Join the adventure!


13 ways to Scoutify your working day



28th January is Fun at Work Day! To celebrate, here are 13 ways to Scoutify your 9-5, from lunchtime hikes to office ice-breakers and desk dens.

1. Wake up early to watch the sun rise before the work day begins.

2. Host a Hungry Hungry Hippos tournament at your next team away day.

3. Organise a scavenger hunt around the office, with prizes for the winners!

4. Take the time to go on a mini hike during your lunch break. Bonus points if you can hug a tree along the way.

5. Bring a Scout-themed picnic in for lunch, and introduce your unknowing non-Scout colleagues to the joy of the dough twist!

6. Transfer your Scout ice-breaker activities to the workplace.

7. Gain skills for life by turning your commute into a learning opportunity. Whether you choose to pass time on the train completing a simple sudoku puzzle or crossword, or to learn a new language in the car, or challenge yourself to read one novel a week on the bus, there are a wealth of ways to pass the time more meaningfully.

8. If you commute to work on public transport, why not designate one morning a month to do it all of your Scout Programme planning on the way in and back? This could help to reduce stress, and will give you something to look forward to.

9. Listen to nature sounds at your desk, and pretend you’re on a dream expedition. Where would you go? What would you see?

10. Struggling to raise money for an upcoming excursion? Why not host an office bake sale, with any funds raised feeding back into your Scouting?

11. Make stress balls with your young people, and keep one on your desk for trying times.

12. Repurpose our fun Getting to Know You resource (p38). Just ask your workmates to fill it in at your next big meeting or team away day, and see what interesting new facts and unexpected stories you can find out about them!

13. Build a blanket fort beneath your desk.

The benefits of youth shaped forums and committees

Youth Shaped Forums

Samuel Shackleton, District Youth Forum Chair of Wolverhampton North Scout District, shares his insights into the reasoning behind youth shaped forums and committees

Committees – young people sitting on adults’ meetings?

In Wolverhampton, North District, in 2014, two Explorer Scouts were voted to sit on the District Executive Committee to represent the young people of the District in key decision making and event planning. And so began our journey towards making committees more youth shaped.

When Abigail Allan, our first Youth Commissioner, was appointed in 2016, one of her first priorities was to make committees more accessible. She said:

‘It’s fair to say that the first step in making anything more accessible is to make sure that people know what it’s about: its purpose, who’s there and why they’re there, and what all the jargon means. With this in mind, our first thoughts on new ways to make the District Exec accessible for young people was to create a short, one-page introduction to the various roles present and key terms used in meetings.

‘We then linked this in with a cheerful-looking role description sheet for our District Youth Reps and created the role of Group Youth Reps, who sit on their Group Exec. We’re now looking at establishing mentors on those Execs, giving each of the young people someone experienced to help the young people find their feet and voice.

‘It’s important that the young people on the Execs are effective (non-voting) members; they’re not just there to tick a youth shaped box. The more accessible Execs are to them, the more productive the meeting will be and the more they gain out of them – useful life skills.’

Forums – adults sitting on young people’s meetings?

Our Youth Forum came about after our District Youth Reps were tasked with developing ideas for our St George’s Day celebration. What begun as a survey for each section to complete, grew into a meeting of Explorer Scouts facilitated by a couple of adult volunteers.

Using the ideas suggested by the sections, they created a full plan for the day and, but for a few logistical points, organised it, liaising with adult volunteers to run the activities. The success of this led to the formation of a regular Youth Forum for the District, which has since met twice, quarterly.

While the invitation was first open to Explorer Scouts and Young Leaders, we’ve now expanded it to include Scouts too. Although the first two have followed a meeting format to get it up and running with regular attendance (not forgetting pizza and chocolate attractions), our next Youth Forum will move from an hour long session into a day of adventurous activities for Scouts and Explorers, with the potential of incorporating these meetings into camps in the future. Not only does this reward the young people who attend, it means they get more out of their commitment to the District.

I chair these meetings along with an Explorer – with a couple of representatives of the District Team in attendance (eg DYC, DC, DESC). Our ideal approach is for at least two Scouts and Explorers to attend from each Group, and for them to discuss the pre-published agenda within their sections in advance of the meeting. At the Forum we can then discuss their thoughts and come up with ideas and plans for, for example, restarting a District swimming gala or having an Explorer and Young Leaders Camp in 2018 (both ideas from young people attending the first Youth Forum).

We only have to look back to our St George’s Day celebration in April 2017 to see the impact this had. Firstly, the young people in the district enjoyed a day that followed a different pattern to previous years. It featured activities and games that they’d thought of and fed back through the survey. Also, less strain was put on leaders and committee members in the planning stages and it enabled Explorers and Young Leaders to become more involved in local decision making.

Youth Shaped Scouting – partnerships between young people and adults

The common theme between committees, forums, and all of youth shaped Scouting is partnership: young and not so young; Scouts and Explorers; Leaders and Commissioners; sections, Groups and Districts; all working together. We know youth shaped Scouting isn’t a new concept, and has been happening to various degrees since 1907. Some people may be unsure of what you’re doing and why, especially if something’s always been done one way for many years (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?) but we know that things can always be improved.

Forums aren’t something unachievable, and aren’t only something for a District or County stage. Why not bring your Lodge Leaders and Sixers together at the start of each term to develop and plan your moving on ceremony, or allow your Explorers to facilitate a parliament-style debate for your Scouts?

if you’re taking part in events this month to celebrat #YouShape, make sure you let us know on social media. 

New research confirms: Scouts strengthen communities

Social Impact Report 2018

As Scouts, we already know that Scouting develops socially engaged young people – individuals who are curious, kind, welcoming, active, resilient and extraordinarily equipped with skills for life. Now, we have evidence to back it up.

A new research study has revealed, or rather – confirmed, that Scouting develops strong community engagement in young people, fostering a culture of curiosity and acceptance.

Commissioned by The Scout Association, the study gathered data from over 2,000 young people, both Scouts and non-Scouts, and was independently conducted by SocStats, an agency that specialises in measuring impact in social sector organisations.

The findings are an inspiring reminder of why we do what we do. As it turns out, Scouting really can change the world. By creating a culture of curiosity and acceptance in young people, Scouting strengthens communities and contributes to greater social cohesion.

Here are a few highlights from the report.

Community impact and inclusion

Compared to young people not in Scouting:

  • Scouts are one-third more likely to take an active role in their communities
  • Scouts are one-third more likely to help out in their local area, feel greater responsibility to their local community and volunteer to help others
  • Scouts are 18% more likely to be curious about the world around them and 12% more likely to accept diversity in other people’s backgrounds and beliefs

Physical and mental wellbeing

  • Unsurprisingly, Scouts are 32% more likely to be physically active than young people who don’t take part in Scouting
  • Scouts are also 13% more likely to demonstrate mental resilience

Skills for life

The research highlighted how Scouting develops skills that are vital in the workplace. Compared to their non-Scouting counterparts, Scouts are:

  • 17% more likely to demonstrate leadership skills
  • 11% more likely to be better problem solvers
  • 19% more likely to show emotional intelligence
  • 17% more likely to be able to work well in teams


What do our young people have to say

These numbers give additional weight to the positive feedback we hear from young people every day. 13-year-old Charlotte Miles said: ‘since I became a Scout I have been so much more involved in my local area.

‘Volunteering as a Scout, helping out and getting to know people in the community. I have learnt so much and met people from so many different backgrounds, making some really great friends.

‘I think every young person should think about getting involved as you get so many new skills and it is really good fun.’

New research finds that Scouts have better mental health

Mental Health Blog

The Scout Association is pleased to announce that a new study has found a strong link between participating in Scouting and Guiding as a young person, and having significantly better mental health.

The data, from almost 10,000 individuals, came from a lifelong UK-wide study of people born in November 1958, known as the National Child Development Study. 28% had been members of Scouting or Guiding as young people. The major finding of the study was that, at the age of 50, this group were around 15% less likely to suffer from mood disorders (including depression and anxiety) than adults who had not been members of Scouting or Guiding.

Despite it having been many decades since the participants had been Members, there was a clear and strong protective effect on mental health. This was present even when the researchers accounted for childhood risk factors, including mental illness being generally more prevalent in families from low socio-economic backgrounds.

‘It is quite startling that this benefit is found in people so many years after they have attended Scouts or Guides,’ said lead researcher Professor Chris Dibben, from the University of Edinburgh. ‘We expect the same principles would apply to the Scouts and Guides of today, and so, given the high costs of mental ill health to individuals and society, a focus on voluntary youth programmes such as Scouting or Guiding might be very sensible,’ he continued.

The authors of the study suggest that the findings represent the benefits of learning ‘soft’ skills through Scouting, including teamwork and self-reliance, coupled with frequently being outdoors in natural environments. Scouting teaches young people skills for life, and now there is evidence that these skills can have a lifelong positive impact on one of the most important indicators of our health and wellbeing.

Upon hearing the good news, Bear Grylls, Chief Scout, said: ‘I am really proud that Scouting provides young people with an opportunity to develop the skills they need to be resilient and deal with what life throws at them. Through initiatives such as our A Million Hands Campaign, the Scout Association is helping give young people the ability to develop mental wellbeing throughout their lives.’

The study was conducted by researchers at the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and has been published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

If you’d like to take action on mental wellbeing, make sure your young people participate in our Community Impact campaign, A Million Hands

Local Youth Commissioners update us on their new roles

Local Youth Commissioners Voices Of Youth Feature Part 2 Edit

We caught up with Emma and Alec, two young people who took on the new Local Youth Commissioner roles last year, to find out how things are going.

it has been a year since the County Youth Commissioner (CYC) and District Youth Commissioner (DYC) roles were first created. The CYCs and DYCs are appointed to represent the views and voices of the young people involved in Scouting locally, and to help make decisions about Programme activities alongside adult volunteers. These roles are important to really help embed Youth Shaped Scouting and reach the goals set out as part of Scouting For All.

We talked to two CYCs and DYCs who are flying the flag for Youth Shaped Scouting to see how they are finding life in their roles so far.

Emma Cooper East Lancashire County Youth Commissioner 

Emma joined Scouting as a Beaver. When she was an Explorer, she decided to leave Scouting for a period of time after feeling frustrated with the Programme. Now she dedicates her time to making sure young people in Scouting are able to share their opinions about the activities they do. ‘Since my appointment we’ve held two County youth forums. We discussed the camps the young people would like to go on and we talked about having a County necker or badge. Now we have that information, we can work towards making them a reality.

‘I’ve met with the District Commissioners to discuss the DYC role. I want to start working with DYCs but I’m not going to pressure District Commissioners into appointing young people.

‘Working with the social media team is a lot of fun. The local news websites have picked up our social media posts. I want to raise the profile of Scouts in our area and change perceptions.

‘For the future, I want to run a regular County forum three times a year. This will be the place where District teams are able to put forward ideas at County level. My deputy has been appointed now, so together I’m sure we will be able to work on a good plan.’

Alec Tomlinson Burton District Youth Commissioner

Alec is currently studying food science at Huddersfield University, which is outside his Scout District. Like most volunteers, he manages to balance his student/working life with his Scouting responsibilities. Before being appointed DYC, Alec held roles as a Beaver, Scout and Network Leader.

‘My current role as DYC is my favourite role because it’s uncharted territory – nobody has done the role before and that’s exciting. Since my appointment, we’ve been running youth forums and have already seen a change in attitude towards Youth Shaped Scouting.

‘Youth forums are not a case of putting forward an idea and then leaving it. We ask young people to think about the ideas, how to make them happen and vote on the best. Ultimately, I would like to have more young people represented on decision-making panels. I also think forums are a great place to spot future leaders.

‘Being away at university means I’m not always on hand, so there is a team of us spanning different age ranges. We all work well together and I know the others will look after things when I’m not in Burton.

‘As a Movement, the closer we work with the young people we’re trying to help, the better we’ll understand them and the more effective we’ll be.’

To read more about the County Youth Commissioner and District Youth Commissioner roles, visit the YouShape section on our website. 

This story was originally printed in the March issue of Scouting Magazine. Read the full magazine online


Meet the new County Commissioner for Devon, Marc Coton.


50 awesome things to do this summer

National Trust 2

The National Trust have compiled the ultimate list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4. See how many your Scouts have ticked off, and fill the summer days with challenges and adventure to complete the list!

As Scouts, we know how brilliant it is to sleep out under the stars, cook breakfast on a woodfire we started ourselves, and spend the long summer days outdoors (whatever the weather).

Here’s a giant list of 50 things every young person should try to do before they’re 11 3/4, according to our friends at The National Trust. From jumping in puddles to making a trail from sticks, there are ideas for all the family to try over the summer holidays. Make the most of the beautiful countryside around us and get out there!


1. Climb a tree

Erddig, Wrexham

Tree climbing with the Big Tree Climbing Company, 28 July & 25 August.

Hour-long sessions starting at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1.45pm, 2.45pm, 3.45pm

Head to Erddig and climb a tree higher than you’ve ever climbed before to tick off number 1 on the ‘50 Things to do’ list. Spend an hour with tree climbing experts who will guide you up Erddig’s trees using ropes and harnesses.  While you’re up there get a good look at the 1,200 acre estate from a different perspective. Afterwards have a good run around, see if you can find some places you spotted from the top and use your new climbing skills to clamber up more trees.

Price: £18.50 (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01978 315178


2. Roll down a really big hill

Coleton Fishacre, Devon

Wild Wednesdays, 27 July, 3, 10, 17, 24 August, 2pm – 4pm

To pick up speed when rolling down the hill, lie on the grass, make your body into the shape of a sausage and get a friend to give you a gentle push. After your adventure why not finish the day with a tasty ice cream at Café Coleton.

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01803 842382


3. Camp out in the wild

Fell Foot, Cumbria

Family wild camping adventure, select weekends in July and August

Why sleep in a boring bed when you can sleep outdoors under the stars? Join the National Trust team on the shores of Lake Windermere for a night of family fun. Simply pitch your tent and head outside for some wild adventures: who knows what you’ll see? The campsite is basic, but the surroundings are stunning.

Booking Essential

Price: £8 per tent & car. Additional adults £6, children £3 and additional car £7 (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 015395 31273


4. Build a den

Malham Tarn Estate, Yorkshire

Den Building and Geocaching at Malham Tarn, 28 July, 1pm – 4pm

Have you always wished you could build a super-secret den to hide from the grownups? Then head down to Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales for a day of muddy adventures and den building. You’ll learn how to create a secret hideaway using only what you can find in the wild, and have a go at following a geocaching trail to find some hidden treasure.

Price: £5, booking essential

For more information, please call 01729 830416


5. Skim a stone

Brancaster Estate, Norfolk

50 things – Wild Wednesdays and Thursdays, 21, 27 & 28 July, 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25 & 31 August, 10am – 4pm

Take a trip to the Norfolk coast and spend the day frolicking in the sun on this family fun beach day. Build an epic sandcastle, hunt for creepy-crawlies, learn to fly kites and have a go at skimming stones. The trick is to find the perfect stone: the smoother, rounder and flatter the better. Can you do four bounces?

Please meet at Brancaster Beach (PE31 8AX), look out for flags & staff.

Price: Free event

For more information, please call 01263 740241


6. Run around in the rain

The Argory, County Armagh

We’re all hoping for sunny summer holidays, but there’s one great activity that you can only do in wet weather: run around in the rain. Just pull on your wellies and a raincoat, make sure you have dry clothes to change into afterwards, and head out into the wild weather for a rainy run-around.

With 320 acres of wooded riverside estate to explore, The Argory makes a great day out whatever the weather. Explore the woodland, splash in muddy puddles and see how many rainy games you can invent. Head to the café afterwards for a tasty hot chocolate and a slice of cake.

Price: Normal admission charges apply

For more information, please call 02887 784753


7. Fly a kite

Lyme, Cheshire

Kites at the Cage, 16 August, 12pm – 3pm

Let’s go fly a kite, high up above the Cage. Bring your own kite to show off your skills in this mass kite-flying event. Will yours be the highest in the sky? The Cage will also be open so head up the tower to see stunning views across Cheshire and Manchester from this historical hunting lodge.

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01663 762023


8. Catch a fish with a net

Plas Newydd House and Gardens, Anglesey

Pond life, 27 July, 11am – 4pm

Delve below the pond surface to discover what lives in the strange world beneath. You’ll be amazed by the creatures you can find – try to catch a fish, and then pop it back in the water quickly. After you’ve had your fill of fishy fun, head down to the adventure playground in Dairy Wood for a good old run-around.

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01248 714795


9. Eat an apple straight from a tree

Hinton Ampner, Hampshire

The Hinton Ampner estate has 1600 acres for you to discover, including walks through the woods and stunning views over the Hampshire Downs. Look in the orchard at Hinton Ampner, but don’t forget to ask a member of staff first. The ripest apples are on the outside branches, furthest away from the trunk. And remember – don’t eat raw cooking apples as they could give you a tummy ache.

Price: Free (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01962 771305


10. Play conkers

Osterley Park, London

There are usually mountains of conkers to find at Osterley Park in London, although you may have to wait until the end of the summer to start finding them.Stroll around the estate or speak to one of the rangers to find out exactly where the best trees are. Remember, it’s not always the biggest conker that wins. 50 things tip: put some conkers in a bucket of water; all those that sink to the bottom are winners, those that float are losers.

Price: Free (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call, 020 8232 5050

National Trust 3


11. Go on a really long bike ride

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire

Family bike ride, 1 July, 3 August, 6pm – 8pm (last admission 7pm)

Getting on your bike and feeling the wind in your hair is an amazing way to explore the great outdoors. Use some pedal power and enjoy a rare chance to cycle around the Water Garden at Studley Royal and the ruins of Fountains Abbey on this fun family bike ride. A single circuit is about 2.5 miles or for little legs there’s a handy shortcut.

Price: Free event

For more information, please call 01765 608888


12. Make a trail with sticks

The Vyne, Hampshire

Make a trail with sticks, 17 August, 12pm – 1pm

Head down to the Vyne to spend an hour creating your very own secret trail marked out with sticks. The challenge is whether someone can follow it afterwards. All that’s needed is a keen eye for detail and an enthusiasm for roaming. Afterwards why not explore the woodlands and see if you can find The Hidden Realm playground.
Booking essential.

Price: £1 (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01256 883858


13. Make a mud pie

Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters, East Sussex

Discoverer Week – 50 Things to do before you’re 11 ¾, 22 – 25 August, 11am – 3pm

The perfect recipe for a mud pie is mud and more mud! This is your chance to get really dirty at Birling Gap and become a fully-fledged discoverer. Create big creatures from what you find on the beach, make a trail out of sticks, jump over waves, and of course, make the biggest, messiest and muddiest mud pies you can possibly imagine.

Price: £2

For more information, please call 01323 423197


14. Dam a stream

Longshaw, Burbage and the Eastern Moors, Derbyshire

Head out for a day of discovery around the ancient woods and tumbling streams of Longshaw, Burbage and the Eastern Moors. Burbage Brook is just waiting to be played in. Why not try damming the brook with rocks and branches found on the water’s edge? It won’t be long until you look down and the stream has turned into a pond. After you’ve finished you can have fun smashing down the dam you’ve made and returning it to its natural state.

Price: normal admission charges apply

For more information, please call


15. Play in the snow

Snowshill Manor and Gardens, Gloucestershire

You’d be hard pushed to find snow during the summer holidays but you can visit Snowshill Manor in the Cotswolds. Play hide and seek in the winding hazel run, follow the path of the turf maze and clamber on the wooden farm animals. Take the chance to experience something that you are unlikely to find anywhere else by having a go on the modern penny-farthing and operating the model railway in reception.

Normal admission fee applies

For more information, please call 01386 852410


16. Make a daisy chain

Springhill, County Londonderry

Run wild at Springhill this summer and venture through the woodlands to discover a clearing with natural climbing frames, rope swings and dens, mystical creatures and thrones. Set your imagination free and spend hours climbing, creating, playing and exploring. Once you’re all tuckered out, Springhill is also an idyllic place to have a picture-perfect picnic and relax on the grass making daisy chains. How many daisies can you fit onto a necklace?

Price: Normal admission charges apply

For more information, please call 02886 748210


17. Set up a snail race

Trelissick, Cornwall

Race a Snail, 25 July, 1, 8, 15, 22 August, 2pm – 3.30pm

Pick a likely looking snail and with a ready, steady, go, take part in this not-so-fast and furious race to the finish. Will yours be the winner? Once the excitement of the races is over, why not explore Trelissick’s twisting, hidden paths and play hide and seek through the woodland garden.

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01872 862090


18. Create some wild art

Croome, Worcestershire

Wild art activity day, 26 August, timed sessions between 11am and 3pm

Set your imagination free and go in search of materials that vary in colour and texture from around the rolling parkland at Croome. Create a clay animal with objects found in the park or make a seed bomb to help spread wildflowers around the country. Once you’ve worked up an appetite why not find a sunny spot in the park for a tasty picnic and a game of tag.

Price: £2 per person (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01905 371006


19. Play pooh sticks

Borrowdale and Derwent Water, Cumbria

If you like the thrill of a good old fashioned game of Pooh Sticks then this is definitely the activity for you. Your first task is to find a winning stick. Will it be big, small, thick or thin? Once you’ve chosen suitably head to Ashness Bridge where you can marvel at the amazing views across Derwent Water before the race begins. Simply drop your sticks into the flowing water and see who wins.

For more information, please call 020 8545 6850


20. Jump over waves

Embleton and Newton Links, Northumberland

Beach Fun Day, 23 July, 10.30am – 1.30pm

Spend a fun filled day at the beach with National Trust rangers catching crabs, holding scary beasts, checking out all the crazy creatures in the rock pools and jumping over waves. All waves are great fun to jump over, but especially the big ones. How high can you jump?

Price: Free event

For more information, please call 01665 576 874


National Tust 1

21. Pick blackberries growing in the wild

Hatfield Forest, Essex

Family Bushcraft and Tracking Day, 22 August, 10.15am – 3pm

Could you survive in the wild with only the bare necessities? At this family bushcraft day you’ll learn all the basics to wild survival. Try your hand at building a shelter using only what you find on the forest floor and lighting a fire to keep warm. You’ll also learn how to collect clean drinking water and how to forage for food. If the summer sun has worked its magic there’ll be plenty of blackberries ripe for the picking too.

Price: £15

For more information, please call 01279 870678


22. Explore inside a tree

Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire

It’s time to have a go at number 22 of your ’50 things’ list and climb into one of the amazing hollow tree trunks at Dyrham Park, near Bath and Bristol. Some of the great trees at Dyrham are over 300 years old and their trunks are massive. Down by the house is a set of ancient plane trees that are perfect for climbing inside. Just remember, there could be a big black crow lurking inside who might be surprised to see you. Lots of beetles live inside hollow trees eating the rotting wood. Look closely and you’ll see their burrowing holes.

Price: Free (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 0117 937 2501


23. Visit a farm

Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

Farms are some of the best places to get up close and personal with some new furry friends. Wimpole is a unique working estate, with an impressive mansion at its heart. At Home Farm, you can explore the traditional farmyard with the noisy modern piggery, cattle sheds and some rare bread animals. Have a go at becoming a young farmer when you visit and try your hand at grooming the donkeys, drive a mini tractor or see how you get on at milking.

Price: Free (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01223 206000


24. Go on a walk barefoot

Godolphin, Cornwall

Barefoot Festival, 21 August, 10am – 4pm

Do you have ticklish feet? Feel the grass between your toes as you join in with the barefoot festivities at Godolphin. Enjoy a feast of textures for the feet on the specially-made barefoot trail of wood, mud, stone, slate and fabric, and have a go at yoga, Tai Chi, arts and crafts all with your socks off. There’ll even be barefoot professionals to explain the benefits of life without shoes.

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01736 763194


25. Make a grass trumpet

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire

With 2,500 acres of parkland, woodland, wetland and farmland to explore, you’ll never be bored on an adventure around Hardwick estate. Hunt amongst the long grass for the perfect blade to use as a grass trumpet. For a strong sound simply find a big thick blade, pop it between your thumbs and give a long blow.

Price: Free (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01246 850430


26. Hunt for fossils and bones

Golden Cap, Dorset

The Jurassic Coast is famous for its fossils and Charmouth beach, part of the Golden Cap estate, is a great starting place. You never know what other treasure you might find if you dig around. Remember, fossils can be found anywhere: they could be buried deep in the ground beneath where you’re standing at this very moment!



27. Go star gazing

Mottistone Gardens, Isle of Wight

Night Life, 31 August, 7pm – 10pm

Spend an evening at Mottistone Gardens discovering what life appears at night. Knowledgeable National Trust volunteers will be on hand to help you map the stars in the sky as they start to twinkle. Try your hand at moth trapping, bat detecting and identifying birds from their calls, and go on a dusky walk to learn all about hedgehog rescue.

Price: £5

For more information, please call 01983 741020


28. Climb a huge hill

Sugarloaf and Usk Valley, Monmouthshire

If you want to climb a really huge hill then the Sugarloaf is a great place to start. Technically a mountain, it stands at a whopping 596m above sea level and from the top you can see right across the Brecon Beacons and even into south-west England.

For more information, please call 01874 625515


29. Explore a cave

Brimham Rocks, North Yorkshire

Discover Climbing, 6 August, 10am – 4pm

Try your hand at climbing on these 320 million year old rock formations at Brimham. Instructors from Harrogate Climbing Centre will be guiding the session to help everyone find their footing and try top-roping on a couple of routes. After the session you can explore the labyrinth of paths through this unique landscape and all the nooks and crannies in the rocks.

Suitable for everyone aged 7+.

Price: £7 per person (booking essential)

For more information, please call 01423 780688


30. Hold a scary beast

Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Wild Week – Brilliant Bugs, 22 – 23 August, 12pm – 4pm

Visit Dunham Massey during Wild Week to bravely complete one of the creepiest, crawliest ‘50 things’ activities. You may think beetles and slugs and spiders are scary to hold, but they’re probably more afraid of you. See if you can get up close to one and learn more about it. Be sure to handle it with care, they may look tough but they bruise easily.

Limited availability, collect a timed token from visitor reception on the day.

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 0161 941 1025

National Trust 4


31. Hunt for bugs

Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire

Bug hunting – Summer Holiday Workshops, 27 & 28 July, 10 & 11 August, 11am – 3pm

What’s the creepiest crawly you can find at Woolsthorpe Manor? Become a true wild explorer and lift rocks, dig in the mud and hunt in the bark of fallen trees to find bugs and beetles, spiders and slugs galore.

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01476 862823



32. Find some frogspawn or frogs

Downhill Demesne, County Londonderry

It may be bit late in the year to find frogspawn but there’s sure to be some frogs hopping around. Frogspawn looks like thick jelly laid in clumps and normally appears in ponds and slow-moving streams in March but the timing can vary a lot depending on the weather. Toad spawn looks similar but is laid in long chains. If you’re too late to see frogspawn never fear – tadpoles will appear around one month later and are just as much fun to watch.

Price: Free (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 028 7084 8728


33. Catch a falling leaf

Knole, Kent

Family Monday – Wild art and wood, 8 August, 11am – 3pm

Take inspiration from Knole’s ancient parkland and have a go at creating some beautiful wild art this summer. Explore the park to find natural materials to make a flag, get involved with leaf printing and finger painting, watch wood-turning with the expert bodgers and discover the folklore behind the Green Man. Why not try catching a falling leaf to use in your art? It’s harder than you think especially in the summer months, but worth it if you succeed.

Price: Free event, donations welcome

For more information, please call 01732 462100


34. Track wild animals

Sheringham Park, Norfolk

Adder Adventure, 16 August, 10.30am – 12.30pm, 23 August, 10.30am – 2.30pm

Join the team as they go in search of Britain’s only venomous snake – the adder. Listen to a fascinating talk about British reptiles from Sheringham’s learning officer, before heading off into the park to seek them out. Adders are very shy, but luckily we know some of their favourite places to hide.

Price: £2.75 (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01263 820550


35. Discover what’s in a pond

Souter Lighthouse and The Leas, Tyne & Wear

50 Things Activity Day, 27 July, 10, 17, 23 August, 11am – 4pm

What will you find in the pond? Murky pond water is full of life, so dip into the hidden world beneath the surface and discover something new. Don’t forget to explore the lighthouse while you’re there. Climb the 76 steps to the top of the tower to take in the amazing views.

Meet in Foghorn Field.

Price: Small charge for some activities

For more information, please call 0191 5290909


36. Make a home for a wild animal

Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant, Conwy

50 things fun day, 19 August, 11am – 4pm

Head down to Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant to complete some ‘50 things’ activities against the backdrop of beautiful Welsh countryside. You could try making a bug hotel out of twigs and stones, a hedgehog house or even a little bird box. All sorts of animals need homes to live in so get creative. Afterwards have a go at planting a seed to grow tasty vegetables, and see if you can find the special animal puzzle trails through the woodlands.

Price: Free event

For more information, please call 01690 713323


37. Check out the creatures in a rock pool

Strangford Lough, Co. Down

Rock Pool Extravaganza, 13 August, 11am – 1pm

Young wildlife enthusiasts will love this day out at the magical Kearney Village on the Outer Ards Peninsula. Discover the amazing creatures lurking beneath the seaweed and slithering through the pools. You’re sure to come away with lots of watery wildlife facts. Check out the rest of the lough while you’re there and see if you can spot some red squirrels, seals and sea birds.

Price: £3

For more information, please call (028) 4278 7769


38. Bring up a butterfly

Heddon Valley, Devon

Family Butterfly Trail, 20 July – 31 August, 10.30am – 4pm

The Heddon Valley attracts hundreds of butterflies in the summer months. To celebrate them National Trust volunteers have created a fun family trail through the valley. Why not stop for a while and sit in the meadow and draw one?

Price: £1

For more information, please call 01598 763402


39. Catch a crab

Embleton and Newton Links, Northumberland

Rockpool Ramble, 22 August, 11am – 2pm

Join the rangers on a hunt for starfish, sea anemones and crabs – with the right bait and a piece of string, it’s easier than you think to catch one. Hang out afterwards with a picnic at Embleton Bay: with the backdrop of Dunstanburgh Castle for inspiration this fine sandy beach has everything you need to create the perfect sand castle.

Price: Free event

For more information, please call 01665 576 874


40. Go on a nature walk at night

Dunstable Downs and the Whipsnade Estate, Bedfordshire

Glow Worm Walk, 23 & 30 July, 10:15pm – midnight

Explore Sharpenhoe Clappers at night with the National Trust ranger team and learn more about some amazing residents of the estate, the glow worms. Prepare to be dazzled by these incredible creatures as they illuminate the countryside. Just remember to pop on some comfortable boots and bring a torch, it can get pretty dark on the Downs.

Price: £4 (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01582 500920

National Trust Banner

41. Plant it, grow it, eat it

Stowe, Buckinghamshire

Wild Wednesday: Plant it, grow it, eat it, 10 August, 10.30am – 12pm

Stowe is getting pretty wild this summer, so why not get your hands dirty too? The team will be on hand to help you plant your very own cress seeds in the shape of a creepy-crawly caterpillar. Simply decorate your caterpillar, plant the seeds and watch them grow at home ready for summer picnics. While you’re there make sure you explore this magical park with its mystical temples and huge lake. Head to the Farmhouse Kitchen Garden to get inspiration for your next growing project.

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply), booking essential

For more information, please call 0844 249 1895



42. Go swimming in the sea

Porthor, Gwynedd 

Come rain or shine, the Llyn Peninsula is a dazzling jewel of a place with sparkling seas, sandy beaches and vast skies. Create some wild art, go for a swim in the sea and check out the crazy creatures in the rock pools. Porthor even has whistling sand!

For more information, please call 01758 760469


43. Build a raft

Wray Castle, Cumbria

Mini Raft Building, 11 & 13 August, 10.30am – 12.30pm, 1.30pm – 3.30pm

Ready for voyage? Try not to get your feet wet! Head to Wray Castle and create your own natural mini raft ready for a mini regatta on Lake Windermere, hosted by the rangers. Whose raft will ride the crest of the waves, and whose will sink into the murky deep? There’s only one way to find out…

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 015394 33250


44. Go bird watching

Carrick-a-Rede, Co. Antrim

Go Wild with the rangers, 29 July, 10am – 12pm

Join National Trust rangers at Carrick-a-Rede for a morning of fun and adventures in nature. See what you can find while fossil hunting at Larrybane Quarry then cross the rope bridge for bird spotting on Carrick-a-Rede Island. Remember to keep as quiet as a mouse so you can hear the bird’s songs clearly.

Price: Free event, booking essential

For more information, please call 028 2073 3419


45. Find your way with a map and compass

Branscombe, Devon

Treasure hunt, 5 August, 1pm – 3pm

If you’d like to plan your own adventures and step into the great outdoors with confidence then you’ll need to know how to use a map and compass first. You’ll never get lost if you can use these trusty tools. Join the rangers at Branscombe and see if you can use a map and compass to find the hidden treasure.

Price: Free event

For more information, please call 01297 680507


46. Try rock climbing

Hadrian’s Wall and Housesteads Fort, Northumberland

Outdoor Climbing Adventure, 24 July, 10am – 1pm, 1.30pm – 4.30pm

Scale Crag Lough, right below the atmospheric Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site. You’ll get an introduction to movement skills, harnesses, belaying and climbing calls. You will also get a chance to do some bouldering and bottom rope climbing, as well as learning to tie a figure of eight knot. Keep your eyes peeled for some big cracks and places to get a good grip on the rocks.

Booking essential – suitable for ages 8+

Price: £15

For more information, please call 0844 249 1895


47. Cook on a campfire

Dudmaston, Shropshire

‘50 things’ Woodland Camp, 23 – 24 July, 10am – 10am

Pack your tent and your sleeping bag and head to Dudmaston for an adventure in the great outdoors. There’s no kitchen in the woodland but that’s no reason to miss dinner. You’ll learn a range of bushcraft skills including how to light and cook on an open fire. There’ll be time for stories around the campfire before bedtime, and you’ll wake up the next morning to the sweet sound of song birds and the rustle of wind in the trees. You’re guaranteed to leave with a smile on your face and the smell of wood smoke in your hair.

Price: Adult: £45, Child: £25, Family (2 adult, 2 children) £120. Booking essential

For more information, please call 01746 780866


48. Ride a horse

Ashridge, Hertfordshire

Summer weekend pony rides, every weekend July & August, 10am – 1pm, 2pm – 5pm, short sessions (10 – 15 minutes)

Give your summer holiday a kick-start and get up in the saddle for a short ride on Ashridge’s very own ponies. You’ll get to see the world from a whole new perspective and see if you could one day be a winning jockey!

Please wear suitable shoes and clothing for the weather.

Price: £3

For more information, please call 01442 851227


49. Find a geocache

Penrhyn Castle, Gwynedd

Wild nature: Find the way, 25 July, 11am – 4pm

Adventure, perils and treasures: only the most skilled and daring explorers will venture to Penrhyn Castle for a day of maps, compasses, stick trails and kites. Try your hand at treasure hunting and borrow a GPS device for the afternoon. Geocaching is about finding caches that have been hidden by other geocachers – some include small toys and trinkets. Bring something with you to swap for something in the cache.

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01248 353 084


50. Canoe down a river

East Soar, Devon

Discover the secrets of the Salcombe estuary on a canoeing quest with Singing Paddles. Book a taster session or day trip and explore hidden coves, shipwrecks and a shore buzzing with wildlife – all without ever having to leave your canoe. What will you discover?

Price: varies depending on session

For more information, please call 0775 442 6633 or email


So, that’s the summer holiday sorted thanks to The National Trust! Make sure you tag us in your photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and use the hashtag #50things to join the conversation about how important it is to get young people out into the great outdoors. 

The Trust cares for hundreds of places that are perfect for families to enjoy this summer, from barefoot walking trails in Cornwall to wild camping spots in Cumbria. Every visit can forge new connections with nature and help the conservation charity continue to protect these places for future generations to enjoy. So get out there over the summer holidays and tick all of these off your list!



News | National Volunteers Week profiles

National Volunteers Week runs from June 1-12, and is an excellent opportunity to say an enormous thank you to hardworking Scouts volunteers around the country.

Over 115,000 adults volunteer with Scouting every week, running activities and supporting other adults, in a wide variety of different sorts of voluntary roles. To celebrate the achievements of our volunteers, we’ve profiled 12 Scouts volunteers who go the extra mile in their community.

Check back here over the next 12 days to see each profile.


Ben – Young Leader

Volunteersweek Ben Twitter

Ben is 14, and is training to be a Young Leader, as well as working towards his Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. He regularly volunteers with Scouts, as well in the wider community – delivering meals to older people, picking up litter in the local area, and helping run Tae Kwon Do classes for children.

‘I have been gaining experience as a Young Leader at my Group. The younger members realty look up to us, so it is very nice to give back what I received when I was Cub and Scout,’ Ben says. ‘I like volunteering because I want the people of the next generation to experience what I have already experienced.’


Waqar Sheikh – Muslim Scout Fellowship volunteer

 Volunteeers Week Waqar Twitter

Waqar is a member of the Muslim Scout Fellowship (MSF), having become involved after many years of volunteering with Scouts. He was invited to join the MSF executive committee, where he was able to make a real impact in his community.

‘I take the lead on the training courses that MSF holds (along with an awesome team). We never stop with just one role: the passion always gets us involved in other projects. So we’re almost always very busy!’ Waqar says. ‘Over the years Scouting has become a passion, and everyone in the teams I work across is always seen as family. So I am in the very lucky position to do what I love, with people I enjoy being around!’


Chris Hollyoake – District Commissioner

Volunteersweek Chris Hollyoake Twitter 

Chris Hollyoake has been District Commissioner for Tamworth, West Midlands, for just over a year. Groups in the District needed more Programme support for adventurous activities, prompting Chris to encourage more local leaders to gain their permits. There are now 28 qualified archery instructors in the District, compared with two just a year ago.

‘Being DC can be very busy at times. From the start I was very clear that I could not do everything. If you have a team around you that share the load, it keeps it fun,’ Chris says. ‘We are putting into place activities, events and support to provide some amazing Scouting experiences to our youth members.’


Helen Woolgar – Cub Scout Leader

 Volunteersweek Helen Woolgar Twitter 1

Helen is a Cub Leader and busy mum of two. She juggles her day job with volunteering and childcare, and also manages an online shop, where she sells her artwork. She had fond memories of being involved with Scouting growing up, and wanted her children to experience the fun and adventure for themselves.

‘Initially I volunteered to look after the badge records at my son’s Cub Pack, but soon became much more involved,’ Helen explains. ‘I really enjoy watching the young people grow in confidence as they try new activities. The highlight for me is going on camp with the Pack. All the Cubs’ personalities really shine through, and the best fun is had!’


Paula Davidson – YUF volunteer

Volunteersweek Paula Davidson Twitter 1

Scout Leader Paula has been volunteering for the past year at the new 21st Birkenhead Scout section, set up with support from Youth United Foundation grant. This project has provided Scouting to young people who would not normally be able to access it.

‘I’m aware of the positive impact that groups like ours can have on local communities,’ Paula says. ‘Last week we went to our district Challenge Camp and participated for the first time. I can’t quite put into words how proud I felt when the Scouts went up to get their certificates – seeing the capable young adults they’re becoming is absolutely what keeps me coming back each week.’


Steve Ledwood – Beaver Scout Leader

Volunteersweek Steven Ledwood Twitter

Steve has returned to volunteer at the Scout Group where he was a member back in the 1970s, to give his children the chance to join Scouting. Under his guidance, the Beavers at 231st Shire Green Scouts have the chance to try all sorts of activities and develop their skills and confidence.

‘In my eyes I’m reliving my memories of being a kid. I love it – it’s unreal! I’ve made a lot of friends through Scouting, and I’m making a lot of young people happy too. Scouting has made me a better person because I’m surrounded by positive people. We call it a family.’


Kieron Moir – Trustee

Volunteersweek Kieron Moir Twitter 1

Keiron Moir is a UK trustee for The Scout Association. This voluntary role involves debating key decisions about the future of the Movement. Kieron sits on the Nominations and Appointments committees, making sure that other national volunteer roles are fair, balanced and reflective of our membership.

‘I wanted to become a trustee because I think if you want to make a difference to something you really care about, it certainly doesn’t hurt to be in the room when key decisions are made,’ Kieron says. ‘For me, being inclusive and open to people from all backgrounds, whatever their difference, is vital to our development as a Movement.’


Jane Godden – Explorer Scout Leader

Volunteersweek Jane Godden Twitter

Jane became involved in Scouting in the 1980s. She teaches in a Muslim faith school, and has opened a thriving new Scout Group within the school. She has been working closely with an all-female Andalusia Academy Explorer Unit, and recently took them on their first ever camp.

‘It’s been a slow process, because we’ve had to fit Scouting into the school’s ethos. We’ve been opening the [Explorer] girls’ eyes to new opportunities, which they’re allowed to do because it’s through school and within their cultural environment,’ Jane says. ‘The girls are ambitious and enthusiastic to become Young Leaders. Even after being in Scouting for 20+ years, it still feels new and exciting!’


James Hurrell – Group Scout Leader

 Volunteersweek James Hurrell Twitter

As Group Scout Leader, James has been rebuilding 17th Warrington East after a decline in leaders and youth members. By forging links with other organisations in the local community, he’s secured support and funding for the Group, and organised volunteering opportunities for the young people he supports through Scouting.

‘I got back involved in Scouting when my eldest child joined Beavers. I got an awful lot out of Scouting as a youngster, and always wanted my children to benefit from it,’ James says. ‘I was determined that I wanted to be visibly supporting my children in Scouting so I volunteered as an Assistant Cub Leader. The rest is history!’


Do you know an inspirational volunteer? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and use the hashtag #volunteersweek. 

Want to get involved? Volunteering with Scouting is incredibly rewarding. Find out more and join the Scouting family!

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