of it and achieve more too. As a movement, we listen to young people and involve them in making decisions that matter. As a result, we all learn to listen to each other and recognise that no matter our age, our contributions are both valuable and valued.