New image for Scouts

Scouts New Zealand has begun sprucing up its image in a bid to recruit new leaders and children after a recent head count found nationwide membership had dropped by 52% in the past 15 years.

Lower South Island regional development manager Kevin McRae said Scout numbers had dropped from about 25,000 in 1993 to 13,000 in mid-2008.

"We suspect that it was because there are so many other activities in the community to compete against. We also suspect that schools may have begun doing the outdoor stuff that we've always been good at.

"And I also think we were in a stage where we weren't so cool - we weren't popular amongst young people."

However, Scout numbers were starting to rise again and many group managers were finding they did not have enough leaders to cope with the increasing demand.

"There are about five or six Scout groups in Otago which don't have enough leaders and kids are being put on waiting lists while we try to recruit more [leaders]," Mr McRae said.

While the organisation had rebranded itself with the byline "Adventure Plus", it has also begun providing community Scout groups with more flexible means for adult training.

Mr McRae said the exciting programme of activities was enhanced by a new award scheme structure and an emphasis on new experiences.


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