Discover GPS in a Nutshell

Get to know the Guide to Youth Programme in Scouting! The GPS is designed to support National Scout Organisations to create a new or review an existing Youth Programme. It’s an invitation to NSO’s Leadership to have a continuous approach and motivation to improve their educational offer, as a response to the needs and aspirations of young people and the challenges in our contemporary society. Discover and learn about the three major phases of the GPS and more about how to use this platform!


The Guide to Programme in Scouting (GPS) is designed to support National Scout Organisations (NSOs) to create a new or review and update an existing youth programme. It’s an invitation to NSO’s Leadership to have a continuous approach and motivation to improve their educational offer, as a response to the needs and aspirations of young people and the challenges in our contemporary society.

Three major phases 

The GPS is a methodology composed by 8 steps (presented below) that are not part of a linear process. Each step interacts with the others and can be grouped into three major phases:

Phase 1 – Setting goals  (steps 1, 2 and 3)

Phase 2 – Organising age sections  (steps 4 and 5)

Phase 3 – Making the system work (steps 6, 7 and 8)

Setting goals

This phase involves the whole NSO in an extensive debate at all levels to obtain a broad consensus and the commitment of all leaders to the NSO’s fundamental raison d’être: its Educational Proposal and the general objectives it proposes.

Organising age sections 

In this phase, the different stages of development of children and young people, in a given society at a specific moment in time, are analysed, to identify the age ranges that your NSO will take into account when determining its system of age sections and the progression from one section to another.

Making the system work

This phase aims to find ways in which the final educational competencies can be reached while respecting young people’s interests at different ages. It is necessary to identify learning opportunities that correspond to the educational competencies chosen; adapt the overall Scout Method to each age range, thus creating the section methods; and develop a personal progressive scheme.

Based on Scouting’s Educational Approach, the eight steps can be described as follows:

  1. Define an Educational Proposal for your NSO, which will present your educational intention both internally and externally and guide the development of your Youth Programme.
  2. Determine the areas of personal growth, taking into account all dimensions of the young person.
  3. Establish the final educational competencies, expressing concretely for each one of the areas of personal growth the desirable profile at the time the young person completes their educational journey and departs from the Scout Movement.
  4. Define the corresponding age sections to your NSO’s Youth Programme, based on the analysis of the different stages of development of children and young people.
  5. Establish the section educational competencies for each of the age sections, according to a coherent progression.
  6. Develop learning opportunities that will allow young people to achieve intermediate objectives or competencies.
  7. Adapt the Scout Method to the characteristics of each age section.
  8. Build a system of personal progression for each of the age sections, a system that helps young people identify the challenges to overcome in their growth process and motivates them to progress.

We can understand GPS as an umbrella, comprising interrelated and interdependent elements on a delivery platform.

  • Concept Documents 

The concept documents provide the information and frameworks to help National Youth Programme Teams to develop a Youth Programme.

  • Toolbox

The toolbox is made up of tools to help further appreciate the information and framework in the concept documents as well as tools for the development and implementation of a Youth Programme

  • Best Practices 

Sharing the experience of NSOs that have undertaken the renewing, implementation and evaluation of the Youth Programme process and the resources produced along the way.

  • Communities of Practice

The Online Communities of Practice is a space where the Youth Programme teams and Adult Leaders can share their experience and views, seek for support and discover the repository of relevant documents and tools that can be used, modified and reviewed.


Link to the WOSM Services

The Youth Programme is one of the 13 services provided where support for developing, reviewing and implementing a Youth Programme is provided. In this platform the NSAs can ask for direct support from a consultant who will help the national team to implement all the changes they need.

Like any positioning system, the GPS’s symbolic framework will help you to navigate throughout this document and to  easily find the content that you’re looking for to develop your Youth Programme aligned with the WSYP Policy.


The biggest challenge facing an educational movement like ours is to maintain its relevance and attractiveness. The GPS proposes a systematic approach to meet this challenge. The GPS will guide you on that journey.


Have young people at the centre of the journey. Scouting is education for life. In the World Scout Youth Involvement Policy young people are described as “active citizens who are contributing to resolving the challenges communities are facing today’”.  As young people in Scouting are the main agents of their own development, it follows that young people must play a significant role in the development of the NSO’s Youth Programme, a programme that is based on their needs and aspirations. Without this focus there is the danger that updates to an NSO’s Youth Programme might be derived from the interests and spontaneous impulses of certain institutional leaders, instead of the systematic and reflective action of an NSO.


Follow WOSM standards and align with World Policies for the Unity of the movement. The biggest challenge facing an educational movement like ours is to maintain its validity, and its quality. The WSYP Policy defines programme development as: “the process of regularly reappraising and adjusting the Youth Programme of an NSO to suit the changing needs and aspirations of young people in society and thus, improve its quality”. Regular and systematic programme development ensures the Youth Programme remains up-to-date and in tune with the interests of young people, while remaining faithful to the fundamentals of Scouting, which are timeless and universal. This reflects the unity of Scouting.


On the spot, looking for the essentials. The WSYP policy defines our Youth Programme as “the totality of the learning opportunities from which young people can benefit (What), created to achieve the purpose of Scouting (Why), and experienced through the Scout method (How)”. By exploring the essential content that the GPS provides, your NSO will be prepared to offer a relevant Youth Programme that will prepare young people not to live in a specific way but to offer opportunities for them to develop competencies that allow them to understand an increasing speed and complex world.


Look further and deeper. Using the GPS as a guide to develop your NSO’s  Youth Programme provides a process framework for you to follow.  The value of this will become more evident as you begin to work through the complexity of the process. It is likely that the National Programme Team, unless expert in the field, will need to look deeper into some of the topics, to understand better how to answer the needs of your NSO and your members. The GPS approach will allow your NSO to navigate from essential to more complex content, to fully understand the educational component in each one of the steps in order to make informed decisions.


Cross bridges to find inspirational examples and connect with others NSOs.   The process of Youth Programme development is complex but when we’re open to learning from others, we benefit from their experience as well as our own. This provides an opportunity to those embarking on the process of programme development to learn from the experience of others who are further along or have already completed the process. Scouting is a global movement. Many NSOs have already completed this process, and a Scout is always happy to offer a helping hand.


Look for tools and different ways to go. 

The cultural and societal reality of NSOs will differ but there is value in examining the tools developed or the approach already adopted by others in renewing their Youth Programme. The process itself will require the ability to transform the educational concepts and principles into a concrete Youth Programme that can be implemented at the gross level. To support the National Programme Teams in their mission, the GPS offers practical tools designed to guide and support your NSO along the way to find the best options to answer your specific needs and reality.


Engage experts and others in your journey. Creating educational content is a complex process particularly as we aim to help young people at various stages of development achieve competencies in values as well as knowledge and skills. In Scouting we know the value of working as a team, drawing on the strength of its diversity. There are many opportunities to improve our understanding and our outputs when we involve experts and others in our process. In the overall development of the Youth Programme, the National Programme Team makes the decisions, but it should not be in isolation. The quality is enhanced by the guidance and advice of experts and other stakeholders in the area of education, of local leaders, and of  young people.


Prepare for the journey.  As for any other big and important journey, preparation is essential before you start. Every process of renewal or evaluation requires a strong motivation to improve something that already exists or something that needs to be developed from the beginning. It will be helpful to see what challenges others NSOs have faced, to revisit the content of the main resources that will support you along the way, to decide who will be responsible to carry out the process and how to bring others on board or to reach out for external expertise when you’re envisioning how the process can be developed.


Find the best way to navigate and review the Youth Programme. The GPS sets out the process of Programme Development in three phases: Setting Goals, Organising Age Sections, and Making the System Work.  Within each of these phases there are a number of stages and methodologies suggested to each. It’s worth considering at the beginning your best path to navigate this journey and to ask for support through the WOSM Service. The level of support and guidance will be tailored to your NSO’s needs and may be given in various stages.


Define a strategy to reach your goal in designing your Youth Programme. A good strategy provides a clear roadmap, consisting of a set of guiding principles or rules to achieve desired goals. It is a procedure by which something is achieved, in this case, the design of your Youth Programme. In Scouting our Mission is our destination and our Youth Programme is our roadmap.  For a successful result, your NSO will have to decide who will be responsible for what parts, when to involve them, what the time scale to use, what different methodologies will be appropriate, and how they will be chosen.


Implement at the pace of the NSO itself. The structure of an NSO, and the decision-making procedures in place will have an impact when defining priorities and deadlines to implement the new Youth Programme. Ultimately the Programme Commissioner is likely to be responsible, but there may be other local considerations that will also impact your timeline.  Be realistic and consider all the possibilities in terms of human resources at all levels in your NSO and be ready to re-assess and evaluate if necessary when you begin to progress through the implementation process. The support available through WOSM Services will assist your NSO to adapt a realistic strategy for implementation.

Define monitoring and evaluation procedures. All processes need a way of systematically measuring and assessing the implementation results and your NSO’s Youth Programme is no different. Their purpose is to check the progress of your Youth Programme’s implementation process at the grass root level (adult’s training, supporting resources) and to help your NSO to evaluate the impact of the new Youth Programme’s content (new age sections, new personal progressive scheme) among young people and adult leaders. This is essential to understand what kind of support or adaptation will be needed for the process to be successfully implemented.

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