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.

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

162nd Braid Scouts have an amazing time in Kandersteg

162nd Braid Scouts have an amazing time in Kandersteg

On  28 July 2019, 17 Scouts and 8 Leaders from our troop based at Liberton Kirk, set off for a week’s camp at the International Scout Centre in Kandersteg Switzerland.

Our flight was delayed and the weather was awful the night we arrived so we were very late in arriving at the Centre, but everyone was in excellent spirits and we got settled in very quickly.

We spent Monday getting our bearings round the huge campsite, meeting scouts from all over the world.  We also went into the village in the afternoon for a spot of souvenir ordering and swimming in the stunning outdoor pool.  The evening was spent enjoying a torchlit walk with other scouts.

Tuesday saw us take a gondola to Oecheninsee glacier lake.  Our scouts took a guided walk around the cliff edge above the beautiful lake – this was a 5 ½ hour hike in challenging terrain and extremely hot weather, but every single person that went on the hike made it round and faced personal challenges on the way.

On the Wednesday, we were up super early for a coach trip to pick up our first train taking us up to Jungfrauoch, named the summit of Europe.  The train journey’s up were just stunning, when we got out of cloud and the observation stop at Eismeer, in the middle of the mountain was amazing.  The scouts spent several hours at the summit, taking in all it had to offer.  The train returned us to Kleine Scheideg where we joined another group of Scouts from the UK and we all hiked down to Grindewald.

Thursday – 1 August – National Swiss Day and birthday of scouting.  Really fun activities around KISC centre, outdoor breakfast and a BBQ, before we all donned formal uniform for a torchlit march into Kandersteg village for a bonfire and firework display.

Friday saw another early start heading on the train to Thun, where we picked up white water rafting to Berne.  This was such a brilliant activity and we got to jump in from the boats and swim alongside them in beautifully clear, warm waters.

On our final full day, we took the gondola again out of Kandersteg village and spent the first half of the morning on the rodalbhan, a metal toboggan track that chicanes down the mountain side, riding on a plastic sled!  Brilliant fun.  We then hiked back to the glacier lake for a dip in the waters there before we hiked back into the village and revisited the outdoor pool for the afternoon.

We had the most incredible trip and as leader in charge, I could not be prouder of our Scouts and the leadership team.

If you would like to learn more about the trip to Kandersteg please get in touch with me via aileendeas@gmail.com

 

Aileen Deas
Assistant Group Scout Leader
162nd Braid

A proper expedition – not just tourists!

Two groups of Explorers formed from Braid and Craigalmond carried out an excellent DofE Gold expedition over four days at the end of August, walking from Corrour Station and completing their circular route at Rannoch. 

One candidate unfortunately had to drop out on day 3 with an ankle problem but the other twelve completed the expedition in style, one group singing ‘Country road, take me home …’ to keep their spirits up on the last stretch. 

“It was fun.”  “I’m rather sad it’s over.”  “The views were spectacular.” “We really loved seeing a group of tourists watch us wade over the flooded causeway then turn back rather than do the same.” “The best bit was on the last day when we could see back up to the saddle we had climbed on the first day and we realised what we had achieved.”

They all had a sense of humour.  For instance, when asked how they had crossed the river the answer was “After considerable discussion and deliberation”.  And one commented at the debrief session near the end “No ticks, but there’s still a kilometre to go.”

Both groups enjoyed being out in the wilds with no phone signal and relying on burns for water.  They had built up their skills over the previous levels and really appreciated meeting and working together with new friends and having time to chat about things at the campsites.  They were delighted by the perfect weather: almost no rain and enough wind to keep the midges away for a lot of the time. They all intend to get back into the hills again.

The groups did very interesting presentations based on their purpose: one studying Gaelic place names, the other comparing the three big estates they walked through.

They can take a real pride in their achievement and are to be congratulated on it.  Thanks and congratulations are also due to the many adults who helped directly and indirectly with the training, practice and qualifying expeditions done at Bronze, Silver and Gold over several years, and without whom this would not have happened.

John Buchanan DofE Assessor, and ARC (Explorers)

Braid Scouts visit Scottish Parliament and hold investiture there

One of our Friday Night Troop Meetings in May took the form of a visit to the Scottish Parliament which, of course, was built within Braid District (excellent choice).  Our guide and host for the evening was our local MSP, Daniel Johnson, who met us at the front door before guiding us through the necessary security.  As we are planning an overseas trip next year, this was good practice in getting the Scouts to concentrate on what they had to do.

Daniel showed us round the public parts of the building and those reserved for the politicians and staff.  In one of the committee rooms, he explained the purpose and functioning of the committees which gives members of the public the opportunity to present and give evidence to MSPs. 

The final part of the tour was in the magnificent main debating chamber and all the Scouts were able to sit in the seat of an MSP and even those of the ‘heid yins’ before firing questions at Daniel.  This then led to a very special part of the evening for our four youngest Scouts, who had been told to look their very smartest for the evening.  They became the very first Scouts from the 28th to be invested in these grand surroundings and perhaps the first ever Scouts from anywhere.  It was a memorable end to a very interesting evening and we were very grateful to Daniel for giving up his time.

Alan Dickson
Scout Leader, 28th Braid Scout Group 

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award leaders meet Earl of Forfar

The Earl of Forfar (who is better known as Prince Edward), met a group of our leaders at a reception in the City Chambers on 4 July for DofE leaders from across Edinburgh and the Lothians.  Simon Cocker of Meadows ESU, Sam Dickinson of Borestane ESU and Janet Paterson, DofE expedition organiser, represented Braid, Pentland and Craigalmond Districts respectively, along with John Buchanan, one of our two Regional Advisers for DofE.  We were accompanied by the new DofE Manager from SHQ, Calum Lorimer. 

At this very pleasant event we were able to report considerable success in organising DofE through Scouting in our Region: 56 young people have successfully completed their Bronze expedition this season and 18 Silvers and 14 Golds look forward to completing theirs.  The DofE awards dovetail closely with the Chief Scout’s Platinum and Diamond and with the Queen’s Scout Award.

Those of us present were very conscious that we were representing the many adults who contribute towards this success by helping with administration, training, supervision and assessment.  The best model is clearly that of cooperation within and across the Districts, as nobody can run DofE alone. 

Training and help are available and interested adults are encouraged to contact the Regional Adviser(s) for advice using dofe@sesscouts.org.uk. Any offers of assistance will be most welcome. It is also worth reminding young adult leaders that they can complete or start the Gold Award, as they have until the age of 25 to do so.

John Buchanan
Assistant Regional Commissioner (Explorers)

Bronze Award expedition

Silver Award expedition

Gold Award expedition