Ask a youth member of Scouting Ireland why their friend should join and they will say because it’s fun, because they have adventures with their friends, because they get to go camping.
Ask a Scouting parent and the list is more complex.
- Kids outdoors are happy kids
- There’s no WIFI in the forest but they’ll get a better connection
- Apparently many Irish kids have never climbed a tree – we can fix that!
- Scouts learn teamwork, leadership, budgeting, planning, the value of Being Prepared and they learn it while enjoying themselves
- Shared adventures and challenges build strong friendships across age-groups and genders
- Scouting promotes community service and environmental awareness
- They will learn useful skills such as how to cook a meal (and wash up), first aid, navigation, packing, leading a team, planning an activity, building structures, water safety, how to pitch a tent, hiking etc.
- Scouts experience day, weekend, and longer adventures without their parents (but with Scouter support) and this builds independent, self-reliant young people
- No Scout is asked to do more than they can manage, but over time they build their skills and capabilities and try to do more. The Beaver Scout who was brave to risk a one night slumber party grows into the Rover Scout who volunteers a week of work overseas. That growth equals one thing – Confidence.
Scouting is a non-formal educational experience that is firmly rooted in the experiential educational model. What does this mean?
Formal education is highly structured and is provided in the primary, secondary and college education system that we are all familiar with.
Non-formal education is learning through fun, adventure, discovery for ourselves, interaction & experience. The word non-formal is not to be confused with informal!
The Aim of Scouting Ireland is to encourage the social, physical, intellectual, character, emotional and spiritual development of young people so that they may achieve their full potential and, as responsible citizens, to improve society.
The Scout Method
In any organisation, team sport or endeavor there needs to be a method, a structure, a culture which underpins its purpose. An obvious example is a team sport like hurling or soccer. There is an ethos; a coaching method; a place where the game is played; a progressive structure as you develop in the game; a team structure; an identity; and a set of rules to play by.
In Scouting we apply the Scout Method, which has 8 interconnected components, to achieve our aim:
- Scouting fosters a value system based on the Scout Promise & Law. This value system becomes the method by which a Scout lives and works with others.
- Through learning by doing and reviewing our experience, we gain knowledge about the task completed and about ourselves.
- Scouting happens outdoors whenever possible. Challenge, adventure and a sense of freedom are all present in close contact with nature and away from everyday home life.
- The success of the Scout’s task or adventure is not important. The dynamics of the team, and the growth of the individual within that team, is of real importance. Each Scout will progress at their own speed through Scouting challenges individually and within their small team.
- In Scouting we work in small teams so Scouts learn individually and in teams. Every Section is a collection of small teams, not a collection of individual Scouts.
- We use names, themes, stories and traditions to spark the imagination and to aid learning. In so far as possible this is created by the Scouts themselves.
- Scouting is a movement FOR young people and supported by adults. In the younger Sections the adult’s support is greater, whereas in older Sections the adult’s role lessens and it becomes more of a partnership.
- Scouts interact with their local community. Service to others is the element of the Scout Method dealing with this commitment. We support young people to become active citizens and to work to create a better world.