Scouting Goes Green

Nearly 20 months after face to face Scouting was curtailed by the COVID pandemic, November saw Scouting in Scotland move to the Green Readiness level. This is another major step in our return to “normal” Scouting and the best #SkillsForLife experiences for our young people. 

It should be noted that Green Readiness does not mean that all restrictions are removed and whilst all meetings and events are permitted indoors and outdoors with no limit of numbers (except for Scout ratios) and no physical distancing is required, face coverings must be worn in indoor locations by everyone aged 12+.

The change of readiness level does mean that international travel is now also permitted but any group considering international travel is encouraged to review the latest guidance from Scouts Scotland and reach out to Simon Innes , Regional Advisor (International) to review any plans. 

At present the Green readiness level is not affected by the recent return of England and Wales back to Yellow readiness level, but it is possible that the situation could change and we will continue to keep you updated via our Regional communications channels.

The move to Green does not mean that the risk from COVID has gone away and all members are encouraged to review the risk assessments that they have in place and continue to take every reasonable precaution to keep people safe:

  • good hand hygiene and surface cleaning
  • good ventilation
  • face coverings for age 12+ indoors (including at camp) and on public/dedicated transport
  • compliance with Test and Protect and the need for accurate registers at every event/meeting.

This is another sign that we are moving in the right direction and I would like to thank all our volunteers and staff for the sacrifices that I know so many have made during this challenging time and the dedication that you have shown to Scouting in South East Scotland. 

Stay safe.

Martin Elliot
Regional Commissioner
rc@sesscouts.org.uk 

Regional Appointments Update

Regional Appointments Update

As well as giving us an opportunity to celebrate all that has been achieved over the past year, despite the challenges of COVID, the Regional Review and AGM gave us an opportunity to look forward to the opportunities that the future presents. In my Regional Commissioner’s Report I was able to give some of my thoughts on how we move forward as a Region as we continue to recover and rebuild and we will be sharing more details on that in the coming months.

An important foundation for growth is having the right people in place and so I was delighted that we made a number of new Regional appointments at the AGM.

John Bruce, Regional Vice-President

When John Cannon (Regional Chair), Dick Allan (Regional President) and I agreed to look at expanding the Regional Presidential team, John Bruce was an obvious choice. John brings a huge amount of experience, having been a District Commissioner, Edinburgh Area Commissioner, Regional Secretary to name just a few of the roles he has held during his 55 years in Scouting. John’s enthusiasm for Scouting in South East Scotland continues unabated and I know that he is keen to use his new role to help support the ongoing development in Scouting within the Region and I look forward to working with him to look at how best he can do this in his new role.

I would like to personally congratulate John on his new role which is a great recognition of the huge amount of work that he has done for Scouting.

Simon Innes, Regional Vice Chair

Simon InnesAs Regional Commissioner, I was very pleased to be able to nominate Simon for the role of Regional Vice Chair. Having joined the Regional Executive Committee at our 2020 AGM, he has already made an important contribution to the running of the Executive Committee and I look forward to working with him and John Cannon (Regional Chair) to continue the positive direction that we are moving in.

As the Region continues to look at how we can best support our local managers, Simon brings an important insight to the Executive through his role as Group Scout Leader of the 108th Pentland (Colinton) group. As Vice Chair, Simon will also take responsibility for our Regional Risk Committee and the important work that they do identifying, assessing and managing the risks that we as a Region face.

Regional Executive Committee Members

We were pleased that following our call for new members to stand for election to the Regional Executive Committee, that Scott Goddard, Sue Liddle and Colin Orr all agreed to join the committee as elected members. All three bring important on the ground experience through their roles as section leaders which will help to ensure that the Regional Executive Committee is well positioned to support our adult volunteers. I would like to thank all three for their willingness to take on this important role and look forward to working with them to support the work of the Region.

You can find out more about Scott in our recent Meet the Volunteer article

The AGM also gave us an opportunity to thank those Executive Members whose terms were coming to an end:

  • Andrew Green
  • Alistair Mcneill
  • Euan Mcfadzean
  • Mark Hesketh

for the huge amount of work that they have done to support the work of the Committee as well as Scouting in the wider Region.

Tribute was also paid to Graeme Robertson who stood down as Regional Vice Chair after 4 years in the role and I was delighted to be able to award him a Commissioner’s Commendation in recognition of the support and leadership that he has provided to the Region during that time, not least during the pandemic where he spearheaded the Regional Executive’s response to the crisis.

Following the AGM, Douglas Allan, Regional Vice-President also decided to step down from his role after 8 years. I would like to thank Douglas for his service to the Region since he started as an Assistant Scout Leader in 1960. Douglas has held a wide range of roles over this time including as Assistant Area Commissioner for Adult Training and Scottish Commissioner for Development before joining the Regional Presidential team in 2013. 

Finally, I would also like to thank Roseanne Allison who recently stepped down from her role as Regional Advisor (Additional Support Needs). In her time in the role she has provided advice and support to many volunteers to help them adapt their programme to make it more inclusive for those with additional support needs and I have very much valued her counsel since I took on the Regional Commissioner Role. 

Martin Elliot
Regional Commissioner
rc@sesscouts.org.uk 

Scouting For & Shaped by Young People – Regional Commissioner’s Update

Scouting For & Shaped by Young People – Regional Commissioner’s Update

This term it has been great to be able to get out and join groups and districts across the Region as they run events, camps and adventurous activities and to see young people gaining #SkillsForLife and most importantly having fun!

Thank you to all of the adult volunteers who have invited me to events and I look forward to continuing to get out and about more now that we can.


I have also enjoyed getting to attend a number of Annual General Meetings (AGMs) recently, seeing the great ways that volunteers across South East Scotland have kept on Scouting in the challenging times that we are going through and to get the chance to thank them, either in person or virtually, for all that they do. 

We recently held our Regional AGM which highlighted some of our successes over the year and if you haven’t already, I would encourage you to watch our 2020-21 Highlights video and to read our Regional Annual Report 2020-21.

Youth Shaped Scouting

In my report to the AGM I spoke about some of the areas that I will be working with the Regional Leadership Team and Regional Executive Committee on as we take forward our Regional Strategy. One of the areas that I spoke about was Youth Involvement. We already have good examples across the Region of how young people shape their Scouting experience but there are always ways that we can increase engagement. 

This month saw Scouting release its new YouShape award, which is one way that we are working to make it easier to have a programme that is youth shaped whilst providing another way for young people from all sections to have an opportunity to develop important skills that will help them in their future life. Looking at how we ensure that young people have opportunities to shape their Scouting experience is an important part of the UK Scouts and Scouts Scotland Skills For Life Strategies and is one of my priorities as we continue to look at taking the Region forward. We have already taken steps to do this with involving young people in our recruitment processes and in the selection process for the World Scout Jamboree being just two examples but we recognise that there is still more to be done.

To help us to develop our youth involvement I am looking for a small number of volunteers – young and not so young – to join a short term working group to focus on this subject. If you are interested in this please e-mail me at rc@sesscouts.org.uk.

One way that our young people’s voices can be heard is through Scout Scotland’s elected Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) who represent the views of our youth members at the Scottish Youth Parliament. I am extremely proud that all three candidates for the MSYP elections are South East Scotland Scouts members. I would like to offer huge congratulations to Avery, Niamh and Ewan for this achievement and thank them for being prepared to represent members of Scouting across Scotland in this important role. I wish all three the best of luck for the campaign and would encourage young people and adult volunteers to participate in the upcoming hustings. Find out more about the candidates and sign up for the hustings here.

We have also seen great youth involvement in our top awards with more than 250 young people gaining Gold, Silver and Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Awards during the recent expeditions run by the SEEE team – in the words of one participant said it was “Great to look back and see what you have accomplished”. I would also like to congratulate Edward Maxfield on being the second young person in South East Scotland Region to achieve the Scout of the World Award – a great example of Youth Involvement in action!

25th World Scout Jamboree

One of the examples I gave earlier was the upcoming World Scout Jamboree. In Summer 2023, more than 40,000 Scouts from all over the world will gather in Korea. 

The Unit Leadership Team for Unit 8 (made up of South East Scotland Region and GirlGuiding) has now been appointed and I was pleased to meet with Unit Leader Steven Maclennan and Regional Adviser (International) Simon Innes to begin looking at how we best support the unit contingent. 

We were all in agreement that it was important that we ensure that young people who are going to get the most from attending are able to participate regardless of background or circumstances and Simon and I will be working with the Regional Executive Committee to look at how we can remove any barriers to participation. 

If you know of young people who may be interested in being part of our contingent please encourage them to attend one of the unit’s upcoming roadshow webinars to find out more about the Jamboree and how they can become part of the unit. They can sign up for these here 

Finally 

As we look to the future I look forward to seeing our newest section give more young people the opportunity to get involved. Good luck to the 25th Braid and the 21st Craigalmond groups as they start to establish the first Squirrel dreys in the Region. 

I finished our Regional AGM by recognising that while it has been a very challenging year we should all be very proud of what has been achieved in South East Scotland over the last year and as we look forward to the possibilities that the future offers us I shared these words from Bear Grylls. Thank you all for everything that you have done for Scouting in the Region and I am very excited for what the future holds for us.

Best wishes,

Martin

Martin Elliot
Regional Commissioner
rc@sesscouts.org.uk 

Mike Treanor Appointed Deputy Regional Commissioner

Mike Treanor Appointed Deputy Regional Commissioner

I am very pleased to announce that Mike Treanor has agreed to remain part of the Regional Leadership team as a volunteer and has taken on the role of Deputy Regional Commissioner.

In this important role, Mike will support me in my role as Regional Commissioner and I look forward to working closely with him to provide ongoing leadership and support for the more than 6000 young people and 2000 adult volunteers within the Region. Mike will take on specific responsibility for the People strand of our Regional strategy which includes Training, Communication, Additional Support Needs, Safety and Safeguarding and will work closely with the members of the Regional Leadership team responsible for these areas to continue to support and engage with volunteers across South East Scotland.

Having served as our Scouting Support Officer until June this year, Mike is well known to many across the Region and brings a large amount of Scouting experience to the role. A specific area in which Mike will be looking at is how we can improve our support for Group Scout Leaders within the Region, recognising the important role that they play in providing local leadership for adult volunteers.

On his new role, Mike said “I am looking forward to taking on the role of Deputy Regional Commissioner, supporting Martin, our young people and adult volunteers, and working closely with members of the Leadership Teams.”

Please join me in congratulating Mike on his new role.

Martin Elliot
Regional Commissioner
rc@sesscouts.org.uk 

Thanks and New Faces

Thanks and New Faces

I am pleased to announce that I have made a number of appointments to the Regional Leadership Team. Find out more about our new (and familiar) faces below.

Martin Elliot
Regional Commissioner

George Devine, Active Support Manager, Bonaly Active Support Unit

In this role, George will be a key member of both my Regional Leadership Team and the Bonaly Leadership Team led by Peter Casebow.

George will be a well-kent face to some in the Region from his long association with Bonaly as well as his past roles in the Region which included Assistant Area Commissioner for Venture Scouts in Edinburgh Area. George was also manager of the UK International ASU until last year.

In this role George will manage our incredible team of volunteers at Bonaly Scout Centre and will be a key link between the ASU and the Bonaly and Regional Leadership Teams.

Please join me in congratulating George on his new roles and wishing him every success.

Of his new role, George said: “This is almost like coming full circle. My relationship with Bonaly started around the age of 13 or 14, I was clearing the Roman Bath. Now, 56 years on and I’m still cleaning it! I have under taken a number of roles in my Scouting career and I am really looking forward to this one.”

Neil Hogg, Squirrels Advisor

Neil Hogg

I am very pleased that Neil Hogg has agreed to extend his existing responsibilities as Assistant Regional Commissioner (Section Support) for the Beaver, Cub and Scout Sections to become the Region’s Squirrel Advisor. 

The new Squirrels section is for 4 and 5 years olds and our first Squirrel drey within the Region is due to launch later this year. In this important role Neil will work with the Regional Commissioner and Scouting Support Officer to support groups establishing or looking to establish Squirrel dreys to provide Scouting opportunities to more young people. 

I am very grateful to Neil for agreeing to take on this role and look forward to working with him to make our newest section successful in South East Scotland. 

 

Hermione Morris, Regional Communications Working Group

Recognising the importance of communication both to those within and outwith the Region, particularly over the past 18 months, the Regional Communications Working Group was established in 2020. As some members of the group have stepped down recently, I am pleased that Hermione Morris has agreed to join the group and support its work helping manage the Region’s communication channels. She will also look at how we can further improve our engagement and outreach.

Sadly, we also had to say goodbye to one member of the Regional Leadership team as Martin Browne, Assistant Regional Commissioner (Communications) decided to step back from Scouting. Martin has held a number of roles in his time in the Region, including Group Scout Leader, Assistant RC (Youth Involvement) and Acting District Commissioner in Midlothian. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Martin for his contributions to the work of the Region in all of these roles and the work that he has done most recently to expand our communications reach, particularly through social media. I have benefitted from Martin’s advice and counsel both as chair of the Communications Working Group and more recently taking on the RC role.

ScotJam on Tour 2021

It’s great to be back! ScotJam on Tour 2021 on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th July 2021 was a resounding success with 120 young people enjoying fun in the sun at Bonaly Scout Centre.

This year’s ScotJam was a completely new event due to COVID-19. ScotJam is normally an annual event, previously held at Scout Adventures Lochgoilhead, but this year the ScotJam experience was brought to the South East region – Bonaly Scout Centre – as part of a series of 8 regional events. Introducing ScotJam on Tour!

What is ScotJam?
Action-packed events like ScotJam have been limited over the past year due to COVID however with restriction changes we had the chance to offer our young people a chance to try new activities, develop new skills, and create lifelong memories. By hosting ScotJam on Tour in the South East, we were able to host a collaborative Regional event including 120 young people – Cubs (60) and Scouts (60) and adult volunteers – from across the 7 Districts bringing the adventure to as many as was possible in line with current Scottish Government guidance and Scouts Scotland readiness levels. We understand we were unable to accommodate everyone who applied, but we’re already working on ideas. More information will be shared soon!

ScotJam activities:
ScotJam on Tour at the Bonaly Scout Centre showcased the full range of activities at the 24-acre site to the South of Edinburgh at the foot of the Pentland hills. Events ran from 10am to 7.30pm both days, with a range of adventure activities tailored to Cubs or Scouts which included: Climbing, Burns Scramble, Archery, Tomahawk Throwing, Camouflage Tracking, Nightline and so much more including wide games and a campfire.

ScotJam was an amazing experience for everybody; participants and volunteers. It exemplified what we do best in Scouting, providing amazing, adventurous experiences and bringing young people and adults together who would otherwise not have an opportunity to meet.

The ScotJam on Tour team is unique in that it is formed of local volunteers, national volunteers, Scout Adventures staff, Bonaly Centre staff and also included external providers. One of the notable elements of ScotJam is the excellent staff team spirit, formed from the tremendous level of co-operation and comradeship that exists. True to the ideals of Scouting, everybody was willing to help other people. A big thanks to our brilliant volunteer group who made the two-day event go so smoothly.

For everybody at ScotJam, the safety and supervision of the participants was always our primary concern. The personal standards and example set by leaders makes a significant contribution towards this.

Message from Martin Elliot, Regional Commissioner:

It was great to see so many young people enjoying Scouting together at Bonaly Scout Centre during ScotJam on Tour. By focusing on a high-quality programme in Scouting – including ScotJam on Tour – we can build on our success and continue to recover and grow as a movement. We need more young people and volunteers to come with us on our growth journey. We help 6,000 young people aged 6-25 years old annually to step up, speak up and gain the skills they need to succeed in life. But it can only happen with the help of our adult volunteers. We have approximately 2,000 leaders and adult supporters. Volunteering’s not just about giving back – it goes both ways. It improves your wellbeing, gives you skills for the future, and helps you make new friends and memories.

You don’t need to be Bear Grylls to join us. You don’t need to have been a Scout when you were younger. You don’t even need to know how to put up a tent! Our door is open to people of all ages, genders, races and backgrounds, and we’re only able to change lives because people like you lend a hand. We’re talking about tea makers, tidy-uppers and skill sharers. We’re talking about mini bus drivers and first aiders. We’re talking about students who want to boost their CV, and parents who volunteer so they can spend more time together as a family.

Whatever your skillset, lend a hand for as little or as much time as you can spare, and we promise you’ll get more out than you put in. Because whether you’re helping a leader to run an activity in the local town hall, organising a night away, or buttering slices of bread for a group of very hungry eleven year olds – no two Scouting meetings are the same. The difference you make, though, is always great. Don’t worry we provide the necessary training. You show up, get stuck in, and make memories for life.  Sounds fun? Worthwhile? It is! Why not read some volunteer stories or watch a short video here and get in touch to find out more how you can gain skills while helping others – https://sesscouts.org.uk/volunteers/

Scouting encourages young people to be the best that they can be. At ScotJam on Tour everyone enjoyed fun, friendship and outdoor adventure. The young people were able to develop their leadership and teamwork skills, make new friends, develop their confidence and a sense of determination and drive to achieve. Now we want to do more.

You look like a role model: What can I do for Scouts and what can Scouts do for me?

Volunteering is so rewarding and we need your help. Whether you want to work with young people directly or help behind the scenes, whatever your skills, experience and interests, we can find a role for you! All our volunteers end up making a huge difference to young people’s lives – gifting them with skills for life, and learning a whole lot about themselves along the way. Start your volunteer journey here https://sesscouts.org.uk/volunteers/