Scout Ambassadors Visit Edinburgh

Scout Ambassadors Visit Edinburgh

Scout Ambassadors Phoebe Smith & Dwayne Fields visited Edinburgh on 3 December while on a 1300km journey walking from Dunnet Head to Lizard Point. A group of Explorer Scouts and leaders gathered to hear their story. Their journey takes them from the most northern to the most southern points of mainland Britain over 40 days. Both are raising money and awareness for an expedition to the Antarctic in November 2020 in which they will take a group of disadvantaged young people on an expedition of a lifetime. Two Scouts will also be invited to join the expedition and the selection process will start soon.

Phoebe talked about her upbringing in North Wales. Despite growing up on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, it took a trip to Uluru in Australia to make her realise the value of wild camping and exploring the great outdoors. Phoebe writes books and articles for travel magazines about the joys of wild camping.

Dwayne grew up in Jamaica with his great-grandmother and lived a carefree life spent entirely outdoors as his house had no electricity. At the age of 6 he moved to London to live with his mother and he struggled to fit in. At school he was asked to draw his favourite TV character – but he had never seen TV! Fortunately he was placed at school next to a boy who became his friend and who one night was taken to Cubs by the boy’s mother while she was looking after Dwayne. The Cub leader refused to let Dwayne sit and watch so he joined in and from that point on Scouting changed his life. In a more dramatic twist, Dwayne recalls the moment he was shot at twice by a gang member in a dispute over a bike. It made Dwayne realise that he should spend less time conforming and more time pursuing his dreams. In 2010 Dwayne set himself his first of many challenges, becoming the first black Briton to walk over 400 miles to the magnetic North Pole.

Phoebe and Dwayne described their journey since leaving Dunnet Head on 18 November and the kindness and interesting experiences they have encountered on the way. They are now a third of the way into their journey which ends at Lizard Point on 1 January 2020.

Dwayne was keen to quiz each Explorer on their favourite badges and what they did to achieve them. He also wanted to know what expedition each Explorer is planning. Perhaps hearing about this amazing expedition will persuade those Explorers who attended to go on an amazing expedition of their own in the near future. As Dwayne and Phoebe themselves explained, it’s never too late to pursue your dreams!

Congratulations to Lauderdale Explorer Scout Young Leaders

Congratulations to Lauderdale Explorer Scout Young Leaders

Four Explorer Scout Young Leaders from Lauderdale Scouts recently achieved their Young Leader Belts.

Aksel and Dylan are Explorer Scout Young Leaders for Scouts; Amy and Ellyn are Explorer Scout Young Leaders for Cubs.

To earn their belts, they completed all of their modules. Their missions included a variety of outdoor activities, such as setting up a night hike in Thirlestane Castle grounds in Lauder and organising a litter pick, and indoor activities, such as leading consultations with young people about badge choices/planning and moderating patrol leader forums. 

(Left to right): Dylan, Amy, Ellyn and Aksel.

Network Notes – A great year for the Scout Network

Network Notes – A great year for the Scout Network

Did you know that every member of Scouting aged 18-24 is automatically a member of Scout Network? It is an opportunity for young people in Scouting to continue to develop skills, gain awards, explore the world and make new friends.

2019 has been a busy year for the Scout Network within South East Region.

A number of members joined a group of Networkers from across Scotland in travelling to Madagascar to help upgrade the Madagascar national scout campsite alongside local scouts. They worked hard to gain construction skills ahead of the trip, successfully undertook work on site, and made lasting friendships.

Closer to home members have been engaged in a number of events at a UK and Scottish level, including camps in the Lake District and Dundee, a ceilidh for Burns night, and numerous outdoor activities including kayaking, climbing and hiking.

Within the Region Networks meet on a regular basis to enjoy a range of activities from trampoline parks to board games nights, campfires, local camping, and escape rooms. Networks aim to be inclusive with a range of activities to suit the interests of all members.

Alongside the fun there have also been opportunities to undertake award work, with individuals gaining national activity accreditations as well as working towards top awards within Scouting including the Queens Scout Award. We are looking forward to individuals attending the St Georges Day parade in April in recognition of their QSA successes.

The next international events on the horizon for Networkers in the region include Blair Atholl in 2020 and the next World Scout Moot in 2021. The Moot is similar in emphasis to the World Scout Jamboree, except that all participants are Network age. The Moot is going to be in Ireland, where participants will form patrols with participants from around the world, spend a week on ‘trails’ exploring and enjoying Ireland, before coming together at the base camp to learn about issues affecting young people today. Those who went to the last Moot in Iceland had a life changing experience, and we expect the UK to open to applications in the spring. More information can be found here.

If anyone is interested in engaging with their District Scout Network they should get in touch – the adventure is out there for all young people that are willing to get involved.

Braid District: Laura Gilman District Scout Network Commissioner laurathered@hotmail.com

Borders District: Appointment Imminent

Craigalmond District: dsnl@craigalmond.org.uk

East Lothian District: Hilary Cartwright, District Commissioner dc@eastlothianscouts.org.uk

Edinburgh North East District: Frankie Stanton, District Scout Network Commissioner frstanton999@gmail.com or network@enescouts.org

Midlothian District: Richard Fairbairn, District Commissioner (Acting) richard.fairbairn@midlothianscouts.org.uk

Pentland District: Nathan Baillie, District Scout Network Commissioner nathan.baillie@hotmail.co.uk

Profile – Neil Hogg, Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner (Cubs Section Support)

Profile – Neil Hogg, Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner (Cubs Section Support)

I started my Scouting life as a Beaver at the 108th Merchiston (now Pentland), going all the way through the sections there until eventually becoming a young leader then Assistant Leader at both the Cubs and the Scouts at the same group. In 2009 I was “promoted” to Cub Scout Leader which is a role that I held until 2016. During that time, I also took on the role of ADC Cubs in Pentland in 2014. The highlight of my time as ADC Cubs was being involved in the centenary celebrations in our District which included our District camp which was attended by 260 Cubs.

I was appointed Deputy District Commissioner in January 2017 and then took over as acting District Commissioner for Pentland in August 2017.

As well as those roles I have also found time to help out as a District Training Advisor and a member of our District Appointments Advisory Committee member.

I am looking forward to taking on this new role as Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner and hope that I can help support the Cub sections within the Region.

Round-up of Explorers activities in 2019

Round-up of Explorers activities in 2019

Explorers have been involved in all manner of activities with their Units and Districts, often well beyond the confines of their hall, with the assistance of their excellent and committed leaders.  At a Regional level, interest in international Scouting continues to be high: a full contingent attended WSJ 2019; 27 will be attending ESJ 2020 in Poland; recruitment is under way for Blair Atholl 2020. 

Cooperation across Districts has been encouraged: a Regional Camp in September 2018; a number of joint projects on ESYL training and DofE; assisting with events like Holocaust Memorial Day in the Scottish Parliament (see photo) and the Walk for Autism.  The Explorers themselves always appreciate the chance to meet and share experiences with others and do so with great enthusiasm.

Almost half of our Explorers are ESYLs and this is widely recognised as a key part of Scouting, offering training and skills which help young people develop into responsible adults.  Most ESYLs find the experience extremely rewarding and the younger sections benefit hugely from their presence. The revised training programme is bedding in, and, as so often, the key is to involve many adults to share the tasks.  The Region has supported the introduction of the new Logbook which should now be being used by all ESYLs, and a scheme to ensure that all ESYLs can complete the important First Aid module.  It is also hoped to involve interested Explorers at Bonaly in a role similar to that of ESYL, following a pilot a couple of years ago.

We have a very encouraging number of candidates and have developed an effective model for expedition training and cooperation between Districts.  The key is working together and involving a range of people, rather than leaving one person to try to cover the significant amount of work required. 

Success here is linked to the improved support being given to help leaders acquire the permits required for the delivery of the Expedition section – T1, T2 and Nights Away.  DofE is the ideal way for Explorers to work systematically towards the Chief Scout’s Platinum and Diamond Awards and the prestigious Queen’s Scout Award. Initiatives are under way to encourage and support Explorers and young Adult Leaders to achieve these, particularly as they have until the age of 25 to do so.

And finally, three very different groups of Explorers from five Units in Braid and Craigalmond plus two Explorers from other Regions completed very successful Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions in September 2019.  All the groups enjoyed the experience of getting to know new people and they all worked together extremely well. They appreciated the extended periods of conversation that replaced their phones and, perhaps as a result, one group took to identifying themselves and the leaders by names of characters from Lord of the Rings.  These Explorers did not just go through the motions but showed real commitment, supporting each other through the difficult bits and relishing the rewards – relaxing in the glorious sunshine over a long lunch or staring at the spectacular, starry skies.  By bringing young people and adults from different areas together to achieve this, these expeditions demonstrated the power of Scouting.

John Buchanan
ARC Explorer Scouts

Cubs and Beavers have fun outdoors

Cubs and Beavers have fun outdoors

Cubs and Beavers from the 82nd Craigalmond (Cramond) Group had a brilliant September Camp at Netherurd, a fantastically equipped and located Guide centre. In total 42 Cubs and 5 Beavers spent two nights away with the camp theme of Space.

Activities at camp included zip lines, backwoods cooking, shelter building, rocket making (and launching), scavenger hunts and star gazing. Everyone who attended went on a very sunny hike that took us all up to the summit of a local hill with great views.

Thanks to a fantastic set of leaders and some thorough planning it was a very successful weekend! The camp was blessed with great weather for September and everyone went home very tired but happy!