UK Scouting has experienced its biggest growth spurt since 1972, taking total membership to 499,323.
Census results, released today, show 16,568 new adult and youth members in the UK since 31 January 2009. This is 3.45 per cent up on last year (2009: 482,448).
This impressive surge in membership – the fifth consecutive year of growth – has helped cement Scouting’s position as the largest co-educational youth Movement in the country.
This national growth is mirrored by similar growth in northeast Wales, clearly good news for groups in this area.
What surprises me is that I gather that the biggest part of this growth comes from teenagers joining scouts. This flies in the face of the common stereotype of the “teen layabout”. One explanation is that, as schools and other groups withdraw from “risky” outdoor activities, Scouting continues to provide these activities as part of its core programme, making the movement increasingly attractive.