The South East Scotland Scouts Leadership team were very pleased to welcome Kezia Dugdale MSP to Bonaly Outdoor Centre at the end of April. Kezia was keen to learn more about the opportunities that Scouting provides to young people in the Lothians, which she represents in the Scottish Parliament.

After a welcome from Regional Commissioner Margery Naylor and Regional Chair John Cannon, Kezia was given a tour of Bonaly by Euan McFadzean, our Regional Youth Commissioner, and Adam Bennett, Assistant Regional Commissioner (Youth Involvement). During the tour, as well as showing her some of the activities that young people can do at Bonaly, they also told her about the wider opportunities that Scouting provides for young people to develop and some of the ways that the Scouting Programme allows them to do this, including through Challenges and Awards at all levels. Kezia was impressed by the wide range of activities on offer and very interested to learn about the positive impact that Scouting has on the lives of its members.

After a brief escape from the rain and an opportunity to chat to some of the Regional Leadership team over tea and coffee, Kezia then joined two local Scout groups for a shot on the High Challenge Course. Guided by Neil Kirk, Activities Manager for South East Scotland Scouts, Kezia successfully navigated the balance beam and Postman’s Walk before a brief visit to see a group at work in the Bushcraft village.

Having enjoyed her experience of Scouting at Bonaly, Kezia left with a commitment to take what she had learned (and her new Bonaly neckerchief) back to the Scottish Parliament with her and to work towards her Scouts Scotland Youth Advocacy Award, for MSPs who are committed to raising issues related to young people in the Scottish Parliament.

Special thanks to:

  • Diane Marshall, Deputy Regional Commissioner, who organised and ran the event
  • Neil Kirk for running the activities
  • Fiona Elliot, Division Commissioner with GirlGuiding Edinburgh, demonstrating the strong relationship between Scouting and Guiding in South East Scotland by volunteering to be photographer for the event