Explorer Scouts are young people, usually aged between 14 and 18 years old. There is flexibility in the ages so that you can join Explorers from 13½ or not until your 15th birthday - depending on what is right for you…

There are many different ways of being an Explorer Scout. It might be that you are part of a unit that meets weekly and is partnered with several Scout Groups; or you might be part of a specialist activity Unit that meets less frequently but only takes part in certain activities (this could be water based activities, bands, gang shows, campsites - the list is almost endless).

Not all Units meet each week, because you will often be out and about at weekends or in the holidays doing activities. There will be times when you will be busy doing other things such as exams, and being an Explorer Scout will have to fit around these.

As an Explorer Scout you may decide that you want to help with a younger section, by becoming a young leader . This may be your main Scouting commitment, or you may do this as well as being a member of another Explorer Scout Unit. All Young Leaders are members of the district Young Leader Unit.

Explorer Scouting is organised at District level, lead by the District Explorer Scout Commissioner or DESC and assisted by the District Explorer Scout Administrator or DESA. The DESC and DESA are supported by the District Executive Committee who are operationally responsible for the section, in the same way that a Group Executive Committee is responsible for the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts in the Group.

Being organised at strict level means that as an Explorer Scout, you should be able to go to any activity being run by an ESU within your district! As an Explorer Scout, you will get the chance to work with other Explorer Scouts in your District, not just your Unit. By doing this, you will get the chance to do many more activities, not just the ones your Unit organises.


Explorer Scouts take part in a 'balanced programme' . What this basically means is that over a period of time, the activities that you do as an Explorer Scout cover a range of topics which are exciting and challenging, rather than only playing football every single week.

Explorer Scouting is all about taking part rather than reaching set levels and standards. Trying new things and stretching yourself are really important. Like all of the sections within Scouting you can gain badges and awards . These are all added extras and you should be able to easily gain these - if you want - by participating in a balanced programme.


The Young Leaders (YL) Scheme has been carefully thought out to ensure that an Explorer Scout working with younger sections are given the support and training they require to develop as leaders. It is specially designed for this age group. However, it has also been designed to tie in with the new adult training scheme - part of the reason for its later publication.

The Young Leaders Scheme is based around the following modules:

A. Prepare for take off

Essential info to operate safely - e.g., Yellow Card, risk assessment and Policy, Organisation and Rules (POR)!

B. Taking the Lead

Concepts of leadership - styles of leadership, effective leadership and evaluation

C. That's the way to do it

General understanding of demonstrating and teaching skills

D. Kids behaving badly

Basic understanding of challenging behaviour

E. Game on

Basic understanding of the types and use of games in Scouting

F. Special People

Basic understanding of special needs

G. Programme Plans

Understanding planning and running a balanced programme

H. Programme Plans Plus

More advanced - planning a programme for 3 months

I. What did they say?

The importance of good communication

J. Awards and Badges

Understanding the place that Awards and Badges have in the 6-25 balanced programme

K. First Aid Masterclass

Basic First Aid

Each module in the scheme (with the exception of module K - First Aid Masterclass) is designed to take 1-2 hrs. They can therefore be delivered as stand alone modules in an evening - or a number of modules could be run on over a weekend.

At the end of each module each young leader's certificate of achievement is updated and perhaps a new one for each module can be issued for each module completed.

There are also a number of suggested projects - one of which must be completed each year.

Much more information is available in the resource Young Leaders Essentials which also offers a number of suggestions as to how a Young Leaders Unit (YLU) could be run and operate.


margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0.4em; margin-left: 0px; ">The idea behind a balanced programme is to ensure that over a set period of time (this could be a term, or six months for example) a variety of activities are put on for Explorer Scouts to take part in.

There are 8 different programme zones that Explorer Scouts should experience. These are:

  • Outdoors
  • Skills
  • Physical Recreation
  • Community Service
  • Environment
  • International
  • Relationships
  • Values

With Districts being responsible for ensuring that there is a balanced programme on offer - individual units do not always have to offer a full range of activities. Instead, some of the programme zones could be run by the district, or by an individual unit which actively invites other Explorer Scouts along.

There also needs to be a variety in the ways in which activities within the programme are carried out - to make it more exciting and different to anything else!


Membership and Participation Awards

The Moving on Award and the Membership Award are awarded when you move between sections or become a member of the Association for the first time.

Chief Scout's and Queen's Scout Awards

The Chief Scout's Platinum Award , the Chief Scout's Diamond Award and the Queen's Scout Award are the highest awards that are available in the Explorer Scout and Scout Network sections.

Activity Badges

There are a number of Activity Badges available to Explorer Scouts. These build on the requirements of the Activity Badges in the Scout Section and lead towards the requirements for National Governing Body Awards. These can be gained to show a particular interest in a specific area - you can do all of them or none of them. The choice is yours!

Staged Activity Badges

These Badges can be gained at any time from the start of Beavers until the end of Explorers - depending on your own level of interest and ability.

Group Awards

There are 3 Group Awards which can be gained by working with another group of people - this could be a local cub pack, another Explorer unit, local temple or conservation centre - the choice is yours.

Explorer Belt

The Explorer Belt is the challenge of a lifetime that is available to Explorer Scouts aged over 16 and members of the Scout Network.

It is a chance to undertake an international expedition over ten days that brings a real understanding of a different country, its people and way of life.

The Explorer Belt is often described as 'the antidote to the package holiday'. It is designed to help young people develop a real understanding of another country by travelling through that country, working as a small team to complete surprise projects, and meeting local people.

Certificate of Achievement

These are certificates that are awarded on an annual basis, usually on the anniversary of joining the movement. They can be used to record everything that you have achieved by being an Explorer Scout over the past year by participating in an active programme.

Certificates of achievement can also be used to recognise particular events - for example expeditions and projects that have been carried out.


If you have any questions about Explorer Scouting in Rotherfield please contact Mark Hughes, District Explorer Scout Commissioner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information on Explorer Scouting in general, visit the Scout UK Explorer pages, click here for the link

To see what one Explorer Scout Units does visit: www.explorerscouts.org.uk.

© 2020 Rotherfield District. Scouting images courtesy of the Scout Association
The views expressed on this website are not necessarily those of the Scout Association.

Rotherfield District