Community News

The Scouting Effect reveals the best place to find our most resilient young people

A new survey has revealed that being involved in Scouting in Australia gives young people a distinct advantage.

Young people participating in Scouts demonstrate higher levels of resilience, self-confidence, mental wellbeing and the emotional capacity to cope with difficult times such as COVID-19 isolation.

The results collected by Resilient Youth Australia found that Scouts have an overall better life satisfaction than their peers, and the longer they remain with Scouts, the more resilient they become.

Chief Commissioner of Scouts Australia, Phil Harrison, said: “The results of this study are truly ground-breaking and exciting for our organisation, as they reaffirm the essential service Scouting is, and continues to deliver to our local communities.”

The Resilience Survey, developed in partnership with the UniSA Justice and Society (at the University of South Australia) benchmarked the responses of young people aged 8-18 who attend Scouts with those who do not, pointing to the positive impact of Scouting.

“We’re proud to know that the work we do for young people in our communities is helping build resilience, self-confidence and the emotional capacity to help cope during difficult times,” Mr Harrison added.

“This is especially poignant today as everyone needs the ability to stay positive after the devastating bushfires over summer and now the impact of COVID-19 on the lives and livelihoods of Australians.”

From being able to find ways to solve a problem to being more likely to forgive themselves if they make a mistake, the study found Scouts demonstrated a wide range of resilient behaviours.

Mr Harrison credits the higher levels of resilience reported in the study to the practical life experiences and community connections Scouts affords children and young adults.

“The Scout Method includes learning by doing, one of eight key aspects. We empower young people to take the lead and give them a safe space where they can work with others to plan and embark on their own adventures,” Mr Harrison said.

Director of Resilient Youth Australia, Dr Andrew Wicking, said that true success in life was about resilience and wellbeing.

“Our work with more than 350,000 young Australians indicates that youth thrive when they feel Connected Protected Respected TM (CPR),” Dr Wicking said.

“The Resilience Survey is a self-report instrument which explores CPR and how young people rate themselves in terms of their strengths, life satisfaction, hopefulness, mental health, coping style, and risk and protective behaviours.

“The results highlight a remarkable correlation between overall resilience and attending Scouts, with young people who participate in Scouts consistently reporting higher resilience than non-Scouts across most indicators.”

More than 1000 young people participated in the survey and among the key findings were that Scouts reported being more likely to:


Shane Jacobson. Image: contributed

✔ Get along with people who are different to them (86% to 80.8%)
✔ Give time to help others (81.3% to 73.2%)
✔ Trust others (81.5% to 68.5%)
✔ Hold more hope for a positive future than non-Scouts (78.8% to 69%)
✔ Forgive themselves if they make a mistake (71.1% to 63.3%)
✔ Feel they make a positive contribution to their community than non-Scouts (58.8% to 43.4%), and;
✔ Scouts are less likely to report feeling tired or having little energy (79.1% to 67.6%)

“We empower young people to make decisions, take the lead and learn by doing. We give them a safe space where they can work with others to plan and embark on their own adventures, indoors and out,” Mr Harrison added.

During the period of restrictions Australia has experienced to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Scouts has moved its activities online, altering programs to ensure all members continue to enjoy Scouting activities during their daily routines – ensuring they learn, have fun and stay connected with their friends in Scouts.

Virtual camps, Scout meetings and space adventures along with weekly challenges, scientific experiments and virtual badges and certificates have all been offered through the [email protected] platform.

Some of Australia’s most famous faces have come through Scouting, including Shane Jacobson, the respected Australian actor, who was named Chief Scout in Victoria in 2015. “Scouting provided me with memories, skills and friendships that will last my lifetime. I was shown great leadership and as a result, I believe I became a good team player in the game of life”