The Swiss Guide and Scout Movement has a federal structure, just like the Swiss state. It consists of the local level, the regional/cantonal level and the national level. Switzerland is a federal state. This means there is no central state administering the cantons, the cantons are mostly independent states, united only to share resources for interacting with the rest of the world. This is also true for the Swiss Guide and Scout Movement.
Local Scout and Guide groups are the foundation of the Swiss Guide and Scout Movement. They organize the activities for their sections and interact with participant’s parents, the local community and do public relations on a local level.
Regional / cantonal level
The cantonal association has the main role in organising Scouting and Guiding in Switzerland. The canton ensures that the educational principles of Scouting and Guiding are applied in the local groups. It serves as the main link between all divisions of the Swiss Guide and Scout Movement in the canton and coordinates all actions of common interest. The cantonal association is also responsible to promote Scouting and Guiding in all regions of the canton. One very important task of the cantonal association is to organize the training courses a Scout and Guide leader attends in their Scouting and Guiding career.
The national level of the Swiss Guide and Scout Movement develops the national strategy, maintains relations with other national Scout and Guide organizations and interacts with other non-Scout or Guide organizations. Different working groups called commissions work on the program for the different branches set the goals for training courses and ensure the coaching system which is in place for all local groups. They also take care of the public relations, finances and legal aspects of Scouting and Guiding in Switzerland. Large projects like national camps are also organized by project groups of the national level.
Bodies of the federal level
In total more than 200 volunteers are working on the national level as well as around 15 paid staff who work in the national office in Bern.
The national level is composed of three main bodies:
- The delegate’s assembly and federal conference, representing the cantons and regions. The cantonal/regional leaders constitute the federal conference. Each canton can send delegates to the delegate’s assembly, depending on its number of members. Important decisions for the future of Scouting and Guiding in Switzerland are taken by the delegate’s assembly or federal conference, such as approving the annual report, voting on budgets and electing the board.
- The national board composed of seven members. It takes care of the strategic leadership of the Swiss Guide and Scout Movement. There will always be a male and female co-chair of the board.
- The executive committee, responsible for the operative leadership of the Swiss Guide and Scout Movement. It consists of the four leaders of the core pillars (programme, education and guidance, communication and support) and the managing director.
If possible in terms of human resources, many positions are staffed with both a female and male representative.