Auchindrain

Auchindrain

Auchindrain – the field of the blackthorn tree. Who could imagine that a group of 10 – 15-year-olds would be demanding that the Auchindrain camp stays firmly fixed on the 14th Midlothian (Bonnyrigg) Scouts calendar?

After eight years this is still one of the most popular camps – it has to happen in May on the Victoria holiday weekend because it is such a long way from home, and the only way to get there is by mini bus, there are no local trains and the bus journey to Oban and on to Inveraray would take the whole day.

Auchindrain is the most complete Highland farm township in Scotland.  It survived the Highland Clearances and has now become a category A listed building. Although building is the wrong term as there are a number of buildings and more being discovered each year. Bonnyrigg Scouts have been privileged to be a part of this. The Township lies approximately six miles south of Inveraray in Argyll It is typical of settlements of its kind 200 years ago.

Eight years ago following a random conversation between the Scout Leader and the handyman at the site Bonnyrigg Scouts were invited to camp and experience life in the Township as part of what was then the local history badge, they duly turned up and pitched camp, met the curator and learned the Gaelic equivalent of their names and what they meant, they worked all day Saturday on the site helping to remove old fencing and make the site secure for the heritage sheep that were to be moving in, they planted 1000 tiny tree seedlings on the edge of the forestry commission plantation and tried keeping the peat fire going in one of the old dwellings. On the Saturday night they met a local Free Church minister who led a traditional Highland service of sung psalms and read from a Gaelic bible – a new experience for everyone! Scouts explored the local hills and woods on a hike on the Sunday and finished their visit with a trip to Inveraray jail, luckily no one got locked up.

This started a tradition of visits with Scouts learning skills such as waulking the cloth with the weaving group, making butter in traditional churns, cooking on the peat fires, whitewashing walls, stone harvesting the tattie field, joining in games of shinty, looking after the rare-breed hens, exposing former access tracks and paths within the site, forming drainage ditches and helping Cathy build a traditional travellers’ “tent” from willow and canvas. This year the Scouts were able to take part in the digit2017 project managed by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. This involved the continued excavation of work begun in 2017 to excavate and unravel the story of Building T – until last summer a completely unknown building. The Scouts explored the infill of the building scraping back the weeds and soil to expose the original floor, retrieved small finds which included boots, teapots, broken china and a various glass bottles. The Scouts also helped to rebuild the original walls using the stone pushed or fallen into the building, learning how to drystone and, in the process, why not to climb on drystone dykes! The finds were washed and catalogued ready to be included in the inventory of Auchindrain.

The weekend is not all work however and between times the Scouts were taught how traditional dyes were made for woollen clothing, how to card tease and spin wool, they learnt a number of weaving techniques and how to make felt. Cooking and eating of traditional foods was a firm favourite – what a difference having to cook on an open peat fire on a griddle! They weren’t keen on a totally traditional menu though the idea of sliced cold porridge for breakfast and lunch wasn’t well received so instead we cooked Orkney bannocks, fish cakes, drop scones and flatbreads, topped with butter churned in large kilner jars YUM! Meals were based on the food that would have been available to the residents at Auchindrain although we ate more protein in one weekend than they would have shared in a month between all the families!

On Saturday night a traditional Ceilidh was held in the Barn with a little bit of dancing and plenty of singing with guitar and piano accordion, historically this would have been when the local news was shared by travellers moving from one place to another selling, fixing and exchanging tools, special foods or other items.  At night groups of Scouts took it in turn sleeping on the old cot beds in Martin’s house – although they used sleeping mats and sleeping bags rather than the straw paillasses and scratchy woollen blankets, and torches rather than candles and oil lamps.

During our time at Auchindrain this year the Scouts also contributed to a series of blogs following their experiences at the site and detailing the things they found in their archaeological dig contributing to the year of Young People Visit Scotland initiative and their public relations badge work.

Traditionally at Auchindrain the group calls in to another visitor attraction in the local town and delights in the offerings of the wee sweetie shop where cremola foam, candy stick ”cigarettes”, gold bullion gum and giant gobstoppers can still be found, fortunately for the leaders Inveraray also hosts a very nice tearoom with homemade cakes! On the return journey we have made a further tradition of calling into a visitor attraction that shows a totally different lifestyle to the township, in the past we have visited the jail and Inveraray Castle (where a great number of the people from the township went to work as servants and agricultural labourers), Stirling Castle and Doune Castle where the recent television series of Outlander has been filmed, and made famous by the Monty Python film “Holy Grail”.

By the end of the Auchindrain weekend the Scouts are able to gain their local knowledge badge (history) and have carried out site service as part of the outdoors challenge but they have learnt far more about the hardships and the lives of Scots ancestors, changes to lifestyles that have occurred in the relatively recent past, they have cooked traditional meals and learnt traditional skills. Over the years that we have been going to this camp, the Scout Group have made a tremendous contribution to the museum, carrying out work which there would not be time for in the general running of the site. Visitors to the site have been impressed by the attitude and work of the Scouts and many have commented on the help the Scouts have given them in understanding the history of the site.

We look forward to the new things we will be learning next May!

Erika Pryde, Group Scout Leader, 14th Midlothian (Bonnyrigg)

For more information

Update on Bonaly

Update on Bonaly

Update on interim staffing arrangements from John Cannon, Regional Chair

Hello everyone,

Following on from my previous update regarding interim staffing arrangements at Bonaly and our intent to review the way we provide support across the Region, I can now provide a further update on progress since that note. Firstly with regard to interim staffing arrangements. As indicated, we have advertised and interviewed for an interim Centre Manger for a period of six months and have had the support of John Bruce, Regional Secretary helping the staff team in his voluntary capacity over the last few weeks.  We are very  grateful to Yvonne Yule, who has also been volunteering and giving her time to support the activities of the office. Yvonne has previously worked in the Regional office so has been able to provide necessary experienced support in these past few weeks. The existing staff team have been very accommodating and have changed their working patterns and taken on additional duties, demonstrating great team work and commitment to work through this busy period. I am very grateful to everyone who has come forward and offered/given support in these past few weeks. A real example of Scouting values in action!

With all of the above in mind we have decided to take the following actions for the next six months.

Given the successes of the above, John Bruce has agreed to take on the interim Centre Manager role on a part time basis alongside his voluntary position as Regional Secretary. John will join the staff team 3 days a week to continue with the good work he has been doing.  Further, Barry Johnston has agreed to broaden the scope of his role in the interim and will act as Site Manager, taking responsibility for the duty wardens and improving the overall customer experience.   Neil will continue to be responsible for Activities and will be taking some shared paternity leave for a period of 6 weeks during the summer.  Arrangements have been made to cover Neil’s duties during this time.

This interim period will give John, Barry and Neil the opportunity to form a new Management team and I am looking forward to seeing how this team operates alongside Lynne, Blanche, the wardens and all the volunteers who give their time so willingly for the benefit of everyone who visits Bonaly.

Turning briefly to the longer term, The Regional Executive Committee have given their full support to us taking due time to consider what our Regional staffing should be. In addition, we we have agreed that we should also include a period of consultation to hear your views on how we might provide support and activities in the future.  As a consequence, Graeme Robertson and Martin Elliot have agreed to design this approach and will be communicating with you all in the next few weeks to let you know how you can get involved. Finally, thanks again for your support and patience, as we develop our plans for the future.

Regards,
John Cannon, Regional Chair, South East Scotland Scouts

Non Member Children Insurance

Non Member Children Insurance

Non-member children Public Liability and Personal Accident insurance

South East Scotland Region has purchased the above policies on behalf of all Districts and Groups.  These will be renewed annually.

This is a scheme for children (under 18 years old) who are not Members of The Scout Association, but who attend, or take part in, weekly meetings or events because they are accompanying their parent(s), or with other adults. This can also cover crêches opened by groups.  The types of cover included are public liability and personal accident insurance.
If you require further information then please email regionalsecretary@sesscouts.org.uk for copies of the policies.

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 explorers@sesscouts.org.uk

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

 

Craigalmond District Review

Craigalmond District Review

First, a warm welcome to everyone reading our 2017-18 annual review report.  As you will see, our various groups have being providing fantastic opportunities for our young people throughout the year. It has been a year of highs and lows, though. The highs are self-explanatory but the major low is that we desperately need more adult volunteers (both uniformed and non-uniformed) to be part of our fantastic team with the sole aim of ensuring that our Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers can fulfil their Scouting dreams. No experience necessary! If you are able to make a contribution, no matter how small, please let myself, the District Commissioner or any member know.

Congratulations must go to Graham Cullen, GSL at the 82nd who received the Chief Scout’s Commendation for Meritorious Conduct in recognition for his positive attitude to Scouting.

Congratulations also to Fraser Dunmore a Young Leader at the 30th who was one of 300 Queen’s Scouts being honoured by international adventurer Chief Scout, Bear Grylls, at Windsor Castle for gaining their Queen’s Scouts Awards on Sunday 22 April.  Bear was joined by Princess Beatrice of York.

On the international front, I am pleased to say we have really moved forward. More Groups are camping overseas. We have 2 patrols plus leaders at the Blair Atholl Jamborette in July for the first time in many years. Also, in 2019 we have Scouts and leaders selected for the World Scout Jamboree in the USA and an expedition to Madagascar. Concerning Youth Involvement we have appointed Katie as the Youth Involvement Commissioner and she has been working closely with the Groups to deliver the Youth Approved programme. Many sections now have their Foundation level and are working towards Bronze. We have started a District youth forum and soon they will appoint a Youth Commissioner to work in the District team.

Adult recruitment will remain a key focus for us and with increased house building in the Maybury and Kirkliston areas the demands for Scouting within the District are likely to come under significantly more pressure.

Russell Shoulder, District Chair

Beavers

Beavers practise circus skills

Circus skills

In December 2017 a Magic Show was held at Craigsbank Parish Church in Corstorphine. This was attended by almost 200 Beavers from most colonies in the district. The magician was Tricky Ricky who put on a Christmas- themed magician show, being that it was a December event! Tricky Ricky involved some of the Beavers during his performance and overall the event was a great success, feedback was that both adults and Beavers enjoyed themselves.

In April 2017 nearly 150 Beavers and adult helpers descended upon the Museum of Flight for a day of activities to gain their Air Activities badge. This included creating paper planes, going on Concorde at the museum (sadly only stationary!), learning about the history of flight and different types of plane on display from one of the museum staff. We were very fortunate with the weather considering the event was held in April with lovely sunny skies, the Beavers had lunch in groups among the displays.

Beavers with fire engine

Seeing a fire engine

Overall, the Beavers have had fantastic opportunities to broaden their horizons and learn new skills in the last year. Activities included (to name but a few):

  • A sleepover at the City Chambers
  • Learning the phonetic alphabet
  • Making pizza
  • Climbing at the Edinburgh International Climbing Centre
  • Learning circus skills
  • Camping
  • Supporting the Forth Hedgehog hospital
  • Road Safety

The leaders of each colony will be meeting in the next month to discuss and arrange district events for the coming year.

Sue Sibbald, ADC Beavers

Cubs

Last year at this time we were happily reflecting on the centenary of Cub Scouting and the hugely positive impact it had on youth numbers.  Cubs continue to be the biggest section and Increasing youth numbers are very encouraging but do bring issues around adult support too and pressure on leaders to contribute even more of their valuable time. Leaders have risen to this challenge and a very big thank you is due to all volunteers supporting Cub packs across the District, their time and effort is highly appreciated.

Cubs on spider frame

Cubs tackle spider frame

The District team (Kathleen Pullen, Niall Cockburn and Iain McBride) have been happy to roll our sleeves up and help leader teams throughout the year, supporting a number of packs to enable them to continue operating or go to camp.  This temporary support gives Groups breathing space to recruit and begin training new leaders and prevents section closure. Currently three packs are being supported in this way, allowing GSLs to focus on recruitment.

Inevitably, after the excitement of the centenary, this has been a more “business as usual” year, consolidating success. Congratulations to the 21st South Queensferry pack in winning the annual District Cub Football Competition.  and a District Cub camp in September.

Cubs at Bonaly

Awards at Bonaly

Offering more Cubs the chance of everyday adventure and now discovering Skills For Life, are The Scout Association’s unique selling points and thankfully there are positive signs of new adults joining to support established Cub leader teams in Craigalmond. Most packs operate parent rotas and the impact of these can’t be underestimated either.

Cubs in canoe

Cubs at Lochgoilhead

Numbers aren’t everything, and the District Cubs team have been bowled over by the many enthusiastic and dedicated leaders that we have met in the last twelve months, at meetings, Cub camps and events.  The quality of Scouting can only be increased by offering young people more outdoor activities, great programmes and the opportunity to influence the content through Youth Shaped Scouting.   It is great to see Cubs enjoying not only so many fun-packed programmes, exciting outings and amazing activities but also contributing to their communities, too (see the photos) – for example:

  • from swimming to rock climbing
  • from fox falls to fire lighting
  • from balsam bashing to beach clean ups
  • from electronic adventure at the Applestore to messy and fun super-Science nights
  • from visits to Warhammer to Hobbit-themed winter camps
  • camping at Canty Bay, Bonaly, Fordell, Barrwood, Meggernie and many more

It is heartening to see a steady stream of new and talented volunteers attracted to Cub Scouting to help the existing successful pack teams. Thanks are also due to a small but select band of Young Leaders who assist packs and greatly contribute to their success. Whilst there are a very small number on temporary closure, particular mention should be made of a new pack recently opened in the District, the first for a few years.

We are confident that Craigalmond Cubs will continue to grow from strength to strength and we also offer Cub leaders a challenge or three for the year ahead – go for an award in the Youth Shaped Scouting scheme, channel your Cubs towards more Chief Scout Silver Awards and (most importantly) enjoy your Scouting!

Iain MacBride, ADC Cubs, Kathleen Pullen, Ian Hunter, Niall Cockburn (DCSLs)

Scouts

Campfire - almost a bonfire!

District Camping Competition

I am extremely grateful to all the leaders who pulled the District Camping Competition together and made it possible. Special thanks must go to Jackie for leading and co-ordinating the event on top of her GSL responsibilities. They say its quality and not quantity that matter and its very true in this case.  What a great weekend it was with 12 teams entered and a large leadership support team from across the District all working together. They even let the DC camp with them and clean a few dixies. It would be good to see all troops represented next year.  The eventual winners were the 71st (WELL DONE) who will now go forward to represent the District at the Scottish Zonal camp in June 2018. During the camp we also tested out the new District necker concept and following universal approval we will be introducing this across the District in the 2018/2019 session.

Scouts at camp

Patrol at camp

Troops have been very active with numerous camps and expeditions. The Group reports provide more details. I am always amazed when reviewing the NAN forms that everyone keeps coming up with new sites to use.

Many Thanks to all the Scouts and their leaders for the great things they are doing.

Mark Hesketh DC

Explorers

A major focus for this year has been international Explorer Scouting – after a period when the District was not represented it is great to see two Patrols attending the Blair Atholl Jamborette in July, and Craigalmond Explorers are well represented in the South East Scotland World Scout Jamboree contingent with training and fund raising going ahead full steam for next year.

Explorers by reservoir in Pentlands

Explorers on DofE expedition

The international theme continues at Unit level – with a joint camp between the Pink Panther ESU and 122nd Craigalmond Scouts who attended a Danish Jamboree, Granton ESU who hosted Italian Scouts at camp in Loch Tay, and the Douglas Brown ESU who held a camp with the 10th Craigalmond Scouts in Italy which featured a trip up Monte Bianco by cable car, white water rafting through glacial run-off rivers and a whole variety of other adventurous activities.

More locally, the Pink Panthers challenged themselves to stay awake for 36 hours, eat a litre of ice cream and have bacon with every meal at Canty Bay at a Christmas camp while the Douglas Brown ESU went wild camping at Tynningham, followed by a visit to Foxlake Water Adventure, and are in the final preparation stage for a team of Explorers to complete the West Highland Way this summer.

Explorers playing Hungry Hippos

Pink Panthers play Hungry Hippos

The Craigalmond DofE Unit had a successful beginning last year – 13 Explorers undertook Bronze Expedition training and most have now completed their Bronze Awards, with many also achieving their Platinum Scout Award.  This has led on to a group of 15 Explorers who are well advanced with Silver expedition training leading to their 3-day Practice Expedition in the Peebles area. Meanwhile a second cohort of 8 Explorers has commenced Bronze and completed a successful 2-day Practice Expedition in the Pentlands in April in preparation for their Qualifying Expedition in the Lammermuirs in June. This group has made a huge difference boosting the achievement of both DofE and the core Scouting Awards within a year – and I’d like to thank Janet and her team for the huge amount of effort involved in getting this off the ground.

Explorers on DofE expedition

DofE group on expedition

Explorer Scouts continues to grow year on year – from 134 Explorer Scouts in 2017 to 146 Explorers this year including 15 in the Young Leader Unit, supported by 32 adults. This adult team are the often-unsung heroes who deserve great credit and recognition for their commitment and energy providing such a fantastic range of opportunities to Explorer Scouts in the District.

In terms of development, Youth Involvement is being driven by adoption of the Youth Approved Award and representation in the District Youth Advisory Group. The Pink Panther ESU successfully completed a move to Blackhall St Columba’s – to accommodate the expanding membership in a more central location for their catchment area and with more opportunities for outdoor meetings in the nearby Ravelston Park and Woods.

And finally, congratulations to Fraser Dunmore of the Pink Panther ESU on his fantastic achievement in completing his Queen’s Scout Award – he joined 200 Scouts to celebrate at Windsor Castle with Bear Grylls.

David Newton, DESC

Network

The term started out on a glamorous note as the Network suited up for a James Bond-themed casino night. The dress code at the snooker and bowling nights that followed was somewhat less snazzy – we just let our mad skills speak for themselves. But, more than anything, this term has been marked by a number of highly successful appearances at a local pub quiz. Knowing a little about a lot goes a long way, it seems!

In a very proud moment for our leader team, 5 of our number were selected for the 2019 Madagascar trip, attending an icy Bonaly selection camp in December and the first training camp in Angus in March. In preparation for the drainage works they’ll be carrying out on the expedition, the team tested their mettle against the rigors of ditch-digging(!), as well as quizzes, team building, hiking and fun with silly hats. Fact: You’re never too old for fun with silly hats.

Craigalmond Network is also delighted to be sending representatives to the 36th Blair Atholl Jamborette for international antics in July-August 2018. We’ve also been exploring the possibility of closer ties with Pentland and Braid Networks, and hope to hold an all-Edinburgh football game in the coming months. As always, we’re looking forward to the Scouting year to come!

Lisa McCreadie, DSNL

Youth Involvement

The role of ADC Youth Involvement is new to Craigalmond and to Scouts Scotland, so it’s been interesting and exciting to get to grips with something brand new. The role of the ADC(YI) is to make sure all the young people in the District get the opportunity to have a say in how their sections are run, and how the district works as a whole.

One key part of that is setting up our District Youth Advisory Group, a team of Explorers, Young Leaders and Network Scouts who meet regularly to share ideas and opinions, plan events within the District, and represent the opinions of all our youth members to the leaders on the District team. Over the year there’s been a reasonable degree of interest from our Explorers and we have had an initial exploratory meeting to work out how our own ‘DYAG’ will run. We expect to have it up and running next year, and to elect our own District Youth Commissioner who will join me in representing our young people in the District Team.

The other part is to support the sections and groups within the District to achieve their Youth Approved Awards, and to ensure that the District are working towards the same. Nearly all of our sections meet the standards for the Foundation award, and many are already working towards their bronze. Once all the sections in a group have achieved the Bronze Award, The Group can then go on to work towards their Silver and Gold level awards. So far in Craigalmond, we have achieved 10 Foundation awards, and one Bronze award. I’m looking forward to dropping in with sections a lot more next year to help them meet the standards and apply for their awards.

The role of ADC Youth Involvement is new to Craigalmond and to Scouts Scotland, so it’s been interesting and exciting to get to grips with something brand new. The role of the ADC(YI) is to make sure all the young people in the District get the opportunity to have a say in how their sections are run, and how the district works as a whole.

One key part of that is setting up our District Youth Advisory Group, a team of Explorers, Young Leaders and Network Scouts who meet regularly to share ideas and opinions, plan events within the District, and represent the opinions of all our youth members to the leaders on the District team. Over the year there’s been a reasonable degree of interest from our Explorers and we have had an initial exploratory meeting to work out how our own ‘DYAG’ will run. We expect to have it up and running next year, and to elect our own District Youth Commissioner who will join me in representing our young people in the District Team.

District Youth Advisory Group meet

Youth Involvement in action at the DYAG planning meeting. The Explorers wanted something to do with their hands while we talked, so we dug out the Knex from the cupboard!

The other part is to support the sections and groups within the District to achieve their Youth Approved Awards, and to ensure that the District are working towards the same. Nearly all of our sections meet the standards for the Foundation award, and many are already working towards their bronze. Once all the sections in a group have achieved the Bronze Award, The Group can then go on to work towards their Silver and Gold level awards. So far in Craigalmond, we have achieved 10 Foundation awards, and one Bronze award. I’m looking forward to dropping in with sections a lot more next year to help them meet the standards and apply for their awards.

Katie Goudie, ADC Youth Involvement

Manage free time safely

Manage free time safely

Managing Free Time Activities Safely (FS120340)

This new Factsheet offers advice relevant to all Scouting activities.  The background is explained here:

A large number of incidents occur when members are undertaking free time activities, this could be a break in the normal section programme or time before bed on a camp. This guidance is designed to provide leaders with some suggestions of how to manage these activities in order to reduce the potential for incidents and injuries.

See the Factsheet for full details, and useful links.