Since its foundation, Scouting has been a non-formal educational movement. The Scout Programme is the procedure through which our Movement implements its educational purpose.

 Robert Baden-Powell (B-P) stated the elements of the programme in Scouting for Boys, first published in 1908, and updated in every single edition in the following 15 years. Reading it, we can find an explanation of What, How, and Why we are doing all that we are now doing in Scouting.

The exceptionality of B-P’s intuition is that Scouting’s educational model was conceived with the elements of what cognitive science says today on how humans learn. Scouting’s education is focused on the development of life skills – the character elements that recent research in Education, Psychology, and Economics has called ‘personality trails’, ‘executive functions’, or ‘non-cognitive skills’, which have been proven to be fundamental for learning and life success.

More than 100 years later, while the educational purpose of our Movement’s essential characteristics lives on, the needs of young people and the methods of delivery have changed. There is a need for a general framework that unites Scouts around the globe, a framework which transcends different cultures and conditions, which will withstand the test of time. The World Scout Youth1 Programme Policy sets out the common elements of Scouting education that a National Scout Organisation (NSO)2 should implement according to its own circumstances, sharing the same concept of Scouting as education for life with Scouts all over the world.

World Scout Youth Programme Policy. World Scout Bureau Inc. Feb 2015.


The educational purpose of Scouting has always been pursued through the Youth Programme, with adult training (e.g. the Wood badge) established to prepare adults to facilitate the delivery of the Programme.

The concept of the Youth Programme in Scouting, as we know it today, has only evolved relatively recently. The Programme was originally perceived as a fixed set of activities: designed by B-P and published in Scouting for Boys. Over time, Scouting’s programmes began to evolve, and many World Scout Conferences fleshed out programme details to maintain the unity of the Youth Programme around the world.

In 1990, the 32nd World Scout Conference in Paris adopted the first version of the World Scout Youth Programme Policy4 based on the idea that the Youth Programme is not something to be defined once and for all, but that it should be adapted to the needs and aspirations of the young people of each generation in each country.

This second version of the Policy aims to find a way in a fast moving world to unite Scouts all over the world around the main core elements that match the diverse cultures and needs of young people.