It may be tagged the Noughties, but it has been a great decade for Scouting in the UK


It doesn’t seem 10 minutes ago, yet alone 10 years, that we were sitting with our fingers crossed for the countdown to midnight on the 31st and to see if civilisation as we had come to know it would survive the “millennium bug”, the much hyped expectation that computers across the world might fail as the date turned 2000. Such fears were thankfully wildly wrong. So too were fears that Scouting was about to join the growing list of “yesterdays good ideas”, without a place in the 21st century.

It’s true that Scouting today is very different from that in 1999, amongst many things we have:

  • Restructured – centralising HQ staff at new offices at Gilwell, selling the offices at B P House (not the hostel!) and increasing the number of field staff
  • Created an Information Centre
  • Changed the uniform into a more casual style
  • Implemented a new youth programme - we no longer have Venture Scouts but we have Explorer Scouts and the Scout Network, and as a result we have more young people in those age ranges than for many years.
  • We have restructured and created the Adult Support Teams and we have refreshed and revitalised our resources and brand image.
  • We have learnt how to significantly enhance our external image, especially the development of young spokespeople.
  • Become more open in our style and ways of communicating
  • And perhaps one of the largest illustrations of our evolution is in the role of Chief Scout; as we have moved from a traditional, inward focussing role to the split roles that Bear and I now enjoy.

As a result of these changes and the continued commitment of hundreds of thousands of volunteers, we have, in short, undertaken a make-over that reality TV would be proud of and which is reflected in the improving trend in membership since 2001 and growth of the last 5 years in particular.

So what of the next decade? For me, I would like to think that before the end of it, we will have built on our current success and be able to offer all young people in the UK, regardless of their background, faith, gender or the colour of their skin the opportunity to join and for all young people to have the same opportunities for fun and adventure that I and my children have, and continue, to enjoy through Scouting.

But what of your own thoughts and wishes for Scouting in the next decade? Well, you have an opportunity to let us know and to help Shape our Future by commenting on the next strategic plan by visiting Please do use this opportunity and others to let us know what we should be doing.

Finally, in thanking you for all you have done for Scouting in helping to achieve the successes of the Noughties and wishing you all the very best for the coming year.  May I take this opportunity to also thank you personally for your help and support over the past year, particularly since my appointment to this role in May, which helps to make it so enjoyable.


P.s. See our decade of adventure in pictures

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