To all our volunteers

Thank you to all of you – our outstanding volunteers – for the work you do every week helping young people have fun and adventure, and developing skills for life.

Many people in our Region volunteer their time and effort to support Scouting and their local communities. It doesn’t go unnoticed, because we know it changes a lot.

It significantly changes lives, it changes hearts, and it changes minds.

We recognise an action as simple as parents helping run a section meeting supporting hard pressed leaders might take little effort, but when combined with hundreds of other people doing the same, these actions change a lot.

Some actions involve more time or effort, like spending one day a week for over a decade – or more, or running a fund-raising event or even going to camp. These actions also change a lot.

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” We know how much hard work goes into all the work you do and we would like to thank you for everything you do to make Scouting in our Region such a positive experience for young people.

So let’s all celebrate the many and diverse ways our volunteers choose to take action, to help others, and make great changes.

Whatever action you take, we thank you.

And we hope you have a great summer!

Margery Naylor, Regional Commissioner, South East Scotland Scouts,

on behalf of all the Regional Leadership Team members.

Update on Bonaly Scout Centre

Mark Campbell, the new Centre Manager, is now in post and working hard to ensure everyone’s visit is the best ever.

Barry Johnston, the Site Manager, and the Maintenance Team members who all belong to the Active Support Unit (ASU), have also been hard at work branding the centre as the Bonaly Scout Centre. You will now see the new logo appearing on all paperwork, website and notices – and even our flag.

The final step in the Business Plan was getting formal approval from the Regional Executive Committee which we did last week. At a special meeting on 27 May 2019, the Committee members went through the Bonaly Business Plan, checking all the details and the recommendations for the way forward. They were very pleased to be able to endorse all the recommendations made by the Bonaly Business Planning Group – so all the hard work was very much worthwhile!

As well as the changes to the name, the investment in activities, reductions in prices for SES Scout members, the revitalisation of the Activities Team within the ASU, improvements in customer care and other actions already implemented, it was agreed to carry out reviews of the Business Plan at one year and three years to ensure everything is on track.

The work of the Bonaly Business Planning Group is now over, but members of the Group and many others will continue to support Mark Campbell, Centre Manager, with implementing the exciting changes.

The future of Bonaly is now looking very rosy – so why not take your section for a day visit, or a weekend camp, or even a week-long camp or stay in the centrally heated accommodation in the Chalet or Forth Lodge to see all the improvements that have been made?

Check out availability and prices online for accommodation, camping and activities at

Judith Wood, Chair of the Bonaly Business Planning Group and District Commissioner for Braid District

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

Mike Sims

The sad and sudden death of Mike Sims at the age of 62 occurred recently.

Mike came from a Scouting family. His parents, Gordon and Maida, were active over a long period with Gordon serving as DC of Inverleith for 18 years and Maida being CSL at the 23rd. Gordon was also very involved with the Gang Show for many years. Mike married Joan Ainslie, daughter of Fred Ainslie who was a long serving member and Treasurer of the Edinburgh Executive. With such a background, it was inevitable that Mike would become deeply involved in Scouting.

He was a Scout and Venture Scout at the 23rd and, at the age of 20, became a leader with the 87th in Boswall Parkway. After serving as SL for a number of years he became ADC Scouts and then DC of Inverleith as his father had been. He also followed his father with his long term commitment to the Gang Show during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Mike also had a significant role in adult training in the period from mid 1980s until about 2007 running, among other things, GSL and Commissioner modules and Leadership 2 courses.

Outside Scouting he was a member and for a while Treasurer of Edinburgh Rotary Club, a member of Edinburgh High Constables and a member of Edinburgh Merchant Company where, having served on the Master’s Court, he went on to chair the Governing Council of Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools.

 Service and commitment to the Scout Movement as well as to the community in general were the constant and continuing threads that ran throughout Mike’s life.

 Dick Allan,
President, South East Scotland Scouts.

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!

Medal Joy for one of our Scout Leaders

Michael Stevenson an Assistant Beaver Leader at the 26th (Craigsbank) Craigalmond Scout Group, has just returned from the Special Olympics World Games held in Abu Dhabi as a member of the Special Olympics Great Britain team.

Michael competed in the Ten Pin Bowling competition winning a Silver medal in the Singles competition, finishing 7th in the Team event and 8th in the Doubles.  Michael has been a member of the Special Olympics Lothian Bowling Team for 3 years and has competed in Regional competitions and at the National Summer Games in Sheffield in 2017 winning a Silver Medal in the Doubles. Michael parents and brother attended the Games and are very proud of his achievements.

The World Games were attended by 7500 athletes from 200 countries competing in 24 sports over 7 days.

Special Olympics Lothians mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for all children and adults with intellectual (learning) disabilities – giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in sharing skills, gifts and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.