Meet Our Volunteer: Ross Cootes, Scout Leader

Meet Our Volunteer: Ross Cootes, Scout Leader

South East Scotland Scouts is full of ordinary people making an extraordinary difference to young people’s lives and learning a whole lot along the way. In the first of our new series ‘Meet our Volunteer’, we’d like to introduce you to Ross Cootes, Scout Leader at the 101st Edinburgh North East Scouts.

Read his story and find the perfect volunteer role for yourself. Whether you want to work with young people directly or help behind the scenes, there’s something for everyone at Scouts.

Name – Ross Cootes

Role – Scout Leader

Group – 101st Edinburgh North East (McLaren Halls, 48 Restalrig Road South) Scouts

My names Ross and I’m the Scout Leader at a Scout group in Edinburgh.

I started my journey with the Scouts way back when at the ripe age of six years old. I started, with much encouragement from my mother as she assured me I’d enjoy myself as many of my friends were going along too. From Beavers to Explorers, to moving on to become a Leader, Scouts has always been a big part of my life, and has played a massive part in developing my confidence over the years.

I wanted to become a Leader not only to create the same experiences for the current Scouts that I had when I was younger, but also to develop the soft skills and responsibilities required to be in the role, from planning each session, to going through many a (very useful!) training session, to the day-to-day game playing with the young people.

After having only been in the role since COVID hit, we are finally returning to a more normal version of Scouting and I’m very much still finding my feet. We even have a camp in the planning works.

I couldn’t be more excited to see what this year brings for myself, the other Leaders, and all the young people at my group.

The skills and experience you gain through Scouting are unmatched and I’m so grateful for everything I’ve learned in my time in Scouting so far. 

Thinking of becoming a volunteer?

Why not take get in touch to discuss volunteering opportunities. We need your help.

Volunteers make Scouts happen at a national level as well as a local one. From our Chief Scout and Chair of our Board to the incredible volunteers who support young people as leaders and occasional helpers at our local groups, these are just some of the superstars who’ve stepped up to inspire a generation.  

We’re proud that Scouts is a volunteer led movement. That’s where you come in. 

Volunteer roles

There are lots of ways you can get more involved with Scouts as a parent, carer or family member. From helping out occasionally on a family rota or playing a vital role behind the scenes, to stepping up as a leader, our volunteering activities are as varied as you.

We’re talking tidy uppers and tea makers, session planners and Zoom navigators, fundraisers and treasurers, and all round team players to support our young people.

The good news is you shape what you do and the time you have to give. Scouts happens when a lot of us give a little (and no, you don’t have to be a Scout or outdoors expert to volunteer).

Across the Edinburgh North East District, the current vacancies include:

  • Group Scout Leaders
  • Occasional helpers
  • Cub Leaders
  • Assistant Scout Leader
  • Beaver Leader
  • District Explorer Scout Commissioner
  • District Scout Network Commissioner

What to expect:

  • A warm welcome
  • Flexibility to get involved in a way that works for you
  • Easy access to training and resources online
  • Friendly ongoing support from local volunteers

No two weeks are the same, but the impact you make is always great.

Make a difference, volunteer today

To find out more about helping out, speak to the leader at your local group or use our volunteer enquiry from which can be found using the option below. Share your details and a volunteer from your local team will be in touch soon.

Enquiry form

Let’s find the right fit for you

Across the Edinburgh North East District, the current vacancies include:

  • Group Scout Leaders
  • Occasional helpers
  • Cub Leaders
  • Assistant Scout Leader
  • Beaver Leader
  • District Explorer Scout Commissioner
  • District Scout Network Commissioner

Share your contact details and select the opportunities you’re interested in below. We’ll pass them on to a local volunteer, who’ll be in touch shortly:

Enquiry form

 

Meet Our Volunteer: Kirstin Worsley, Beaver Leader

Meet Our Volunteer: Kirstin Worsley, Beaver Leader

South East Scotland Scouts is full of ordinary people making an extraordinary difference to young people’s lives and learning a whole lot along the way. In the first of our new series ‘Meet our Volunteer’, we’d like to introduce you to Kirstin Worsley, Beaver Leader at Cardrona Beavers in the Borders District.

Read his story and find the perfect volunteer role for yourself. Whether you want to work with young people directly or help behind the scenes, there’s something for everyone at Scouts.

Kirstin Worsley

From left to right Gillian MacDonald Beaver Leader, Jake Lockyer YL, Rosie Callaghan YL, and Kirstin Worsley.

Name – 
Kirstin Worsley
Group and District – Cardrona Beavers, Borders District
Role – Beaver Leader


My time in Scouting
24 years ago I set up a Beaver colony in Newtown Stewart as there hadn’t ever been one and my son, then aged 6, was really keen to be involved. With another mum, we started the colony and I ran it for a couple of years until the birth of my third child, when I stopped being able to help out.

Move on a few years and my fourth child had joined Cardrona Scouts (after Rainbows and Brownies) and I became involved as a parent helper and then as a member of the Executive Committee. As my daughter was getting near the age for Explorers and then starting her DofE, there were very few volunteering opportunities for her locally. So, as the Beaver Leader in Cardrona had left and therefore Beavers had stopped running, I decided to take on the role as the Leader meaning that Beavers could be re-established and my daughter could become a Young Leader, along with another one of the Explorers.

I started as Beaver Leader in January 2020, had a couple of months with them in the hall and then we went into the world of Zoom due to COVID. Our Beavers are an amazing bunch and we ran weekly sessions all the way through the summer holidays. There was a brief return to face to face and then we had to move back to Zoom meaning that some newer Beavers had never met me in person! Now, thankfully, we are back face to face and increasing our numbers to 18. Another mum has joined as second Beaver Leader which has enabled us to grow and allowed us to do this.

I also help out occasionally at Explorers and am happy to get involved with whatever I am asked to do, I love it!

Seeing the little ones grow in confidence (and height!) is fantastic but for me, watching my Young Leaders with the Beavers, growing in confidence themselves and learning new skills is just as important. It is about all the ages coming together as one big family that makes it so much fun and so rewarding.
 
Previously to this I had no prior experience in Scouting.
I was a Brownie originally but when I went on my day visit to guides and saw the “toilet” I decided it wasn’t for me so I never joined! I was quite a stubborn teenager!
 
Why did you start volunteering with Scouts?
For the reasons above and because I love volunteering, it is a great way to make new friends and to do something I love.
 
What is the best thing you’ve done while volunteering with Scouts/your group?
Going to camp! It is really good fun, even if the camp is at home in our own hall, as it was last week with the Beavers. If you had told me this would be my favourite thing when I was stood in front of the toilet tent at Guide camp, I wouldn’t have believed you!
 
Have you learned anything new as a volunteer?
I feel like I have always volunteered, I can’t remember a time when I haven’t. The thing I have learnt most is how to say no, knowing my own capacity for the time I can give is really important.  It is ok to say no when I know I just don’t have time. My motto is “if I say I will do something I will, I will always say no if I can’t”.

How do you think volunteering helps in your life?
It gets me away from the desk job (where I am responsible for a lot of volunteers in a different role). It also challenges me to do something that might take me slightly out of my comfort zone but in a safe way as I always have others around me to ask, if I need help.


What would you say to anyone who is thinking of volunteering with Scouts?
If you think you would like to find out what is involved, come along and watch what goes on. 
The more people who get involved, the less onerous it is and it really can be fun! Just remember my motto and say no if you can’t do something. It is better to do that than to feel obliged. And remember, you don’t have to go to camp if you don’t want to!

Thinking of becoming a volunteer?

Why not take get in touch to discuss volunteering opportunities. We need your help.

Volunteers make Scouts happen at a national level as well as a local one. From our Chief Scout and Chair of our Board to the incredible volunteers who support young people as leaders and occasional helpers at our local groups, these are just some of the superstars who’ve stepped up to inspire a generation.  

We’re proud that Scouts is a volunteer led movement. That’s where you come in. 

Volunteer roles

There are lots of ways you can get more involved with Scouts as a parent, carer or family member. From helping out occasionally on a family rota or playing a vital role behind the scenes, to stepping up as a leader, our volunteering activities are as varied as you.

We’re talking tidy uppers and tea makers, session planners and Zoom navigators, fundraisers and treasurers, and all round team players to support our young people.

The good news is you shape what you do and the time you have to give. Scouts happens when a lot of us give a little (and no, you don’t have to be a Scout or outdoors expert to volunteer).

Across the Borders District, the current vacancies include:

  • Explorer Leaders
  • Section Leaders – Beavers, Cubs and Scouts
  • Section Assistants – Beavers, Cubs and Scouts
  • Group Scout Leaders and Assistant
  • Occasional helpers
  • Executive Members – Secretary, Treasurer, Chair

What to expect:

  • A warm welcome
  • Flexibility to get involved in a way that works for you
  • Easy access to training and resources online
  • Friendly ongoing support from local volunteers

No two weeks are the same, but the impact you make is always great.

Make a difference, volunteer today

To find out more about helping out, speak to the leader at your local group or use our volunteer enquiry from which can be found using the option below. Share your details and a volunteer from your local team will be in touch soon.

Enquiry form

Let’s find the right fit for you

Across the Borders District, the current vacancies include:

  • Explorer Leaders
  • Section Leaders – Beavers, Cubs and Scouts
  • Section Assistants – Beavers, Cubs and Scouts
  • Group Scout Leaders and Assistant
  • Occasional helpers
  • Executive Members – Secretary, Treasurer, Chair

Share your contact details and select the opportunities you’re interested in below. We’ll pass them on to a local volunteer, who’ll be in touch shortly:

Enquiry form

 

Meet Our Volunteer: Jack Caldwell, Cub Leader

Meet Our Volunteer: Jack Caldwell, Cub Leader

South East Scotland Scouts is full of ordinary people making an extraordinary difference to young people’s lives and learning a whole lot along the way. In the first of our new series ‘Meet our Volunteer’, we’d like to introduce you to Jack Caldwell, Cub Leader at the 154th  Edinburgh North East Cubs. 

Read his story and find the perfect volunteer role for yourself. Whether you want to work with young people directly or help behind the scenes, there’s something for everyone at Scouts.

Name – Jack Caldwell

Role – Cub Leader

Group – 154th Edinburgh North East (based out of Greenside Parish Church) Cubs

I became a Cub leader because of the amazing job my leaders did for me when I was younger.

Around 1998, my mum took me to the Beaver Scouts (the youngest section) for the first time. I made great friends and great memories. After that, it was Cub Scouts, then Scouts, then Explorer Scouts and becoming a Young Leader. Scouts was very important when I was growing up because my family didn’t have a garden or a car, so we didn’t go overnight camping or go on grand outdoor adventures. Having aspergers syndrome (autism), anything new was extremely scary.
 
Scouts opened up a much larger horizon. My leaders, Jim and Cary, among many others, were exceptional people to look up to when you’re still learning about the world and your place in it. I learned later that they liaised with my mum (who would also help out on occasional camps) to ensure I was totally included in every activity – something any kid would take for granted. From knots, to dodgeball, to arts and crafts, every activity they led was fun, engaging and memorable.

Naturally, when I was old enough and when asked if I wanted to help out at the Cubs, I jumped at the chance, admittedly nervously. Looking after and leading 20 young people at a time sounded daunting but it actually wasn’t. The young people were eager and the nights rolled on with tonnes of fun, and new life skills which are milestones by both the young people (and leaders) earning badges.

I’ve been leading the 154th Edinburgh North East | SE Region (sesscouts.org.uk) Cub Scout section for a number of years now and have always felt very well supported by my team, whether they’re parent volunteers or qualified Scout Leaders. The Scout Organisation has ensured I’m well trained in planning fun activities, assessing risks and First Aid. We’ve done everything from kayaking to sewing so all is good.


That original Cub group (of 2008) that I was a young leader for are now leaving University. It’s amazing when I bump into one in the street and they tell me they still remember the time they found a starfish on a Cub Scout a beach trip or the goal they scored at a Scout camp football match. Some of them even went on to become Young Leaders too.


The difference leader volunteers make to a young person who maybe doesn’t go on foreign holidays or struggles with their shoelaces is massive. Teaching them a life skill that they then demonstrate themselves a week later is incomprehensible. Running or helping a Scout group that is open to all ages, all genders and all abilities is a massive privilege and a lot of fun. The responsibility for their wellbeing and creating great experiences is not something any good Scout Leader takes lightly. We’re not there to boss the young people around but ultimately have as much fun as them in a safe, respectful and constructive environment.

 

Anyone who volunteers with the Scout Association will be part of a great team of leaders and will work with some amazing young people who are keen to try new and positive experiences!

Thinking of becoming a volunteer?

Why not take get in touch to discuss volunteering opportunities. We need your help.

Volunteers make Scouts happen at a national level as well as a local one. From our Chief Scout and Chair of our Board to the incredible volunteers who support young people as leaders and occasional helpers at our local groups, these are just some of the superstars who’ve stepped up to inspire a generation.  

We’re proud that Scouts is a volunteer led movement. That’s where you come in. 

Volunteer roles

There are lots of ways you can get more involved with Scouts as a parent, carer or family member. From helping out occasionally on a family rota or playing a vital role behind the scenes, to stepping up as a leader, our volunteering activities are as varied as you.

We’re talking tidy uppers and tea makers, session planners and Zoom navigators, fundraisers and treasurers, and all round team players to support our young people.

The good news is you shape what you do and the time you have to give. Scouts happens when a lot of us give a little (and no, you don’t have to be a Scout or outdoors expert to volunteer).

Across the Edinburgh North East District, the current vacancies include:

  • Group Scout Leaders
  • Occasional helpers
  • Cub Leaders
  • Assistant Scout Leader
  • Beaver Leader
  • District Explorer Scout Commissioner
  • District Scout Network Commissioner

What to expect:

  • A warm welcome
  • Flexibility to get involved in a way that works for you
  • Easy access to training and resources online
  • Friendly ongoing support from local volunteers

No two weeks are the same, but the impact you make is always great.

Make a difference, volunteer today

To find out more about helping out, speak to the leader at your local group or use our volunteer enquiry from which can be found using the option below. Share your details and a volunteer from your local team will be in touch soon.

Enquiry form

Let’s find the right fit for you

Across the Edinburgh North East District, the current vacancies include:

  • Group Scout Leaders
  • Occasional helpers
  • Cub Leaders
  • Assistant Scout Leader
  • Beaver Leader
  • District Explorer Scout Commissioner
  • District Scout Network Commissioner

Share your contact details and select the opportunities you’re interested in below. We’ll pass them on to a local volunteer, who’ll be in touch shortly:

Enquiry form

 

Safety and Risk

Safety and Risk

Doing things safely is fundamental to everything we do in Scouting. 

It is very important that all leaders understand and know their responsibilities within the Scouts Safety Policy:

· Understand the Safety Policy and your responsibilities for keeping young people and adults in our movement safe.

· Be able to demonstrate how to assess and manage risk.

· Understand the role of the leader in charge.

· Know what to do in an emergency, and how to report incidents and near misses.

· Know where to access safety resources, activity rules and guidance for the safe management of activities.

· As an adult in our movement, you are responsible for making sure we deliver Scouts in as safe a way as possible, so never be afraid to change or stop an activity. Make sure you explain this to everyone and include the reasons why.

· You must Know what to do in an emergency and make sure others are also aware, including young people.

· You have a duty to record and report incidents. Don’t worry, though – there’s a step by step guide in the Purple Card to help you do this.

· You must have an accident book in your meeting place and a record should be kept of all accidents that occur.

Remember, there are 5 steps to our Risk Assessments:

1. Look for hazards

2. Who might be harmed and how?

3. How are the risks controlled?

· Can the hazard be removed entirely?

· Is there a less risky option?

· What can be done to reduce the risk of people being in contact with the hazard?

· What instructions and supervision are needed?

· Is protective or safety equipment available to reduce risk?

· Don’t leave risk assessments on the shelf. Review them to make sure they’re still relevant and make changes when you need to.

4. Record and Communicate

5. Review and revise plans

Click here for more ‘Staying Safe and safeguarding’ information

Russell Shoulder

Safety & Safeguarding Adviser

Three candidates for the MSYP elections all come from the South East Scotland Scouts region

Three candidates for the MSYP elections all come from the South East Scotland Scouts region

We are very excited to announce Scout Scotland’s three candidates for the MSYP elections all come from the South East Scotland Scouts region. Congratulations to Avery, Niamh and Ewan. You can visit their candidate profiles by clicking on the links below.

Ewan Knight – Explorer at Pink Panthers ESU, Craigalmond and a Young Leader for Blackhall Scout Group

Niamh Kirkland – Explorer at Pink Panthers ESU, Craigalmond and Young Leader with 30th Craigalmond cubs

Avery Anne Gill – Explorer Scout Young Leader and Young Leader for Jedburgh Scout Group

Of these three candidates two will be elected as Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) and will represent our youth members at a national level. Voting opens on November 8th, click on the below link for more.

Every two years Scouts Scotland elects two Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) to represent the views of our youth members at the Scottish Youth Parliament.

The Scottish Youth Parliament represents Scotland’s young people aged 14-25 and our MSYPs can raise issues on behalf of their Scouts Scotland constituency. We are one of Scotland’s largest co-educational youth movements, so our MSYPs play an important role in making sure the voices of our youth members contribute to discussion and debate at a national level.

Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs)

What our MSYPs do

Our MSYPs are elected by our youth members (aged between 14 and 25) to represent their views at the Scottish Youth Parliament. To do this, they need to:

  • Attend sittings all over Scotland.
  • Present motions to the Scottish Youth Parliament based on topics or issues our members have chosen.
  • Contribute to wider campaigns run by the Scottish Youth Parliament.

MSYP achievements

Scouts Scotland has been represented at the Scottish Youth Parliament since 2015. Our MSYPs have also:

  • Campaigned for UCAS recognition for Scouting top awards.
  • Introduced free period products at Scottish Scout Adventures Centres.
  • Raised awareness of hidden disabilities.

For more visit – https://syp.org.uk/

How to vote - opens November 8th

How to vote

The election runs from the 8th til the 21st of November. Our Members aged between 14-25 will be able to vote in this election, using an online voting platform hosted by the Scottish Youth Parliament.

Explorer Scouts will be able to log on and vote using a unique number issued to them. In October we will distribute these numbers to every District Commissioner, District Explorer Scout Commissioner.

Network Members will be able to log onto vote using their membership number.

Why vote

We want this election to be as democratic and youth-led as possible so it’s really important that as many of our eligible members vote as possible.

Our previous MSYPs have done great things like raise awareness of hidden disabilities, campaign on period poverty,  campaign on access to outdoor education and help Scout awards receive greater recognition.

 

Voting opens on the 8th of November

Scouts launch Squirrels

Scouts launch Squirrels

Welcome Squirrels – a brand new programme for 4-5 year olds

Scouts are today (September 9th) announcing our new programme tailor-made for 4 and 5 year olds – Squirrels. Squirrels will get to be active, explore nature and have fun learning with friends, earning badges like all other Scouts. The programme starts rolling out this month and grown-ups are being called on to volunteer to give young children a chance to learn vital skills for life after the challenges of lockdowns.

Building on a successful pilot programme, Squirrel dreys will open initially in 9 locations across Scotland including the 21st Craigalmond Group in South Queensferry in our Craigalmond District, but with more to follow. Priority given to communities most affected by the pandemic. Research from Ofsted has demonstrated that children hardest hit by COVID-19 pandemic have regressed in basic skills and learning.

The emphasis will be on outdoor adventures, making new friends and learning new skills, recognised by a new set of badges. Squirrels will create a positive, safe environment for young children to develop, as they learn essential skills for life.

New Squirrels will get to try new activities and make new friends. The programme is crafted to help them develop teamwork, communication, creativity, community awareness and other key skills. New badges will include Feel Good, Be Active, Explore Outdoors, Brilliant Builder and Exciting Experiments.

To support the new section, Scouts are calling for grown-up helpers to step forward as part of its #GoodForYou, campaign, designed to recruit new volunteers. Scouts are showing adults how volunteering for Scouts not only helps young people, but is good for them too, supporting wellbeing and building their skills for employment and education

Katie Docherty, Chief Executive, Scouts Scotland said: “Squirrels is part of our commitment to help young people, families and communities come back stronger from the pandemic. If you’re four, you’ve spent a third of your life in lockdowns. Our mission at Scouts is to equip young people with skills for life, and we know how important early years is in terms of developing these skills. We know this has especially impacted children in communities hardest hit by the pandemic. That’s why we are opening the first Squirrel dreys in those communities that need it most.”

She added: “To scale up this new programme we need support from volunteers, partners and donors to help us reach even more young people.”

Bear Grylls, Chief Scout said: “I’m so glad that younger children will now have the chance to join our family of Scouts and develop skills for life. We know from our pilot programme that 4-5-year-olds can really benefit from the activities that Squirrels offers. All of us at the Scouts believe that by offering opportunities at this early age, inspiring a sense of wonder, fun and curiosity, we can have a long-lasting, positive impact on young people’s lives. To make this work we need more volunteers to join the team and donors to get behind us”

Morag Machlachlan, Squirrels Group Leader from 21st South Queensferry in Craigalmond said: “I’m really excited to start our Squirrels drey in South Queensferry. The programme is built to help 4 and 5 year olds develop teamwork, communication and creativity. It will be great to get these young people together to have fun, make new friends and earn badges!”

For more information about Squirrels please contact our Squirrel Advisor, Neil Hogg.

How can you volunteer?

We encourage all parents and carers to take an active interest in what is going on with all sections, including Squirrels. If you would like to help see our information for adult volunteers.