One Year On… and it’s been a good year

The One Year On event held on 28 Feb 2019 showed us how far our Region has travelled since our earlier event (known as the ‘January Jolly’) in 2018. We wanted to give people a sense of what’s been achieved at Regional level in the past year and our plans for the coming year. We also wanted to focus on how we could encourage more people to take part in adventurous activities in 2019 – a core part of what we do in Scouting!

There was a mixture of Regional Executive Committee members, Regional Leadership Team members and our Regional Assessors for Adventurous Activities. About 50 people attended along with Andrew Sharkey, Chief Commissioner, Scouts Scotland.

John Cannon and Margery Naylor gave short presentations on all that had been achieved over the last year and everyone joined in to develop our thinking about how we could all promote adventurous activities. This was a key issue in the Engagement sessions and online survey we carried out in 2018. We will let you know what we are going to do about it shortly.

Sharkey presented several people with awards and then spoke movingly about his involvement in Scouting, as a young person, as a leader and as a parent. Finally, he joined a panel with us to answer questions from the floor. He did so in a very positive and pragmatic way and we really appreciated the time he took to come after a busy Parents’ Evening, in the school where he is the Headteacher. Our organisation will enjoy and benefit from his leadership. 

And our thanks go to Douglas Allan, DC Borders, for the unflappable way he chaired the event and to Graeme Robertson, Regional Vice Chair, for all his hard work in preparation for the event.   

And the end of the evening Sharkey said “I am really impressed with what you are doing in South East Scotland. There was so much laughter and good humour when I walked into the room. It was great to be with you.”


John Cannon                          Margery Naylor
Regional Chair                       Regional Commissioner

See the Chairman’s slides here

Read the Regional Commissioner’s talk:

 The year 2018 has been a busy and rewarding time for everyone in the Region. Scouting continues to be a success story – by every measure. It has never been stronger or been making more of an impact. The Census shows that we have increased our membership of young people and adults by about 2.2% across the Region. We have increased the number of leaders in almost every District in 2018. And we have increased the number of Scouts by 6%. But there are some dips in one or two areas in our membership numbers, and we need to work in 2019 understand why this is and to do something to improve the situation.

 Our Regional Strategy follows the national UK and Scottish long term strategies in focusing on the three pillars – People, Programme and Perception.

In relation to ‘People’ we now have a full Regional Leadership Team with District Commissioners in every District. This is a major achievement because our District Commissioners are the engine room of Scouting in our Region, and they work tirelessly to ensure that Scouting goes from strength to strength and will be fun and will be safe for young people

So, I am truly delighted to be able to let you know that Mike Treanor, our Scouting Support Officer, will join us on 1 July 2019. He will support the work that is done by leaders and all our adult volunteers, day by day, week by week, year in and year out, such as running meetings, managing camps, and organising fundraising events. He has an in-depth knowledge of Scouting as he is currently a Scout leader. His number one priority is to promote the recruitment and retention of new leaders.

In relation to ‘Programme’ we want to focus on outdoor and adventurous activities in 2019. Why? Because the Engagement and Consultation exercise carried out by Graeme Robertson and Martin Elliot in the autumn of 2018, showed that there were three overriding concerns for our adult volunteers:

  1. First – we need more leaders and they need more help, training and support: And we have recruited a Scouting Support Officer.
  2. Second- we need to improve Bonaly: We have recruited a new Centre Manager.
  3. Third – we need to provide more assistance for leaders to run more outdoor and adventurous activities:

So why are we going to focus in 2019 on outdoor and adventurous activities? Because the core values of Scouting, as expressed by Baden Powell, have never changed. He said:

  • “A week of camp life is worth six months of theoretical teaching in the meeting room.”
  • “The open-air is the real objective of Scouting and the key to its success.”

And the vision for Scouting nationally is that 50% of all programmes should be about outdoor and adventurous activities. A big ask you may think, until someone counted up the hours that leaders spend teaching young people how to light fires, pitch tents, go orienteering or bike riding around the local paths in their evening meetings – all of these are related activities about getting young people out of doors.

For a start, we have Nights Away Advisers in every District. Overall, we have 12 of these experienced people making sure that there are enough Nights Away Permit holders so that every young person has the opportunity to camp and that camps are run safely and happily. We now have 312 Nights Away permit holders in our Region, holding a total of 454 permits.

And we have a greatly expanded team of Regional Assessors for Adventurous Activities. We now have 12 Regional Assessors. Lawrence Mitchell is our Regional Adviser for Adventurous Activities and Bruce MacDonald is the Regional Manager of the Permits for Adventurous Activities. Lawrence and Bruce have, between them, doubled the number of Regional Assessors for adventurous activities permits over the last year – a critical factor in enabling young people to experience outdoor activities. The Regional Assessors are very clear that they are not just here to assess people for permits. They are happy to advise all leaders on how to undertake adventurous activities as well and to prepare leaders for their permits.

And in case you are wondering how many Adventurous Activities are permitted to our young people, there are 95 and they range from kayaking, sailing, hill walking and mountain climbing through land yachting, laser games, narrow boating, and Nerf guns to zorbing. Who knows the half of them? Not all of them need permit holders to run these activities, but all have guidance sheets on the UK Scout website, so we do encourage leaders to use them. Why? Because there can be some tricky issues such as the rules for flying drones!

There are, inevitably, some roles we still need to fill – especially the Regional Adviser for International camps and trips. We will be looking to find a (hopefully willing) volunteer for this role as the preparation and scrutiny for international camps and trips is exhaustive and exhausting but absolutely essential if we are to ensure the safety and enjoyment of both leaders and young people abroad.

We do, as a Region, provide some great activities for our young people. Longcraig Scout Centre is flourishing, after a difficult time in 2017. Thanks to the hard work and enormous time commitment of the 46 or so volunteers members of the Active Support Unit led by Malcolm Leckie, they provided over 1,000 sessions on the water for young people in 2018.

The Regional Leadership Team has also worked hard with the Regional Executive Committee members to analyse and improve the services offered at Bonaly Centre. We have recruited Mark Campbell to be our new Centre Manager. He has a proven track record in successfully running outdoor centres, so we are confident that the future improvement of Bonaly, begun under John Bruce’s very able leadership, will be assured when John reverts to being a Trustee! And the Bonaly Business Planning Group has been working hard to set out the direction of travel for Mark. One of the key problems we want to address is the lack of ownership held by some of our Scout groups for Bonaly. One small step in doing this is the BBPG’s recommendation that we call Bonaly the ‘Bonaly Scout Centre’. And we are reviewing the price of the instructor-led activities to make them more competitive with prices at other centres.

Finally, we will need to think hard in 2019 about how we improve the Perception of Scouting amongst the public. We believe that, by and large, Scouting is well regarded locally, but we do know that we can all do more to let people know about the great opportunities we offer young people and their great achievements, such as raising considerable funds for people in need – for example the Big Sleep out in Princes St Gardens in 2018.

We know that Scouting is successful in our Region because of the dedication of our leaders and supporters, who are all volunteers. Your time, talents, skills and sense of humour make you a real asset to this Region. We want to say, on behalf of all the young people in Scouting in our Region, ‘Thank you’ to all our leaders and volunteers who have given so much to providing the very best of Scouting over the last year – and will do so again, in 2019!

Preparing to Raise the Curtain on Gang Show 2018

Gang Show Cast

Plans are well underway for this year’s Edinburgh Gang Show at the King’s Theatre.

As well as over 250 young people, who are busy learning lines and practising dance moves, there are over 100 adult volunteers working behind the scenes to produce the show. The Wardrobe Team have recently completed the move of the costume store out of 15 Valleyfield Street to new premises and are now fitting, creating and maintaining over 1,000 costumes. The Stage Crew are building and painting scenery, repairing backcloths, making props and developing lighting and sound design plans. The Administration Team are assisting the Production Team by ensuring the Cast are in the right place at the right time ready and prepared for rehearsal. The Marketing Team’s plan to fill the King’s to capacity is ongoing with posters and leaflets all around the city and regular social media activity.

All this work is undertaken for one purpose – to give our young people from Scouting and Girlguiding a tremendous opportunity performing a unique type of entertainment in a much-loved theatre as well as continuing the great tradition of Gang Shows in Edinburgh. Please support them by coming to see the show.

Edinburgh Gang Show 2018 has the usual eclectic mix of music from the stage and screen, topical comedy items and spectacular ensemble singing and dance numbers.

PLEASE NOTE – following feedback the show will be finished by 9.30pm at the latest.


Tue 20 to Sat 24 November

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

To Book Contact:

Tickets £11 – £18

GROUP DISCOUNTS APPLY. (Groups 15+ get 1 ticket free)

To reserve tickets and pay later call 0131 529 6005.

Check out Edinburgh Gang Show on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. #EGS2018

Edinburgh Gang Show returns to the King’s Theatre

Gang Show

Over 250 Cub Scouts and Brownies, Scouts and Guides, Explorer Scouts and Senior Section, Scout Network supported by a backstage team of over 100 Leaders and adult volunteers will present this year’s exciting show. The Edinburgh Gang Show is the biggest annual youth production in the UK and the biggest Gang Show in the world so by coming along to see the show with your Group you will be supporting young people and colleagues from right across the Region.

Edinburgh Gang Show 2018 has large-scale musical routines, dance numbers, comedy sketches, fantastic singers and is a top quality night out that displays the talent of our young people in the Region in one of Edinburgh’s most loved theatres.

  • Not been to the Gang Show before? Give it a go!
  • Not been for a few years? It would be nice to have you back!
  • You’re a regular attendee? Thank you and see you at the King’s! 

Group discounts are available. Give the King’s Theatre Box Office a call on 0131 529 6005 (Groups 8+) or go to

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram #EGS2017

Edinburgh Gang Show 2018
King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
Tuesday 20 to Saturday 24 November
Evenings 7.00pm Matinee Sat 2.15pm
0131 529 6000
0131 529 6005 (Groups 8+)
Tickets from £11

Regional Explorer Camp 14-16 Sep

Regional Explorer Camp 14-16 Sep

Camp includes M&D’s Theme Park

The camp is for Explorers and Young Leaders from all Districts in our Region, even if their leader(s) cannot attend. It will take place from Friday 14 to Sunday 16 September 2018.  This is a holiday weekend in most areas. Details of the full camp programme are being decided by Explorers and Leaders.

Outline details

  • At The Barrwood Campsite, Forth Region – highly recommended by those who have visited it
  • Saturday visit to M&D’s Theme Park, Motherwell
  • Fri evening, Sat evening and Sunday offer many activities on site
  • Water activities on Sunday morning
  • Chance to bivvy out overnight, counting for Zodiac Award
  • Cost £40 per head
  • You can still join in, but let us know as soon as possible.
  • Ideas still welcome
  • Contact John Buchanan

This is a chance to meet Explorers from other part of the Region and have fun.


Borders Brass Monkeys are 50

Borders Brass Monkeys are 50

On Saturday 27 January 100 Scouts and Young Leaders arrived at Kelso racecourse ready for the Brass Monkey camp, and to celebrate 50 years since these started in the Borders.

An early leader catches up on what he started.

One of the early leaders

In 1968 Jack Robb, the DC of Roxburghshire, decided to run a one-night camp to challenge the Scouts. He decided to code-name it the Brass Monkey camp. The first one was held in Scotchkershope and had around 45 Scouts in attendance.  The camp was a huge success and very quickly over the next few years attracted Scouts not just from the Borders but from all over Scotland, England and even Wales. Local Scouter Bill Watt got involved from the early camps and recently Marion Macintosh, one of the Borders ADCs, had the great pleasure of visiting him and letting him know how it is still running and showed him the trophy we use. He remembers one camp where it was so cold they had to go to the local ironmongers to get large iron nails instead of pegs! Bill still has his original neckie! He is very pleased to hear that we still keep the book going too!

The largest camp had over 400 in attendance.  Every participant that attended was awarded their Brass Monkey neckie and later a badge.  One camp in the 80s is noted as being so cold that the calor gas bottles froze overnight!. The Scouts were unable to take up their tent pegs due to the frozen ground and when the camp returned to this site in 2009 tent pegs were found!  The venue for the Brass Monkey  camp changed every year. One of the traditions that started early on is that the participants were all asked to sign the Brass Monkey book. This tradition is still on-going and it’s great to be able to look back over the years at the history of the camp.

In 1984 a trophy was presented as a gift from a Scout group in Wales. It was to be awarded to someone that had contributed to the running of the camp. This trophy is a Brass Monkey in a kilt. It was first awarded to Jack Robb and it is still awarded today. In the past there were also pottery mugs and pottery woggles!

Bubble football at KelsoThis year’s camp took place at Kelso racecourse where the Scouts camped on the side of the racecourse. They had an afternoon of activities, a mixture of fun, adventurous activities and Scouting skills, including, for the first time, axe throwing. They were also treated to bubble football at Kelso High School where the main concern was that the Scouts might actually take off in the wind!  The evening activities included Zumba and a movie with the Sunday morning seeing all the participants take part in an ‘urban-eering’ course around Kelso.  The Young Leaders at the camp were given the opportunity to work with the ESL (YL) on their Young Leader missions and modules, too.  The weather, whilst not as cold as the previous weekend’s snow, was windy and, in true Scottish fashion, a bit dreich.  The Scouts and the leader team all had a great camp and are looking forward to next year’s camp.

Happy 50th to the Borders Brass Monkey camps!

Cheryl Turpie ADC

National Camping Competition for Scouts

National Camping Competition for Scouts

Apply by Friday 4 May

The National Camping Competition (Zonal Qualifiers) will take place over the weekend of Friday 15 – Sunday 17 June 2018. The locations for this year’s Zonals are:

Jock Neish Scouting Centre, 2 Hayloft, Tannadice, Forfar DD8 3PZ

Auchengillan Outdoor Centre, Blanefield, Glasgow G63 9AU

Districts are invited to submit one Patrol (of up to 6 Scouts) to take part in either Zonal location, and the winners of each Zonal. As well as the top scorers from around the Zonals, up to 10 of the top scoring Districts will be invited to the National Final to be held Fordell Firs from Friday 28 to Sunday 30 September. The cost to enter a Patrol is £150, which includes site fees and  activities. Food for Friday supper and Sunday Breakfast is the only food provided by the camp team.

The ADC Scouts or DC should enter the patrol for their District into one of the Zonals by completing the Zonal entry form available from this link

Closing date for receipt of the Provisional Entry Form is Friday 4 May – Once you press SUBMIT you will be re-directed to PayPal where you can pay your fee of £150 by debit or credit card, or by using your PayPal account should you have one.  If you wish to pay by another method please contact Scouts Scotland on 01383 419073 (option 1).

Closing date for the Detailed Entry Form is Friday 1 June  – Once your Provisional Entry Form has been received, a link to a Detailed Entry Form will be e-mailed to the email address provided by you, asking for the contact details of the Troop who will be representing the District. This year we are wishing to increase on the 23 Districts which entered in 2017.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact David Love, SHQ Commissioner (Scouts), at or via Scouts Scotland at or by calling 01383 419073 (option 1).