Initially, the only certain thing that the young people have in common is their desire to take part in activities. Through appropriately designed activities, each young person comes to realize that many of the experiences are only possible through a collective effort and so they have to organise themselves as a group (both within the teams and as a Scout unit). Thus, the fact of needing to cooperate stimulates each person to play his or her part in making their experiences possible and enjoyable through developing and using his or her talents and skills.

Through taking part in this process with a small group of people on a regular basis, they get to know each other with their strengths and weaknesses and a bond is created between them. This bond is important for several reasons:
  • It contributes to a young person’s emotional development through providing a sense of belonging, a feeling of being appreciated and through providing the basis for the kind of close friendships that young people may have difficulty in developing elsewhere.

  • A close-knit group provides a stimulating atmosphere in which each young person makes more of an effort to gain the skills and experience needed for their activities and life together. The greater the skills, talents and experience the young people are able to pool as a team, the more opportunities are opened up for challenging and meaningful experiences - for the group and for each person.

  • This bond helps the young person to develop a deeper understanding of the meaning of responsibility and solidarity. Initially, a young person may carry out a task, turn up at a rendezvous or help out another member because it is part of the “rules of the game”. When the young people grow to care about each other, the young person will carry out a task because he or she knows that the others are counting on him or her and does not want to let them down.

  • The young person who seeks the approval of peers observes the group’s reactions to his or her attitudes and behaviour, and thus provides a mirror effect. He or she can thus be encouraged to develop a greater self-awareness, often resulting in a change of attitude and behaviour. For example, the timid are encouraged to develop greater assertiveness; the “bossy” are made to sense the need to leave room for others.