Craigalmond District Review

Craigalmond District Review

First, a warm welcome to everyone reading our 2017-18 annual review report.  As you will see, our various groups have being providing fantastic opportunities for our young people throughout the year. It has been a year of highs and lows, though. The highs are self-explanatory but the major low is that we desperately need more adult volunteers (both uniformed and non-uniformed) to be part of our fantastic team with the sole aim of ensuring that our Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers can fulfil their Scouting dreams. No experience necessary! If you are able to make a contribution, no matter how small, please let myself, the District Commissioner or any member know.

Congratulations must go to Graham Cullen, GSL at the 82nd who received the Chief Scout’s Commendation for Meritorious Conduct in recognition for his positive attitude to Scouting.

Congratulations also to Fraser Dunmore a Young Leader at the 30th who was one of 300 Queen’s Scouts being honoured by international adventurer Chief Scout, Bear Grylls, at Windsor Castle for gaining their Queen’s Scouts Awards on Sunday 22 April.  Bear was joined by Princess Beatrice of York.

On the international front, I am pleased to say we have really moved forward. More Groups are camping overseas. We have 2 patrols plus leaders at the Blair Atholl Jamborette in July for the first time in many years. Also, in 2019 we have Scouts and leaders selected for the World Scout Jamboree in the USA and an expedition to Madagascar. Concerning Youth Involvement we have appointed Katie as the Youth Involvement Commissioner and she has been working closely with the Groups to deliver the Youth Approved programme. Many sections now have their Foundation level and are working towards Bronze. We have started a District youth forum and soon they will appoint a Youth Commissioner to work in the District team.

Adult recruitment will remain a key focus for us and with increased house building in the Maybury and Kirkliston areas the demands for Scouting within the District are likely to come under significantly more pressure.

Russell Shoulder, District Chair

Beavers

Beavers practise circus skills

Circus skills

In December 2017 a Magic Show was held at Craigsbank Parish Church in Corstorphine. This was attended by almost 200 Beavers from most colonies in the district. The magician was Tricky Ricky who put on a Christmas- themed magician show, being that it was a December event! Tricky Ricky involved some of the Beavers during his performance and overall the event was a great success, feedback was that both adults and Beavers enjoyed themselves.

In April 2017 nearly 150 Beavers and adult helpers descended upon the Museum of Flight for a day of activities to gain their Air Activities badge. This included creating paper planes, going on Concorde at the museum (sadly only stationary!), learning about the history of flight and different types of plane on display from one of the museum staff. We were very fortunate with the weather considering the event was held in April with lovely sunny skies, the Beavers had lunch in groups among the displays.

Beavers with fire engine

Seeing a fire engine

Overall, the Beavers have had fantastic opportunities to broaden their horizons and learn new skills in the last year. Activities included (to name but a few):

  • A sleepover at the City Chambers
  • Learning the phonetic alphabet
  • Making pizza
  • Climbing at the Edinburgh International Climbing Centre
  • Learning circus skills
  • Camping
  • Supporting the Forth Hedgehog hospital
  • Road Safety

The leaders of each colony will be meeting in the next month to discuss and arrange district events for the coming year.

Sue Sibbald, ADC Beavers

Cubs

Last year at this time we were happily reflecting on the centenary of Cub Scouting and the hugely positive impact it had on youth numbers.  Cubs continue to be the biggest section and Increasing youth numbers are very encouraging but do bring issues around adult support too and pressure on leaders to contribute even more of their valuable time. Leaders have risen to this challenge and a very big thank you is due to all volunteers supporting Cub packs across the District, their time and effort is highly appreciated.

Cubs on spider frame

Cubs tackle spider frame

The District team (Kathleen Pullen, Niall Cockburn and Iain McBride) have been happy to roll our sleeves up and help leader teams throughout the year, supporting a number of packs to enable them to continue operating or go to camp.  This temporary support gives Groups breathing space to recruit and begin training new leaders and prevents section closure. Currently three packs are being supported in this way, allowing GSLs to focus on recruitment.

Inevitably, after the excitement of the centenary, this has been a more “business as usual” year, consolidating success. Congratulations to the 21st South Queensferry pack in winning the annual District Cub Football Competition.  and a District Cub camp in September.

Cubs at Bonaly

Awards at Bonaly

Offering more Cubs the chance of everyday adventure and now discovering Skills For Life, are The Scout Association’s unique selling points and thankfully there are positive signs of new adults joining to support established Cub leader teams in Craigalmond. Most packs operate parent rotas and the impact of these can’t be underestimated either.

Cubs in canoe

Cubs at Lochgoilhead

Numbers aren’t everything, and the District Cubs team have been bowled over by the many enthusiastic and dedicated leaders that we have met in the last twelve months, at meetings, Cub camps and events.  The quality of Scouting can only be increased by offering young people more outdoor activities, great programmes and the opportunity to influence the content through Youth Shaped Scouting.   It is great to see Cubs enjoying not only so many fun-packed programmes, exciting outings and amazing activities but also contributing to their communities, too (see the photos) – for example:

  • from swimming to rock climbing
  • from fox falls to fire lighting
  • from balsam bashing to beach clean ups
  • from electronic adventure at the Applestore to messy and fun super-Science nights
  • from visits to Warhammer to Hobbit-themed winter camps
  • camping at Canty Bay, Bonaly, Fordell, Barrwood, Meggernie and many more

It is heartening to see a steady stream of new and talented volunteers attracted to Cub Scouting to help the existing successful pack teams. Thanks are also due to a small but select band of Young Leaders who assist packs and greatly contribute to their success. Whilst there are a very small number on temporary closure, particular mention should be made of a new pack recently opened in the District, the first for a few years.

We are confident that Craigalmond Cubs will continue to grow from strength to strength and we also offer Cub leaders a challenge or three for the year ahead – go for an award in the Youth Shaped Scouting scheme, channel your Cubs towards more Chief Scout Silver Awards and (most importantly) enjoy your Scouting!

Iain MacBride, ADC Cubs, Kathleen Pullen, Ian Hunter, Niall Cockburn (DCSLs)

Scouts

Campfire - almost a bonfire!

District Camping Competition

I am extremely grateful to all the leaders who pulled the District Camping Competition together and made it possible. Special thanks must go to Jackie for leading and co-ordinating the event on top of her GSL responsibilities. They say its quality and not quantity that matter and its very true in this case.  What a great weekend it was with 12 teams entered and a large leadership support team from across the District all working together. They even let the DC camp with them and clean a few dixies. It would be good to see all troops represented next year.  The eventual winners were the 71st (WELL DONE) who will now go forward to represent the District at the Scottish Zonal camp in June 2018. During the camp we also tested out the new District necker concept and following universal approval we will be introducing this across the District in the 2018/2019 session.

Scouts at camp

Patrol at camp

Troops have been very active with numerous camps and expeditions. The Group reports provide more details. I am always amazed when reviewing the NAN forms that everyone keeps coming up with new sites to use.

Many Thanks to all the Scouts and their leaders for the great things they are doing.

Mark Hesketh DC

Explorers

A major focus for this year has been international Explorer Scouting – after a period when the District was not represented it is great to see two Patrols attending the Blair Atholl Jamborette in July, and Craigalmond Explorers are well represented in the South East Scotland World Scout Jamboree contingent with training and fund raising going ahead full steam for next year.

Explorers by reservoir in Pentlands

Explorers on DofE expedition

The international theme continues at Unit level – with a joint camp between the Pink Panther ESU and 122nd Craigalmond Scouts who attended a Danish Jamboree, Granton ESU who hosted Italian Scouts at camp in Loch Tay, and the Douglas Brown ESU who held a camp with the 10th Craigalmond Scouts in Italy which featured a trip up Monte Bianco by cable car, white water rafting through glacial run-off rivers and a whole variety of other adventurous activities.

More locally, the Pink Panthers challenged themselves to stay awake for 36 hours, eat a litre of ice cream and have bacon with every meal at Canty Bay at a Christmas camp while the Douglas Brown ESU went wild camping at Tynningham, followed by a visit to Foxlake Water Adventure, and are in the final preparation stage for a team of Explorers to complete the West Highland Way this summer.

Explorers playing Hungry Hippos

Pink Panthers play Hungry Hippos

The Craigalmond DofE Unit had a successful beginning last year – 13 Explorers undertook Bronze Expedition training and most have now completed their Bronze Awards, with many also achieving their Platinum Scout Award.  This has led on to a group of 15 Explorers who are well advanced with Silver expedition training leading to their 3-day Practice Expedition in the Peebles area. Meanwhile a second cohort of 8 Explorers has commenced Bronze and completed a successful 2-day Practice Expedition in the Pentlands in April in preparation for their Qualifying Expedition in the Lammermuirs in June. This group has made a huge difference boosting the achievement of both DofE and the core Scouting Awards within a year – and I’d like to thank Janet and her team for the huge amount of effort involved in getting this off the ground.

Explorers on DofE expedition

DofE group on expedition

Explorer Scouts continues to grow year on year – from 134 Explorer Scouts in 2017 to 146 Explorers this year including 15 in the Young Leader Unit, supported by 32 adults. This adult team are the often-unsung heroes who deserve great credit and recognition for their commitment and energy providing such a fantastic range of opportunities to Explorer Scouts in the District.

In terms of development, Youth Involvement is being driven by adoption of the Youth Approved Award and representation in the District Youth Advisory Group. The Pink Panther ESU successfully completed a move to Blackhall St Columba’s – to accommodate the expanding membership in a more central location for their catchment area and with more opportunities for outdoor meetings in the nearby Ravelston Park and Woods.

And finally, congratulations to Fraser Dunmore of the Pink Panther ESU on his fantastic achievement in completing his Queen’s Scout Award – he joined 200 Scouts to celebrate at Windsor Castle with Bear Grylls.

David Newton, DESC

Network

The term started out on a glamorous note as the Network suited up for a James Bond-themed casino night. The dress code at the snooker and bowling nights that followed was somewhat less snazzy – we just let our mad skills speak for themselves. But, more than anything, this term has been marked by a number of highly successful appearances at a local pub quiz. Knowing a little about a lot goes a long way, it seems!

In a very proud moment for our leader team, 5 of our number were selected for the 2019 Madagascar trip, attending an icy Bonaly selection camp in December and the first training camp in Angus in March. In preparation for the drainage works they’ll be carrying out on the expedition, the team tested their mettle against the rigors of ditch-digging(!), as well as quizzes, team building, hiking and fun with silly hats. Fact: You’re never too old for fun with silly hats.

Craigalmond Network is also delighted to be sending representatives to the 36th Blair Atholl Jamborette for international antics in July-August 2018. We’ve also been exploring the possibility of closer ties with Pentland and Braid Networks, and hope to hold an all-Edinburgh football game in the coming months. As always, we’re looking forward to the Scouting year to come!

Lisa McCreadie, DSNL

Youth Involvement

The role of ADC Youth Involvement is new to Craigalmond and to Scouts Scotland, so it’s been interesting and exciting to get to grips with something brand new. The role of the ADC(YI) is to make sure all the young people in the District get the opportunity to have a say in how their sections are run, and how the district works as a whole.

One key part of that is setting up our District Youth Advisory Group, a team of Explorers, Young Leaders and Network Scouts who meet regularly to share ideas and opinions, plan events within the District, and represent the opinions of all our youth members to the leaders on the District team. Over the year there’s been a reasonable degree of interest from our Explorers and we have had an initial exploratory meeting to work out how our own ‘DYAG’ will run. We expect to have it up and running next year, and to elect our own District Youth Commissioner who will join me in representing our young people in the District Team.

The other part is to support the sections and groups within the District to achieve their Youth Approved Awards, and to ensure that the District are working towards the same. Nearly all of our sections meet the standards for the Foundation award, and many are already working towards their bronze. Once all the sections in a group have achieved the Bronze Award, The Group can then go on to work towards their Silver and Gold level awards. So far in Craigalmond, we have achieved 10 Foundation awards, and one Bronze award. I’m looking forward to dropping in with sections a lot more next year to help them meet the standards and apply for their awards.

The role of ADC Youth Involvement is new to Craigalmond and to Scouts Scotland, so it’s been interesting and exciting to get to grips with something brand new. The role of the ADC(YI) is to make sure all the young people in the District get the opportunity to have a say in how their sections are run, and how the district works as a whole.

One key part of that is setting up our District Youth Advisory Group, a team of Explorers, Young Leaders and Network Scouts who meet regularly to share ideas and opinions, plan events within the District, and represent the opinions of all our youth members to the leaders on the District team. Over the year there’s been a reasonable degree of interest from our Explorers and we have had an initial exploratory meeting to work out how our own ‘DYAG’ will run. We expect to have it up and running next year, and to elect our own District Youth Commissioner who will join me in representing our young people in the District Team.

District Youth Advisory Group meet

Youth Involvement in action at the DYAG planning meeting. The Explorers wanted something to do with their hands while we talked, so we dug out the Knex from the cupboard!

The other part is to support the sections and groups within the District to achieve their Youth Approved Awards, and to ensure that the District are working towards the same. Nearly all of our sections meet the standards for the Foundation award, and many are already working towards their bronze. Once all the sections in a group have achieved the Bronze Award, The Group can then go on to work towards their Silver and Gold level awards. So far in Craigalmond, we have achieved 10 Foundation awards, and one Bronze award. I’m looking forward to dropping in with sections a lot more next year to help them meet the standards and apply for their awards.

Katie Goudie, ADC Youth Involvement

Fraser gets QSA at Windsor

Fraser gets QSA at Windsor

Chief Scout Bear Grylls recognises 300 young people as Scouting’s top achievers

Fraser Dunmore of Craigalmond was one of 300 Queen’s Scouts being honoured by international adventurer Chief Scout, Bear Grylls, at Windsor Castle for gaining their Queen’s Scouts Awards on Sunday 22 April.  Bear was joined by Princess Beatrice of York.

The Queen’s Scout Award is the highest honour in Scouting and is awarded for outstanding personal achievement.  This honour is achieved by young people aged between 16 and 25 who have completed a range of challenges, including service to their community, completing an expedition in wild country, undertaking a five-day residential project in an unfamiliar environment and learning a new skill or developing an existing talent.

Chief Scout Bear Grylls said:

During their time Scouting, all these young people have worked incredibly hard to learn new skills and achieve their Queen’s Scout Award and I am so full of admiration for their spirit, grit and determination.  They have served their community, led others and undertaken expeditions in the UK and around the world. As Queen’s Scouts, they are leading lights and an inspiration to over half a million Scouts in the UK and I am so pleased that Scouting has honoured them today. I am just so proud of all they have achieved.

Fraser says of his Award:

I really enjoyed completing my Queen’s Scout Award as it got me to really challenge myself. It really pushed me to do more for the community and inspire others to do the same! I would totally recommend anyone to complete the award.

Going down to Windsor was an experience I will never forget! Everyone was really kind and we were all there as we have all overcome some great challenges. It was amazing to hear all about other people’s experience while completing their award. It was really special to have talks from Bear Grylls and was even more amazing that they managed to get a video of Obama saying congratulations to all of us. The day was really hot and everyone was getting dehydrated but the QSWP looked after us all so well. My favourite part was getting a selfie with Bear Grylls! I would totally recommend anyone to complete the award so they can get the opportunity to go down to Windsor Castle too!

Queen's Scout Award badge

Queen’s Scout Award

 

Presentations at Windsor

The annual Windsor Castle event has been held regularly since 1934 on the Sunday nearest to St George’s Day (23 April).  St George is the Patron Saint of Scouting. Since the Queen’s Scout Award was instigated, over 100,000 of these awards have been presented to young men and women for outstanding personal achievements and service to their local communities.  They have learnt new skills and taken part in many of the 200 different activities on offer by Scouting across the UK.

The Queen's Scout Award

The Queen’s Scout Award is achieved by completing the following requirements:

  • Providing service to the community for 12 months. Briefing and training should be given in order to gain the necessary skills.
  • Learning a new skill for 12 months, and show progress and lasting interest. The skill can be the development of an existing interest or something entirely new.
  • Completing a four-day and three-night expedition in open or adventurous country by foot, cycle, horse, canoe, boat or dinghy. The expedition should involve careful preparation, training, responsibility and review demonstrating leadership and teamwork skills
  • Completing a five-day and four-night residential project in an unfamiliar environment with people who are not known. This project should be environmental work, activity based, service to others or personal training
  • Completing 18 nights away, of which 12 must be camping.
  • Making a presentation, to a suitable audience, of your achievements so far in working towards the Queen’s Scout Award.

The Award is for Explorers aged 16 and over and Network members.  It must be completed by the age of 25.  It is essential to register for the Award.  See details on Scouts UK site.

Danish Scouts visit

Danish Scouts visit

At the end of the very wintry month of March, a group of Danish Scouts came to Scotland to walk from Crianlarich to Fort William.  The nine Explorers (ages 13-15) and three leaders arrived carrying all their gear, carefully weighed to avoid Ryanair surcharges.

On arrival, they were able to spend a night in the 150th Craigalmond Scout hall, which they very much appreciated.  This follows a long Scouting tradition of helping visiting groups undertake adventurous trips, and it reminds us that we all wear the World Scout Membership Badge.  It is also a reminder that some of the pillars of Scouting are Fun, Friendship and Adventure.

The visitors presented the 150th with their very traditionally designed necker, and the Group hopes to link up with them as part of their World Challenge.

Danish necker

Necker of the Danish Explorers

The Danish Explorer Leader, Birgitte, wrote:

We had a fantastic trip up the West Highland Way and finished in Fort William on time. We had only one day with rain and a little snow, most of the time the sun was shining.  The spirit was great and the views amazing. Most of the group declared even before the departure from Edinburgh that they wanted to repeat the trip but start from the beginning some time.

Their photos give a sense of what they experienced.

John Buchanan    ARC Explorers

Danish Explorers do West Highland Way

Danish Explorers in March

Scout Group helps school

Scout Group helps school

The Comely Bank Scout Group (122nd Craigalmond) volunteered twice in 2017 to help improve the school playground at Flora Stevenson Primary School, in collaboration with the school’s Parent Council. Over 50 of our Young People across all sections – Beavers, Cubs, and Scouts – participated at one of the two events in May and then again in November, on Remembrance Sunday. Activities included sweeping and topping-up bark, clearing litter, painting benches and tree surrounds, and rehoming wandering sand. Moreover, outdoor play equipment was repainted at the nursery which is attached to the school. Our Young People thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and demonstrably felt a genuine sense of accomplishment; many outstayed their allotted time slots and braved inclement weather, fuelled in part by refreshments provided by the Parent Council. Although many of them do attend Flora Stevenson Primary School, the events saw Beavers, Cubs, and Scouts from other local schools volunteer, in line with the sense of community spirit we strive to encourage in our Group.

Nikola Popovic, ACSL

Tom Woof

Tom Woof

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Tom Woof, Honorary Member of Craigalmond District Executive.
Tom first joined the Group Executive of 30th Inverleith (Davidson’s Mains) Scout Group in the late 1960s when his sons were in the group. He served on the Group Executive for many years in a range of roles including Hall Convenor and Bookings Secretary for the Scout hall, and those who remember Scout Post will fondly remember Tom’s significant involvement and support.
Tom went on to serve on the District Executive, where his wise counsel was appreciated by District Commissioners and others over the years. For many years, Tom was an efficient and effective Badge Secretary, overseeing the transition into Craigalmond District – a post which Tom held until very recently, when he handed over the reins and was made Honorary Executive Member.
Tom also served as a member of the Edinburgh Area Executive for nearly 20 years; he was attentive to his duties and was quiet, but when he gave an opinion it was always grounded in common sense and well considered.
Tom was awarded the Silver Acorn in 2013 for specially distinguished service to Scouting – a well-deserved award which was greeted with pleasure by the many friends and colleagues he had within Scouting.
Tom was also very active in the local Episcopal Church and his role as Hall Convenor there helped when there were bookings needed and the Scout hall was in use; in particular, he was instrumental in sorting out some Scout Hall / Church Hall accommodation for visiting groups especially at the time of the Blair Atholl Patrol Jamborettes.
Tom’s funeral service will be held at 11:30 on Friday 16 March, at Holy Cross Episcopal Church, Davidson’s Mains. His family would be pleased to see members of the Association attend in uniform.
Graeme Robertson Deputy District Commissioner

Gone Home

WSJ journey begins

WSJ journey begins

Almost 8 months ago the Jamboree journey began for the South East Scotland unit when our four Unit Leaders were selected from applicants across Scotland.

Leading the unit is Alan Gibson who is an Assistant Explorer Scout Leader with South Morningside Explorer Scout Unit (SMESU), Braid District.  Making up the leader team are: Mark Petrie Cub Scout Leader 16th Craigalmond, Gillian Swarbrigg Assistant Scout Leader, West Region and Rhona Robb Assistant District Commissioner (AT), Clyde Region.

All our unit leaders have a vast amount of Scouting experiences under their belts, including many International events and World Scout Jamborees including Japan, Sweden, UK and South Korea.   We believe we have a strong leadership team ready to support the unit of 36 young people when they embark on their adventure of a lifetime to the 24th World Scout Jamboree to be held in West Virginia in the summer of 2019.

November saw our selection weekend at Bonaly where we welcomed around 60 Scouts and Explorer Scouts over the weekend. Each had submitted an application that included a personal statement and testimony from their own sections leaders.  The calibre and enthusiasm of the young people made for a most enjoyable weekend for the volunteers from the Region who came along to run team building bases and help in the incredibly difficult task of selecting just 36 young people to be part of the unit.  We are very pleased to say we have representatives from the following Districts:

Borders, Braid, Craigalmond, Edinburgh North East, Midlothian and Pentland.

The first of five training weekends will take place in February when the unit will gather again at Bonaly for the weekend.  This will be an opportunity for all the unit members to get to know each other, start forming their unit identity, plan different aspects of their training prior to the Jamboree and programming for the Jamboree experience itself.

You can follow the unit’s progress over the next 18 months on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/sescotlandwsj2019/ where the young people will have the  opportunity to share stories of this life-changing experience.