Young Leaders: GSL Guide
What is a Young Leader?
Young leaders are young people aged 14-18 who invest time and effort into scouting, just like adult volunteers. They're ultimately the future of the scout association and one day, scouting will be in their hands. So, they're important young people.

Young Leaders should be treated with the same respect as adult volunteers. The only difference between the two roles is the age and level of responsibility.

The Scout Association is keen for Young Leaders to get real experience when working with sections. Please don't be afraid to challenging Young Leaders and offer them new experiences (e.g. planning an event, or budgeting for a camp).

There is an optional agreement between the young leader and the section/ section leader who they are working with. It's a good starting point to to gauge the expectations of both parties to ensure a good working relationship.

Help and Support for Adults
It's imperative that adults are supported and although Young Leaders are important, adults are the priority as they are responsible. At the same time, you should encourage a good relationship between adults and young leaders.

If adults would like ideas/ support for engaging their young leaders, contact

YLs and their placements
Young Leaders are encouraged from session 1 to be independent. The YL unit will facilitate placement organisation, but it is ultimately the responsibility of the young person to organise that placement.

Session 5 is a drop-in session where Young Leaders express interest in a specific section, they are then guided by the YL unit leaders to a group/section. We actively encourage YLs to take a role in a beaver colony or a cub pack. This is because through proven experience, explained below in two scenarios:
  • 15 year old Steve from 1st Maplefield left scouts 3 months ago and is interested in helping with 3rd Maplefield scout troop as a YL - where he knows friends from school and district trips. He starts and finds it difficult to lead games and challenge behaviour because he feels he can't lead the same people he considers good friends.
  • 14 year old Sarah from 1st Huntingstoke leaves scouts and is interested in helping with 1st Huntingstoke beaver colony. She finds it a very rewarding experience as she now knows new adult volunteers and enjoys a role where beavers look up to her because she is older, but she is still considered a leader.
These scenarios are anonymised from previous young leaders and demonstrate why we don't encourage YLs to take up roles within the scout sections.

When Young Leaders turn 16, we do encourage them to take up roles in the scout section as we're aware of the vital role Young Leaders play in the section!

Session 5 - Award recognition
Session 5 is a pivotal session in the Young Leader Training Scheme. It serves as a drop-in session and serves multiple purposes:
  1. To provide direction to all new young leaders who do not have a voluntary role. New YLs leave the session with the contact details of 2 section leaders and 2 GSLs.
  2. An opportunity to discuss any issues/ problems/ questions current Young Leaders are having.
  3. An opportunity for all current Young Leaders to discuss awards, ongoing training, other awards (e.g. DofE), missions and challenges (including evidence validation).
Young Leaders can book online at

Section Leaders and their specific responsibilities
The section leader role brings with it responsibility to allow young leader(s) to volunteer - just like adult volunteers with less responsibility. These are specific responsibilities for section leaders:
  • Work alongside the GSL and Young Leaders
  • Ensure young leaders are treat with the same respect as adult volunteers and are invited to all sectional meetings (programme planning, events etc.)
  • Ensure young leaders are given opportunities to develop and lead
  • Ensure young leaders are safe (they are still young people)
  • Facilitate young leaders' missions and challenges (see opposite)
  • 'Sign off'/ validate young leader missions
  • Ensure all young leaders have attended Session 1: Module A within three months of joining
  • Ensure all young people are safe by ensuring young leaders do not exceed their competency
  • Induct young leaders into their role, as you would with other adult volunteers
Other FAQs
Q: Do Young Leaders need to wear group neckers?
A: It's up to the Young Leader. The Young Leader must wear their district young leader necker (white, blue and black) but it's up to them if they want to wear an additional group necker. The YL Award necker (see right) can be worn in replacement of the district necker and, again, in addition to a group necker.

Q: How do I know exactly what training Young Leaders have?
GSLs have access to YL data. Alternatively, contact Jack Fletcher (

Q: I have someone interested in becoming a Young Leader from outside scouts. How do I get them registered?
A: Get them to fill the form in on our Young Leaders page ( and we'll be in touch!

Q: Who do YLs pay subs to?
A: They pay subs to whichever group they are volunteering with.

Q: What is the responsibility of a Young Leader regarding safeguarding?
A: A Young Leader has a similar responsibility with regards to safeguarding as an adult. Consult the orange card (a YL version of the adult Yellow Card) if in doubt and query anything with Jonathan Chicken (

Q: How do I sign off YL Missions?
A: Ensure the young leader has completed all of the required sections of their Missions (in their handout, in their file) and let us know (email:! Alternatively, the unit can do this for you - the Young Leader should attend session 5 for this.

Q: What happens when a Young Leader turns 18?
A: They should have the opportunity to join the scout network and also take up a volunteer role*. Your GSL should help with this. Young Leaders can be awarded the young leader service badge to wear on an adult uniform (see above right).

Q: How many YLs can I have in a section?
A: A maximum of three per section at any one time.

Q: What happens if the Young Leader isn't turning up or is not 'pulling their weight'?
A: Call Jack Fletcher (07429 562964) or email us ( and we'll chase this up . We'll let the GSL and section leader know ASAP what the outcome is.

*Taking up an adult role is done in the same way for all people. They must complete a DBS check, an application form, attend appointments advisory committee and be appointed into role. They must then begin their adult training and complete Modules 1-3. There is no difference in the appointment/ initial training process for adults who have previously been young leaders. Other adult modules may be partially validated (discussion with their Training Advisor).
GSL Specific Responsibilities
Group scout leaders have a pivotal role in supporting both section leaders and young leaders in their role. These are a GSLs specific responsibilities:
  • Ensure section leaders are familiar with their responsibilities (see below)
  • Providing support to Young Leaders (in conjunction with YL Unit Leader)
  • Keeping young leaders' contact information up-to-date
  • Facilitating good partnerships between YLs and adults
  • Approve/ reject YL requests to be part of your group
  • Ensure all YLs have completed Session 1: Module A before volunteering
  • Ensure adults do not encourage YLs to exceed their competency
  • Ensure YLs pay subscription fees as per other youth members (this responsibility may be delegated to section leaders)
  • Review the young leaders in role in your group as you would other adult volunteers
  • Ensure sections are inducting new young leaders into the group/ role
The Young Leader Scheme in HLS
In HLS district, the young leader training scheme offers hands-on experience based
learning to ready our young leaders for their roles in sections. This provides the best experience for both the young leaders who are training, and also the adult leaders who lead sections which host young leaders.

The scheme in HLS differs from the national scheme. POR states Young Leaders must attend a Module A session as part of their training. Module A, which is similar to Module 1 of adult training (scouting fundamentals, child protection and risk assessment) forms the first session of our scheme.

5 additional sessions follow on from Session 1: Module A, building on the knowledge for Young Leaders. Each session runs twice within the scheme at different sections/ groups. All sessions are bookable online (or via text message to Jack Fletcher or via the Facebook Group). At the end of each session, a handout is provided to sum up the content for the session. For session info, visit our YL page. Additionally, see the content covered (the same content as provided in the handout) on our online session pages:
YL Challenges and YL Missions
We try to encourage Young Leaders to continue their training and demonstrate what they've learned. YL challenges and YL missions provide the framework to do so.

YL challenges are exclusive to HLS and are designed to be completed whilst the
training scheme is running. There are 4 challenges in total; one challenge for each session from sessions 1-4 (listed above). The challenges are designed to make young leaders think about the content of the session whilst at home.

YL missions are a nationwide part of the scheme to encourage YLs to put into practice their learning. The are designed to be completed after the scheme, when the young leader is in place as a volunteer. Section leaders must 'sign off' these missions individually with supporting evidence (similar to adult training portfolio). There are 4 missions to be signed off.

The young leaders are provided with a file with information about all of this as well as the missions and the challenges. They should use this file to keep evidence for missions and any information with regards to their placement.

Scout Leaders and their role
Scout Leaders play a large role in the transition of older scouts to the explorer section (including for those wishing to become Young Leaders). Scout Leaders are asked to have a conversation with scouts about their options, outlining the process of moving on from scouts. 

Specifically when talking about Young Leaders, Scout Leaders are asked to cover the following points:
  • Being a Young Leader involves commitment and volunteering with a section and being a young leader provides you with the skills and qualities you can talk about on college, university and job applications. Plus, it's hugely rewarding!
  • The training happens between September and December each year, with the opportunity to go through Session 1: Module A every three months
  • There are plenty of opportunities involved
  • Young Leaders isn't for everyone and those who don't want to volunteer don't have to - an explorer unit is certainly not a 'second class' option
  • Everyone is in the same boat! Lots of new faces, lots of new experiences, lots of new challenge
  • You can join both an explorer unit and the YL unit at the same time
  • They must register their interest on our YL page (
  • Point/ask any questions or queries to us by emailling:

Awards for Young Leaders
HLS offers a range of awards for young leaders including national awards.
Young Leader Badge

At the end of Session 1: Module A, Young Leaders will be given a square/ diamond shaped Young Leader Badge (see opposite). This represents the completion of Module A - the minimum requirements of a YL.

The Young Leader can then be awarded a stripe (see opposite) which 
YL Mission Stripe
fits around the Young Leader Badge for each mission completed and signed off. There are 4 mission stripes, which when placed around the outside of the young leader badge create a larger circular 'badge'.
YL Belt

The Young Leader Belt is awarded to young leaders who complete the first 4 core sessions and all 4 missions. This represents the completion of the national award.

YL Award Necker
The Young Leader Award is a combination of the Young Leader Belt (completing all 4
missions and all Young Leader sessions) and the completion of the 4 (HLS exclusive) YL challenges. The Young Leader is awarded a YL award necker.

The Young Leader Service Award can be awarded when a YL turns 18 
YL Service Award
and the award represents service as a Young Leader and it can be worn on adult uniform.

Awards are provided by the district upon notification by a section leader/ GSL/ young leader. Groups do not have to provide these awards, only facilitate them.

Please email to nominate someone/ yourself for an award.

Duke of Edinburgh's Award and the YL schemeYL national scheme
The scheme in HLS is different to the national scheme but we still cover the same outcomes - just in a more practical way. 

This can cause issues when recording modules completed (sessions in HLS). Please see the guide opposite.

For DofE Bronze, YLs must complete Session 1 + another session + 3 months volunteering.

For DofE Silver, YLs must complete Session 1 + another session + 6 months volunteering.

For DofE Gold, YLs must complete Session 1 + another session + 12 months volunteering.