Meet the volunteer – Nina Diviza

Meet the volunteer – Nina Diviza

Kirstie Armsworth

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What's it like to be an Assistant Scout Leader?

Assistant Scout Leaders (ASL) are vital to the efficient and effective operation of our Troop and allow us to keep offering Scouting to the next generation of young people in our local area. Assistant Scout Leaders is an adult volunteer who assists our amazing leaders in delivering the programme to young people in Scouting.

To ensure our Scouts Troop continues, we need adults who are keen to try new things and to have fun to join our team of Leaders, to help us provide fantastic opportunities to local young people. Our Leaders are people just like you, but working together they make extraordinary things happen by providing a wide range of activities on a weekly basis.

You can play a pivotal role. Without a Scout Troop, our Cubs may have nowhere to move on to when they reach the age and the existing Scouts may not be able to fully embrace the Scouts opportunity. So why not read on to find out more about Nina Diviza who is one of our AMAZING ASLs at the 101st Edinburgh North East, Edinburgh North East.

Name: Nina Diviza

Group and District/Region: 101st Edinburgh North East, Edinburgh North East.

Role: Assistant Scout Leader

Time in Scouting: Appointed officially on 02/03/2023

Any previous experience in Scouting? No previous experience!

Being an Assistant Scout Leader (the role):
I help out in the Scout Troop with 13 wonderful young people accompanied by our Scout Leader and two other Assistants. In my role so far, I’ve helped organise activity badges and a Scout camp. I’ve also managed to attend various training events in Edinburgh, Lochgoilhead, and attended the ScoutFest 2023 at Fordell Firs.

 

Why did you start volunteering with Scouts?
I guess I’ve always known about the organisation but I considered joining when I met Rob Whitelaw, the District Commissioner for Edinburgh North East, at a volunteering fair in Edinburgh along with the Scouting Support Officer. I was planning to take a break from work and start a new activity. Volunteering seemed like a worthwhile endeavour and an opportunity to give back to a community where I’ve always felt welcome.

I am a big fan of the outdoors and I think more young people should have the opportunity to explore and connect with nature. I felt an instant connection with the Scouting values and the skills it promotes so I decided to join the movement straight away.

What is the best thing you’ve done while volunteering with Scouts so far?
I think the Scout camp would count as the best thing so far. Seeing a bunch of young people having a great time pitching a tent, learning to make a fire, enjoying the bright night sky away from the city lights, and just running around in the open air feels extremely rewarding. Some of these experiences I didn’t have as a child and so it gives me great joy to be able to provide them these in a safe environment.

Have you learned anything new as a volunteer?
With no previous Scouting experience, I’m learning new skills almost every week. Navigation, bushcraft, knots and lashings, archery, and tomahawk throwing are just to name a few. Leadership, patience, communication, sensitivity, and understanding are some things that are improved gradually every Scout evening.  

How do you think volunteering helps in your life?
I think there are at least two important aspects in which Scouts enriches my life. First, I think it helps to develop a Scout mindset, that of being alert and aware of your environment, being self-aware and mindful of others, feeling curious, and adventurous, and staying flexible in an ever-changing world. Second, empowering young people to develop this mindset, providing them with the necessary tools and helping them grow, in my opinion, is a great contribution towards a brighter future.

What would you say to anyone who is thinking of volunteering with Scouts?
Don’t miss out!

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, 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
  • >Scout, Cub and Beaver Leaders
  • >Assistant Scout, Cub and Beaver Leaders

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.

Our last Queen’s Scouts and our first King’s Scouts

Our last Queen’s Scouts and our first King’s Scouts

We are proud to update that across South East Region in 2022, we congratulated over 1,000 youth members who achieved one of many Top Awards. These celebrations also include FOUR Queen’s or King’s Scout Awards.

The award is presented to members aged 16-25 for completing a series of personal challenges for a minimum of 18 months. While some young people complete the award alongside their Gold Duke of Edinburgh, others choose to complete their challenges solely through Scouting. 

Regardless of the choices made, the Award represents a personal scouting journey full of development as well as fun. 

Over the past few years, recipients across the Region have sailed on the tall ships, completed Explorer Belts, engaged with international adventures, participated in expeditions and undertaken a myriad of skills, service and physical activities. Below are four of last year’s recipients sharing their highlights. 

Kirsty Syme

Kirsty is a Leader and Network member in Braid District and undertook a wide range of activities over the course of her Queen’s Scout Award. These included an Explorer Belt in Switzerland, ski racing and a conservation trip to Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

Her expedition included walking sections of the Southern Upland Way in the Borders. She explains that the: “The best bit about the Award itself was the sense of accomplishment when I finished. I definitely underestimated how hard it was going to be, especially the expedition, but getting to do this with my sister was probably the best bit about the whole thing.” 

Angus Halliday

Angus is a Leader and Network member in Craigalmond District and completed his Gold Duke of Edinburgh as part of his King’s Scout Award (KSA). He explains that: “I stated my KSA journey by running a series of six nights with my Cub pack with an international theme, such as world flags, some Swedish cooking and some international Scout games. I also used the activities I had done for my Diamond and Platinum Chief Scout Awards (a reading for Remembrance Sunday, a large litter pick in Edinburgh, assisting in Young Leader training and a presentation to the Rotary club of Corstorphine about the work I had done to provide Cubs from my Group with some activities over lockdown). For my final activity, I attended the 38th Blair Atholl International Patrol Jamborette.”  

Iain Turpie

Iain is a member of Borders District and completed his Gold Duke of Edinburgh as part of his King’s Scout Award. His activities included attending Chamboree, building cupboards in the village hall, completing his Young Leader Belt and participating in a turtle conservation project in Greece. Please take a moment to review the below.

Shahed Jaroucheh

Shahed is the first member of her Scout Group, the 8th Braid, to complete the Queen’s/King’s Scout Award and as part of this, she also attained the Gold Duke of Edinburgh. As well as being a Young Leader, she attended Jamboree on the Internet (JOTI), created some beautiful paper quilling art and completed the John Muir Award. Please take a look at the photographs below.

Interested?

Anyone in South East Region aged 16-24 who would like to learn about completing their King’s Scout Award can get in touch. Explorers should speak to their Explorer Scout leaders, while those who are Network age can find contact information here. 

Meet The Volunteer – Alistair Cameron

Meet The Volunteer – Alistair Cameron

Being an Executive Committee Chair

The Scout Group’s Executive Committee works to support the Group Scout Leader and to make sure that the Group delivers the best experiences it can, safely and legally.  Like the Board of Governors in a school, the Executive Committee helps to set the long-term vision for the group and supports the Group’s Leaders to make that a reality. And this is headed up by the Chair of the Executive Committee. It’s an important role as this member makes sure that the necessary decisions are taken and actions are carried out to achieve the short- and long-term goals of the Group.  As such, the Chair plays a key part in the future success of the Scout Group.  

Next in our South East of Scotland Scouts ‘Meet our Volunteer’ series, we’d like to introduce you to Alastair Cameron, Group Chair of the Earlston Scout Group in the Borders Scout District.

Please read Alistair’s Scouts volunteering story below and find the perfect volunteer role for yourself. Are you also more comfortable behind the scenes? You don’t always have to work directly with young people to volunteer with Scouts. Please get in touch. 

Alastair with his family

Name: Alistair Cameron

Your Group and District/Region: Earlston Scout Group, part of the Borders Scout District

Your Role: Group Chair

Were you a former Scout? 
No previous Scouting experience. I joined as a parent volunteer in September 2021.

More about your role:
As Group Chair, my primary role is to ensure that our fantastic section Leaders have access to all the resources and support they need to deliver an exciting program of events for our young people in all sections.  With no previous experience in scouting,

I took on the role with some trepidation, however, I have been able to draw on some great support from our Group Scout Leader and District Commissioner to settle in, as well as accessing the training materials available on Compass.

Why did you start volunteering with Scouts/Group?
My son is autistic and started Scouting within Beavers to improve his social skills and interaction with other groups. He had a fantastic time. The Section Leaders and parent volunteers went out of their way to make him feel included and valued within the Scouting community.  As he moved up into Cubs, I started to attend weekly sessions as a parent volunteer in order to provide him with additional support, and an extra pair of hands to the Leaders where required.

What is the best thing you’ve done while volunteering with Scouts/Group?
The Exec Team has worked hard over the past few months to get our minibus back on the road after a period of Covid “hibernation”, and has been supported by a number of local businesses to whom we are very grateful for the support.

We have also reached out to build closer links with our Community Council, as well as launching an inclusiveness initiative to ensure that the cost of living crisis does not cause any of our members to have to drop out of sessions or activities.  As an Exec Committee, we should be guided by our Leaders and provide an enabling environment that allows them to develop a high-quality programme in conjunction with their young people. We take pride in delivering this.

Have you learned anything new as a volunteer?
How to tie a knot for one thing!  With no previous Scouting experience, it’s been fantastic to be part of the Cubs pack as a parent volunteer as well as my role on the Executive Committee.  It really gives you an awareness of the hard work done by the Leaders in all sections, and redoubles my commitment to ensuring that we do all the necessary fundraising and infrastructure work needed to ensure they have everything they need to deliver a quality programme.

How do you think volunteering helps in your life?
I work a busy day job with a fair degree of responsibility. Volunteering with Scouts is a great release, and gives me a great sense of pride to be doing something to support the various Scouting sections that have a meaningful impact on my local community.

What would you say to anyone who is thinking of volunteering with Scouts/Group? 
Just do It. 

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 minibus drivers, session planners and 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
  • – Active Support
  • – 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 form which can be found using the option above. Share your details and a volunteer from your local team will be in touch soon.

Ken’s Den the new “village” at the heart of Bonaly

Ken’s Den the new “village” at the heart of Bonaly

A lasting legacy of Ken Thomson, Vice President of South East Scotland Scouts

It’s a rare opportunity to open a new facility these days so everyone at the Bonaly Scout Centre was therefore delighted when the sun shone on Saturday 11th March for the official opening of Ken’s Den by Alison Thomson.   

Ken’s Den is the new village consisting of two log cabins, a shelter with catering facilities, campfire with seating, round picnic tables and camping area at Bonaly. It’s ideal for younger members like Beavers and Cubs, particularly as it can be booked for one night at a time.  

Official opening of Ken’s Den by Alison Thomson

This new “village” has been made possible by the very kind donation by Alison Thomson in memory of her husband Ken who was a former Vice President of South East Scotland Scouts.  Over the year’s Ken held many important roles in Scouting and laterally he led Adult Training in the Region and used his teaching skills to enthuse many new Leaders to provide exciting and adventurous opportunities for our members.  

He is remembered as a good friend by all and we know he would be delighted that this amazing “village” in the heart of Bonaly Scout Centre gives our young visitors the chance to experience the outdoors to develop friendships and self-confidence, and learn new skills. 

Around 50 guests attended the opening and after a few opening words from John Cannon, Regional Chair, Alison was invited to officially open Ken’s Den by unveiling the nameplate above the gate. Afterwards, whilst guests looked around, Alison cut a special cake to commemorate the occasion.  

 

  

Hamish Leal and Martin Elliott
It was also a very special day for Hamish Leal, a member of the Bonaly Active Support Unit, as he was presented with the Silver Wolf award (the highest awarded by the movement) by Regional Commissioner, Martin Elliot, and Ronnie MacDonald, a distinguished Leader who already holds the award.  It consists of a Silver Wolf suspended from a dark green and yellow neck ribbon.
 
Hamish has been involved in Scouting since he was a Wolf Cub in then Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in the 1950s and has held many Scouting roles over the years.  He has led Scout expeditions to the USA twice, Russia and a large Scottish contingent to Denmark.
Hamish Leal and Ronnie MacDonald
The Sheiling
The Shelter
The Bothy

More about Ken’s Den

 

Ken’s Den is a self-contained small village consisting of two log cabins, a shelter with catering facilities, campfire with seating, round picnic tables and camping area. The indoor facilities can accommodate 22 persons. It is located on the right hand side of the main field behind the Blair Barn.

The Sheiling: Cabin with 5 bunk beds and mattresses, sleeping 10 persons, with an attached separate cabin with 2 single beds for Leaders

The Bothy: Cabin with 5 bunk beds and mattresses – sleeping 10 persons

The Shelter: A large open fronted shelter with kitchen facilities – worktops, fridge, sink with cold water (sorry no hot water), food storage rack, seating area and tables, catering equipment, gas burner and Calor gas.

First visitors - 108th Pentland Beavers

The first visitors to Ken’s Den

One of the first visitors to use Ken’s Den were the Beavers from the 108th Pentland and they had a brilliant time in December. 

No doubt, this was helped by the overnight snow which eventually postponed the original planned opening the following day.  

Meet the volunteer – Darren Pringle

Meet the volunteer – Darren Pringle

There are many different ways to help in Scouting.

Volunteering for Scouting gives you the chance to try different activities, visit new places and learn and share new skills. Adults in Scouting can have many supporting roles, some roles are from 1 to 2 hours per week or 2 hours a month and other roles can vary depending on how much time you wish to give. There is a huge variety of roles to help run a Scout Group, as a Trustee on the Management Team or a Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary, helping out fundraising, or maintenance of the Scout HQ or equipment. 

One person who ‘wears many scouts hats (aka neckies)’ and is keen to help out is our very own Darren Pringle. He’s the Scout Leader/Beaver Leader for the 102nd Craigalmond (Clermiston) Scout Group; Assistant Cub Leader for 88th Craigalmond (Carricknowe) Scout Group; and part of the Bonaly Scout Centre Active Support Unit (ASU), Edinburgh. And he’s such a positive happy chap! It’s infectious! Why not read his Scouting journey so far and see what resonates with you.

What could your role be?

There’s a role for everyone who volunteers, no matter your interests. Whether you can afford a few hours a week, or just want to help out at special or local events, we can support you in a wide range of flexible roles. There are many ways in which you can give your time to help Scouting whatever your background, gender, age, abilities and skills. Simply let us know your availability, what you enjoy/how you would like to help and we will match this to roles within your local area. Simples!

Name: Darren Pringle

Roles/Groups: Scout Leader/Beaver Leader for 102nd Craigalmond (Clermiston) Scout Group; Assistant Cub Leader for 88th Craigalmond (Carricknowe) Scout Group; Bonaly ASU, Bonaly Scout Centre, Edinburgh 

District/Region: Craigalmond District, South East Scotland Region 

My early years in Scouting
My journey within Scouting started at an early age when I lived in Penicuik. I always had a love for the outdoors including camping, cooking and fun activities so Cubs seemed the ideal choice when I looked around for local Groups to join. It was great as I got badges for doing what I enjoyed! We moved to Edinburgh where I continued with Cubs and Scouts but then stepped out of Scouting until the end of 2017. This was more to do with other sports activities and interests that I had at that time but over those years, expanded on the core skills given by Scouts! 

During the early years of my life, Scouting played a big part in developing my skills, and confidence. I have lots of great memories of camps. It was for this reason that in 2017, I chose to get back into Scouting as a Leader as I wanted to give other young people the same opportunities that I had to make similar memories, challenge themselves and learn new skills! It has also given me opportunities to expand my own interests and skillset over this time. 

My role in Scouting
Its been a mixed bag of experiences over the last 5 to 6 years of Scouting (due to Covid) and it’s been great over the last year or so, getting back to delivering a ‘face-2-face’ fun-filled programme for the Scouts. Our Group has quadrupled taking in more young people over the last year or so which required some additional Leader support for our youngest section, Beavers. I gladly stepped in to assist and it was fantastic to see the support received from both the other Leaders as well as the parents. I love the enthusiasm and ‘can do’ attitude from them all which to me, is Scouting at its heart!
 

I’ve enjoyed getting back into Scouts so much – seeing the rewards gained by the young people – that I also willingly volunteered as an Assistant Cub Leader at another local Group, the 88th Craigalmond (Carricknowe) Scout Group. Again, being around similar like-minded volunteers has allowed me to gain invaluable experience as well as broaden my own skills including my archery adventurous activity permit. 

Recently, I joined the Bonaly ASU unit delivering adventurous activities at the Bonaly Scout Activity Centre. For me, this choice was again to provide the same opportunities to not only our Scout Group and other local Groups in the District, but it was also to provide these to the wider Scouting community. It has helped to greatly expand my own interests including archery, bushcraft, traditional scouting elements, cooking and survival skills (to name a few) with the amazing ASU team based at the Centre. It’s also allowed me to learn some new skills such as nettle cordage, burn scrambling, tomahawk throwing, new teamwork challenge games, etc. 

The best about Scouting
Thinking back, the best thing about Scouting has just been seeing the smiling faces and hearing those words ‘it’s been great, thankyou!’ when the young people finish their activity. You know then that some of those memories gained by yourself have been passed on to others.
 

Why should people consider volunteering with Scouts?
Volunteering has helped provide a means to expand my own skillsets further, within each of the differing roles. It has offered a chance to meet similar enthusiastic volunteers from all walks of life, some with no or little knowledge of Scouting and others, with vast experience willing to pass this on to others. It’s given me a new outlet (or excuse) for getting away from the usual work pressures, doing things that I enjoy personally with the benefit given to our next generation!
 

I can’t wait to see what new challenges or skills can be gained this year within Scouting. Definitely hoping to try more watersports this year with our Group and looking forward to getting outdoors more and learning the ‘High Ropes’ activity at Bonaly in the coming months. I highly recommend being an ASU at a Scout Activity Centres to other Leaders and volunteers. Why not come along and join us?

For those thinking about volunteering in Scouting: ‘Don’t hesitate, you will not be disappointed!’. Even a few hours a week or month can make so much  of a difference to every young person, allowing them to gain new skills and experiences that they might not necessarily gain elsewhere. 

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, adventurous activities, 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 wider Districts, the current vacancies include:

  • – Explorer Leaders
  • – Section Leaders – Squirrels, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts
  • – Section Assistants – Squirrels, 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 form which can be found using the option below. Share your details and a volunteer from your local team will be in touch soon.

Transformation Update

Transformation Update

Scott Goddard, SESS Transformation Lead, provides an update about a recent Scouts UK Transformation event, timings and how does this affect you?

Visit to Gilwell Park, UK Scout HQ

At the end of February, myself and  Martin Elliot, our Regional Commissioner, went to Gilwell Park along with Transformation Leads from the 9 other Counties/Regions who will be adopting the changes to our Volunteer Experience ahead of the rest of the UK over the coming months. It was a real treat to partner with many of the UK Scout Team leading the 4 changes to hear how plans are progressing.

Like any Scout weekend, it always feels like it lasts a week rather than a couple of days. I mean this in a good way of course, it was great to be able to immerse ourselves in the project ahead of us without other distractions. I came away, reminded of the importance of making the changes, reassured that we have a new digital tool on the way that is fit for purpose and motivated to take on the challenge of leading the changes in South East Scotland throughout 2023 so that we are ready to switch over in November.

UPDATED Timeline

We are on schedule to move to our new digital system(Digital support | Scouts) in November 2023. Some changes like the new appointments process (A warmer welcome | Scouts) and improved adult training programme (More engaging learning | Scouts) are dependent on the new digital system so won’t happen until November. 

Other changes including the new teams based approach to volunteering (Simplifying volunteering | Scouts), and the move from Executive Committees to Trustee Boards will start to happen throughout the next 8 months. Please see below for an overview of when the changes start to happen throughout this year. 

How does this affect you?

For most volunteer roles in our Region there will be very little change to the way they volunteer, but hopefully a much-improved volunteer experience. If you are involved in a few specialist roles like Leader training or the adult Appointment Process there is a risk that you might feel that your job is going to be made redundant! I’m anxious to stress that this really couldn’t be further from the truth. Volunteers in these roles will be just as important and valued as before, it’s just that the way you contribute might look slightly different. The changes ahead create the opportunity to channel your skillset in a way that is going to have more impact and help the Region offer skills for life for more young people, and indeed have the satisfaction of supporting a growing number of adult volunteers. I’m looking forward to working with you over the coming months to help with this transition along with Martin or your DC.

Help with the new structure

We will be working closely with Districts in the coming month or two to mould the new volunteering structure into something that works for your District. Once this has been done we will be encouraging and supporting Groups to adapt to the new teams-based approach.

What can I do now?

There is no harm in reminding everyone again to make a point of checking that their Compass records are up to date, and make sure you have your own unique email address on Compass as this will be needed to access the new digital system. Please encourage others who you know don’t access Compass to do so too. 

Also, keep an eye out for some short videos that Martin and I have just recorded which aim to explain a bit more detail about the changes coming with a bit of background as to why the changes are needed and the opportunities they present. And of course, a wealth of information, tools and support as part of our Change Plan to make you feel supported and excited about the change.

Please do keep in touch with any questions or suggestions. 

Scott Goddard
Transformation Lead
South East Scotland Scouts
Scott.goddard@sesscouts.org.uk