Windsor Day of Celebration and Achievement 2024

Windsor Day of Celebration and Achievement 2024

South East Scotland member, Pippa Skinner recently travelled down to Windsor to take part in the Day of Celebration and Achievement with 400 other scouts from across the United Kingdom.

The day itself is an opportunity for The Scout Association to celebrate and highlight the outstanding commitment and achievement of our King’s Scouts, Gallantry and Meritorious award recipients and adult volunteers. We caught up with Pippa to find out more about the journey that started in 2015 and culminated with receiving her King’s Scout Award in 2024.

On 21st April, I was part of the Scottish contingent attending the Day of Celebration and Achievement at Windsor Castle to be awarded my King’s Scout Award.

My journey to Windsor began in 2015 when I joined 122nd Craigalmond (Comely Bank) Scout Troop. With the support of my Scout Leader, Graham Scrimgeour, and the 122nd leadership team, I took part in many activities over my 4 years in the troop. Highlights included going to a Danish Jamboree in 2017, camping (generally in the rain), abseiling, hiking and sailing at Lochgoilhead. With the encouragement of my Group Lead Volunteer, Graeme Robertson, I attended the World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia in 2019, which really gave me the appetite to achieve my King’s Scout Award.

Moving up to the Pink Panther Explorer Unit, this opened up new opportunities to continue ticking off the stages for KSA. This included several novel and exciting activities created by Pink Panther Explorer Unit Leader, Fraser Dunmore including camps at Canty Bay and Weymss Firs, while also completing my expeditions and leadership challenges. This all culminated in camping in Finland for 2 weeks in 2022.

My day at Windsor began by meeting other King’s Scout Award holders, which reminded me of the friendships I’ve made across the wider Scouting community and the challenges we have shared in achieving our awards. As the Scottish contingent led the 400 other awardees onto the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle, the sense of occasion and our shared experiences really hit home.

It’s at this point I realised the contribution Scout Leaders make in our development, and particularly the impact Graham, Graeme and Fraser had in developing my #SkillsForLife.

For anyone wondering if they should take on this challenge themselves and become a King’s Scout, I’d say, Just go for it and take advantage of all the opportunities you are offered. It’s all so much easier than you think, and you’ll be proud of what you achieve.

I am now at the University of Exeter, and these skills made my move much easier and helped me to develop new connections and friendships.

Everyone here at South East Scotland Scouts are immensely proud of Pippa and all of the Young People who have worked so hard and achieved so much.

While congratulating Pippa, Fraser Dunmore, Pink Panthers Explorer Scout Unit Leader stated that Pippas’ “proactive approach to seizing every opportunity has resulted in an incredible journey. The life skills you’ve gained are invaluable”. Fraser continued by encouraging “all Explorers and Network members to embrace Scouting opportunities and pursue the King Scout Award challenge!”

122nd Craigalmond (Comley Bank) Group Lead Volunteer, Graeme Robertson noted that “Pippa is the first former Scout from the Comely Bank Scouts in living memory to have achieved the top award in Scouting.  It has been an absolute delight to see her grow from a timid young Scout to a confident young adult, and we were lucky to welcome her back as a Young Leader with our Troop, while she was completing the service elements of her King’s Scout Award.

I often talk to others (both within and outwith Scouting) about Pippa being a shining example of the opportunities Scouting can offer to young people, and the fantastic outcomes that Scouting can help them achieve. It has been both a privilege and a pleasure to have played a small part in supporting her progress through Scouting.”

Chief Scout, Bear Grylls OBE stated that “Our King’s Scouts make us all so proud. They’ve shown the courage, the kindness and the commitment to tackle anything in life, helping others and serving their communities. Not just of this great movement, but of our country too”

Windsor – Take Centre Stage

If, like Pippa, you’ve gained your Queen’s Scout Award or King’s Scout Award why not Take Centre Stage at Windsor Castle?

Each year, we recruit young people and adults to take a leading role in our annual Day of Celebration and Achievement at Windsor Castle.

We’re looking for enthusiastic people who’ll take on lots of exciting and challenging roles at the event. These volunteers make the experience enjoyable for everyone who attends.

The Team of Ten includes six members of the Colour Party, who march with the flags throughout the day, and four members of the Service Planning and Delivery Team, who deliver the National Scout Service in St George’s Chapel.

If you want to find out more or apply for 2025, please click here. The deadline to apply is 31 July 2024.

Borders Scout Leader awarded for going above and beyond

Borders Scout Leader awarded for going above and beyond

Districts

Quick links

Martin Elliot, Regional Commissioner, and Nina Kunkel

Scout Leader Nina Kunkel returned to Scouting 6 years ago when her eldest child joined the Beaver Scouts in Lauder part of the Borders Scouts District, having previously been from a Scouting Family in Ireland she was keen to get involved and learn all about Scouting in the UK, initially joining as the Beaver Scout Leader for the newly formed Tuesday Beavers. Her enthusiasm for the role was contagious and the colony of Beavers was quickly at maximum numbers and enjoying a full and varied programme.

Her Scouting progressed as her children moved up through the sections into Cubs and then Scouts but as the world turned upside down with the Global Pandemic, Nina’s life outside Scouts needed to step up a gear. Having previously been an ITU nurse, Nina swapped her business attire as a transplant coordinator for ICU Scrubs and joined the hundreds of dedicated NHS staff putting their lives at risk to help save the UK population from this new unknown covid19. 

Whilst working long shifts in the various Scottish Intensive care Units Nina was also an active member of the Cub leadership team at Lauderdale, who were probably one of the first to try the then new Scouting online, with the whole of the UK locked in their houses, Schools and businesses were shut but the Cubs met weekly on zoom, with quizzes, bingo, armpit fudge and taskmaster to name but a few of the meetings.

As the Scouting year continued in 2020 the young people were eventually allowed to meet face to face with outdoor restrictions, Nina continued to work in ITU as well as be at Cub meetings. In November 2020 sadly Nina caught Covid 19 at work and was quite poorly, but fortunately, she managed to recover and was back Scouting in 2021.

With this dedication to Scouting and volunteering to be in the thick of the NHS’ front line it was an easy decision for the South East Scotland Regional Commissioner Martin Elliot to award Nina with a Commissioners Commendation at a surprise visit to a camp in East Lothian on Saturday 27th August. 

Congratulations Nina from all the Young People and Leaders in Lauderdale Scout Group. the Scottish Borders and South East Scotland Scouts.

Scouting wishes, 

Andy Beaumont
District Commissioner, Borders Scouts District

Volunteer opportunity available

If you enjoy reading this and it resonates with you, then please get in touch to find out how you can become an adult volunteer in any one of the local Scout Groups across the Scottish Borders. It’s so rewarding for you in so many ways. You’ll only know if you try. You can work directly with the young people or more behind the scenes in whatever flexible role suits you in time, skill and space. You don’t have to have had any prior Scouting experience, you just need to want to do good, and help others.  If you believe in this as a set of values then this is a great opportunity for you. What’s not to like!  Please email us for an informal, no obligation, chat. 

SEEE DofE Events – Borders

SEEE DofE Events – Borders

D of E has normally been completed in the Scottish Borders District through the schools but a couple of years ago we decided to get some leaders though their expedition assessors’ course and start running our own expeditions and awards.  

Then Covid happened! Our Summer 2020 expeditions were cancelled, and we didn’t know when they would take place. Move forward to Autumn 2020 and temporary changes to the rules allowed expeditions without camping. Borders District joined other districts in the Pentlands to run Bronze qualifying & Silver practice expeditions.

Spring 2021, a new cohort of Bronze from the Borders were preparing for their expedition, but new Covid restrictions prevented them attending the Pentland Hills. So, a Borders based expedition was planned around the Eildon Hills.

The weekend of the 7,8 and 9th May saw 20 Explorers from the Lauderdale and Tweedglen units unite to form 3 expedition teams. Approximately 17km each day through the rolling Borders hills.

Friday night started the weekend with a last zoom briefing and quiz, Saturday took the expedition groups in a loop north of Melrose testing their navigation skills through a mixture of farming and open ground. The weather was as much of a test as the navigation, with heavy rain, winds and cold temperatures. 

The 3 teams all made good progress and coped with the tricky navigation of parts of the first day, they finished off with cooking tea in Melrose before heading home.

Sunday promised slightly better weather and the temperatures were certainly a few degrees warmer, the teams assembled from 8:30am. Two teams started along the banks of Tweed and the third with a sharp assent of the Eildon Hills, both working in opposite directions they would pass each other at lunch time.

The weather still had its surprises with more heavy rain, but it didn’t seem to dampen the participants spirits. With teams arriving back in Melrose just before 5pm they all look tired but very proud of what they had achieved.

To my knowledge this is our first Scottish Borders based Bronze Expedition planned and run by the Borders District Scouts but it won’t be the last, a great achievement and congratulations to all the Leaders involved, here’s to the next expedition.

Andy Beaumont
District Commissioner, Borders District

Braid 100 Years

Braid 100 Years

28th Braid Scout Troop (formerly Liberton, Salisbury and Blackford) are celebrating their Centenary year. If there are any former 28th Scouts out there that have not been contacted about the celebrations, please get in touch with Alan Dickson alanjdickson@live.co.uk

Pentland Brass Monkey 2020

Pentland Brass Monkey 2020

At the start of February, Bonaly played host to the annual Pentland Brass Monkey camp which was attended by 240 Scouts and 80 adults. This year’s event saw troops from West and East Lothian taking part for the first time, as well as the usual suspects from Pentland.

Strong winds were the first challenge on the Drum Field for the participants as tents were hastily erected after arrival on the Saturday. All four subcamps managed to succeed without any tents becoming airborne.

After a welcome meeting at the campfire circle, all the Scouts took part in Saturday afternoons “International Themed” activities. This consisted of teams of 3 or 4 attempting to complete 36 activity bases to earn points. Activities included dizzy football, giant chopsticks, mine sweeper and hoop horns. The winning team was Japan from the 100th Pentland.

After a sing song at the campfire and a filling roast beef dinner it was time for the evening activities such as a very muddy game of four-way football, a hectic ‘minute to win it’ competition, a challenging Simba’s game and a captivating game of sit-down bingo.

In the morning after a wet night, with all the not so dry tents packed away and a hot filling breakfast it was time to head up to Bonaly Country Park for a selection of wide games. Despite the miserable weather spirits were still high and it was brilliant to see everyone taking part in the activities. Once they were over it was back down to the campfire circle and just as the sun began to shine it was time to close the camp (typical) and everyone headed back down the road to go home and dry off.

Well done to all the Scouts who braved the Scottish February weather and survived the camp. Also, a huge thank you to all the adults who took part in the camp especially the core team of Kirsty, Ross, Stewart and Sue.

21st Midlothian Newtongrange raise money for Australia

21st Midlothian Newtongrange raise money for Australia

The 21st Midlothian Newtongrange Scout Group has raised an amazing £685.90 for the Australian Bushfire disaster at a fundraiser held at its hall.

The money raised will be split 50/50 between Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund and the Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund.

The Group would like to thank the local community who came and supported the fundraising effort and the young people and adults who gave up their time to make it all possible.