Iain Gray, MSP for East Lothian visits East Lothian Beavers

Iain has risen to the challenge and has agreed to complete the Scouts Scotland Youth Advocacy Award which is an award from Scouts Scotland exclusively for MSPs who are committed to raising issues related to young people in the Scottish Parliament.

He is working towards his Youth Advocacy Award by completing a number of activities in the same way all Scouts do for their badges. These actions have been chosen and designed by young people in Scouting.

He visited and joined in helping with 1st North Berwick Scout Group – Monday Beavers on 3rd June 2019 which is one of activities towards his award.

He helped our Beavers with their camp preparation which included, learning some songs with actions around our indoor campfire, helping the Beavers Scouts decide what to pack for camp so that the  Beavers can “Be Prepared“, how to unpack and pack their sleeping bag, learning how to make a reef knot and the tradition of having a Scout camp blanket. Some Beavers discussed in detail with what activities they did to earn their Personal challenge badge.

# skills for life packing up your sleeping bag 

His visit also took place during National Volunteers Week and it was a great opportunity for him to find out about the work that all our volunteers do on a weekly basis across East Lothian.

As an East Lothian MSP, he was presented with an East Lothian District Scout Necker by Hilary Cartwright, Group Scout leader, 1st North Berwick and Deputy District Commissioner of East Lothian Scout District.

1st North Berwick Scout Group wishes him well as he continues to raise issues on behalf of young people in East Lothian in the Scottish Parliament and as he strives to achieve his award.

1st North Berwick Beavers and Cubs raise over £2,000 for Summer Camp

The 1st North Berwick Scout Group has been busy recently raising much needed funds towards its annual camp.

The camp is taking place at PGL Dalguise in June. The 1st North Berwick Scout Group needed to raise money towards the cost of transport to and from the camp as 2 buses are needed for almost 100 Cubs, Beavers, leaders and the parent helpers who are expected to attend.  The annual camp is always one of the highlights of the year for the Cubs and Beavers. They will be spending 2 nights away and are able to take part in water sports and other activities that are not available locally.

In order to raise money towards the bus hire, 43 Cubs and Beavers, aged between 6 and 10 years, completed a sponsored hike on 17 March from Yellowcraig Beach back to their base at North Berwick Scout Hall.  The youngsters proudly carried their Scouting flags the entire way, helping to raise awareness of the Scout Association too.

On Saturday 30 March, the Group also held a coffee morning at North Berwick’s Hope Rooms.   The Cubs and Beavers served tea and coffee along with home baking. There was also a tombola, raffle and some lovely Mothers’ Day gifts, which all contributed towards the fund raising. The event was a real success, raising over £900, and was supported by some of the founder leaders of Beavers in East Lothian.  

Thank you to everyone within our local and scouting community for your amazing hard work and support for both these events.  We have been able to pay for the transport for the camp, meaning each child’s payment has been greatly reduced. 

With the money raised we were also able to purchase camp blankets for all the Beavers and Cubs, and had a commemorative camp badge made. We ran a design competition for it, with the winning design created by one of our Cubs, Austin Walker. Well done Austin!

Laura Hill, 1st North Berwick Beaver leader

Super Summer for North Berwick Bear Cubs

The 1st North Berwick Bear Cubs had a fun filled, action packed summer term spending most of their sessions outside. They visited the North Berwick RNLI station where the RNLI volunteers spoke about the work they do and the equipment they use. The Cubs learnt how to enjoy the water around North Berwick safely and hopefully we have some future RNLI volunteers amongst us.

North Berwick Scouts at RNLIThis image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative.

The pack also went on a number of hikes along beaches, through woodland and around lakes. They learnt about the Countryside Code, local wildlife and health and well-being. They made some fantastic dens thanks to a storm that brought down lots of branches just before our session! The Cubs also went to Auchengillan Camp with over 100 Beavers, Cubs and Scouts from North Berwick, visited Concorde and built volcanoes on the beach.

North Berwick Cubs on the BeachNorth Berwick Cubs Building Dens

East Lothian activities ideas

East Lothian activities ideas

Knots and lashings to make Scarecrows

The 1st North Berwick Bear Cubs recently created some fantastic scarecrows!! They used their knotting skills to bind the wooden poles together, before choosing some uniquely quirky clothes to style their scarecrows. Once they were stuffed and had their hats and gloves put on, they were ready to take pride of place in a local farmer’s field. There have been lots of comments from passing car drivers who have loved seeing the scarecrows’ smiling faces! 

Scarecrow in field

Cub-built scarecrow

Scarecrow built by Cubs

Knots, lashings and clothes

DIY Badge - Hungry Hippos

1st North Berwick Scouts enjoyed an evening of ‘Human Hungry Hippos’ recently.  Scout Leader David Hay split the session in two with patrols initially working towards their DIY badge, using power tools and hand tools and following instructions to construct a small trolley.

Then came the fun: one ‘hippo’ from each patrol was launched into the middle of the hall on the trolley, with a washing-up bowl ready to scoop up as many balls as possible. The patrol then hauled the hippo back with a rope and emptied the balls from the bowl, ready to go again. The winner was intended to be the patrol with the most balls but in the end so much fun was had by all that the balls were left uncounted! The trolleys have now been kept so that the game can be enjoyed by the North Berwick Group as a whole.

Making the board

DIY – preparing the board

Scouts play Hungry Hippos

Hungry Hippos game

Hauling back the trolley

Reeling in the hippo

Founder's Day

Every year in North Berwick, all our Scouts and Guides come together to celebrate our Founder’s Day in a service led by our Young People and supported by the Minister Rev. David of The Abbey Church.

This year the theme was our impact in the world on people and how important our Scouting and Guiding values are in responding to that. This was explored through the readings and prayers led by all sections in Scouts and Guides and summarised in a reflection led by the Minister.

It was a special service where the young people from each of our movements came together and worked as one to celebrate our founders and it was easy to see the legacy of Robert  Baden Powell and Olave Baden Powell as World Chief Scout and Guide at work in our community.

Founder's Day service screen

Founder’s Day Service

Flags paraded in church

Flags in church

Taking promise in church

The Promise

Photographer Badge with pinhole cameras

1st Longniddry Cubs decided to take a different approach to their Photographer Activity Badge. We built pinhole cameras, using old drink cans and photographic paper, inspired by the work of Bristol-based Justin Quinnell.  The Cubs followed the instructions on his website, http://www.pinholephotography.org/Beer%20Can%20construction.htm to make their cameras and then took photographs around the hut before they developed them in our home-made darkroom. Some of the results were amazing.

After this, their cameras were reloaded with photographic paper and the pinholes covered. The Cubs took their cameras home this time to create a solargraph. This is when you secure the camera pointing towards the south, ideally pointing towards something of interest. You then remove the pinhole cover and leave it exposed for as long as you want. This exposure will in effect ‘burn’ the image of the sun’s arc across the sky for the hours, days or months. After that you remove the photographic paper and scan the negative that was produced, then invert the image to give your final result. Most of the Cubs had images that were up to three months old.

When we showed our local librarian the images she suggested that we create a display for Longniddry Library. Everyone’s images were on display for a month and it was very well received.

One of our Cubs took his camera away loaded with photographic paper and put it up in his garden to cover the 6 months between the Summer solstice and the Winter solstice. The image is amazing and shows how the sun tracks across the sky in in gradually lower arcs each day.

We posted some of our work on our Facebook and Twitter pages and were proud to receive a Tweet from Justin Quinnell saying ‘Longniddry Rules!’

Finding new leaders

Finding new leaders


1st North Berwick Recruitment Event

To find new leaders we arranged a Scout Information evening; advertised it widely; showcased our Group and emphasised the need for more help; explained waiting lists; took details from those attending; followed up with information and offers of support.  We now have six new leaders, whose enthusiasm has invigorated our existing team and greatly strengthened our Group.


Like many Groups across the Region, we are always in need of new leaders, with increasing waiting lists and changes in circumstances of existing leaders, so we decided to launch a recruitment event in June 2017. We did this to help us continue to provide the exciting, adventurous Scouting that we already do deliver with our young people on a weekly basis, and also to support our leaders in their roles and help them sustain their commitment by sharing with others the load and privilege of being a leader.
So what did we do?

  • First, we called our event a Scout Information Evening, instead of a recruitment event, to encourage people to attend.
  • We contacted all our existing membership and waiting-list parents.
  • We used every social media outlet locally e.g. Facebook groups for primary and secondary schools, residential community groups, newsletters, church announcements, personal contacts.
  • We placed posters advertising the Information Event throughout the High Street and all high-traffic areas in our town.
The evening

We arranged the meeting in our Scout hall where we had fantastic displays from every section with amazing pictures of varied activities and experiences.  These were hugely appreciated and a great source of discussion to help illustrate what it is we do in Scouting and how we deliver it in our Group.

Many of our Group Executive  and leaders from every section attended in uniform and hosted tea and coffee on arrival so people could chat with leaders and Exec members in an informal way.

We had a slideshow ongoing through the start of the evening to demonstrate the huge range of experiences on offer.

Nearly 40 people attended, which surprised me, but equally I was thrilled, as we had no idea if anyone might turn up.

I did a short presentation about 1st North Berwick Group, what our young people thought about our Scouting, what we needed, what was the reality of a child on our waiting list ever getting into their section due to huge demand and the capacity of leaders to meet that demand. I was very open and honest about the reality and the needs we had, and stated that by becoming a leader or an exec member their child would be offered a place in recognition of the time and commitment they were willing to offer by agreeing to an appointment for a minimum of two years.

I was clear about how many leaders we hoped for and about our desire to open a new Beaver colony as that was where we had the largest waiting list and said that we wanted to increase our Scouting provision locally with parental or other adult support, by recruiting new leaders to support existing section leaders.  Some of our leaders and Exec members spoke about their role and why they got involved, and gave an honest insight into what being this meant to them.

I reassured everyone that they didn’t need a Scouting background or to be Bear Grylls but stated that they did need to have a willingness to work in partnership with young people in our community and to learn and try new things.

All who attended completed an information form with details about their child/children, and what they as adults could offer to help our group, with options of weekly to termly commitments, by running activities, helping with trips, admin support for sections, getting involved in our Exec.  This meant that afterwards we had a register of who was there and it also gave people a chance to consider what they could offer after the Information Evening.

The evening closed with a question-and-answer session.


Then the hard work began as everyone who attended was e-mailed and thanked for their interest. Those who couldn’t attend but had been in touch by phone or e-mail were also sent an information sheet to complete. The offers of help were varied and it took some time to analyse who could do what and when, and match what they could offer with what we needed as a Group.

Then those who specifically offered some assistance were invited to meet up again for a short meeting to explore their offers to see if we could turn them into a reality. A more detailed explanation was given about the Appointment process along with reassurance that training and support would be available regardless of the role undertaken.

Bottom line

The event with subsequent follow-up resulted in 8 new potential leaders being identified but two subsequently withdrew as their circumstances had changed, so we successfully recruited 6 new leaders who now help deliver our Scouting on a weekly basis plus one person on a fortnightly basis. Their enthusiasm and fresh perspectives have invigorated and supported the existing teams and 1st North Berwick Group has grown in strength, size and profile within our town. 

Hilary Cartwright GSL 1st North Berwick

East Lothian YL Training – a fresh start

East Lothian YL Training – a fresh start

Assault courses, tying themselves in knots and lots of biscuits are some of what the Young Leaders in East Lothian were up against. They all came out on a snowy Sunday to learn how they could take their Young Leader skills to the next levels with some Module A and E training.

“Lots to do, never sitting around”

Fun was had by all as they took a rollercoaster ride through the training, but the most important part was how engaged they were even during the serious issues they were considering and that they all really care about the role they have – an incredibly important one.

“I understand how to handle different situations.”

Young Leader training is back in East Lothian with a great bunch of young people. We can look forward to seeing them taking away the skills they learned and applying them.

Adam and Kirsty, YL trainers