What is Scouts

Our heritage

Robert Baden-Powell held a camp on Brownsea Island in 1907 to try out his ideas of a training programme for young boys – bringing together 20 boys from diverse backgrounds.

The training program was based on his experiences in the Army, working with young people teaching them Scouting skills. The camp enabled him to write Scouting for Boys which was published in six fortnightly parts. The handbook was intended as an aid for already established organisations, but it fired the imagination of young people to form themselves into Scout troops. By 1910, some 100,000 young people were already involved.

Find out more about the history of global Scouting here and explore our history and heritage here.

Scouting today

Scouting in the UK is the largest mixed volunteer-led Movement for young people in the UK, with some 460,000 participants between the ages of 6 and 25.

Scouting exists to make young people’s lives better, helping them realise their full potential and take their place in society.

Young people in the Scouts take part in an exciting programme of activities from kayaking to coding. They develop character skills like resilience, initiative and tenacity; employability skills such as leadership, teamwork and problem solving; and practical skills like cooking and first aid.  Research proves it really works. The 2017 Impact Report says Scouts are 17% more likely to show leadership skills and work well in teams. They’re a third more likely to support their communities too.


The Scout Association in the UK is one of 170 members of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM), which is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Geneva, Switzerland. We are therefore a part of the Global Scouting movement with some 50 million active members. It is the counterpart of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). Uniformed Scout members in the UK wear a membership award badge to show their membership of an organisation recognised by WOSM and all national scout associations have the same or a similar badge on their uniforms.

Scouting in the UK

The Scout Association is incorporated by Royal Charter and aims to promote the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, social, spiritual and emotional potentials as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities.

The Charter of the Association provides for the making of bye-laws approved by Her Majesty in Council which, in turn, authorise the making of the rules which govern Scouting in the UK (known as “Policy, Organisation and Rules”). The Scout uniform is legally protected and can only be worn by members.


Scouting in the UK is managed by our HQ at Gilwell via Scout Counties. The Scout County of Hampshire, is the largest Scout County in the UK with over 21,000 Youth and Adult members.


Rotherfield Scout District exists to provide leadership, advice and support for Scout Groups within the District, in an area that spans from Alresford to Headley to Bentley.


Scout Groups are the smallest unit and normally have at least one Beaver colony, Cub pack and Scout troop. Explorer units may be attached to a Scout group, but are managed at District level and are separate from their associated group.

Each Group, District and County is managed by Group Scout Leader or a Commissioner and supported by an Executive Committee.

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls