South East Scotland Scouts would like to congratulate Edward Maxfield of Braid District who has been awarded the Scout of the World Award (SOWA).

This is Edward’s story of how he achieved the award:

“Hi, I’m Edward (Eddie) Maxfield, I’m a Assistant Leader with Braid Young Leaders and I am part of Braid Network. I have just achieved my Scout of the World Award (SOWA).

Being an avid scout I was really interested in gaining the triple crown of top awards, the Queen’s Scout Award, the Explorer belt and the Scouts of the World award, I knew a lot about the first two awards and I was already ploughing through my QSA but I didn’t know much about the SOWA or how much my project was gonna change me or make an impact. To achieve this award I had to attend a Discovery weekend which is 14 hours long, complete a 80 hour project (although mine ended up being over 100 hours and is still going) and reflect and do a presentation for another 3 hours.

It was very early on in the pandemic and I saw an advertisement for a Virtual SOWA discovery weekend with a network in England and I didn’t have much on as we were all locked down so I thought I’d give it a go. The discovery weekend is the first set and a mandatory step in gaining your SOWA, I learnt a lot about the award on this project but I still wasn’t sure what to do my project on, at first I was quite interesting in setting up a hospital scout group but this just wasn’t possible in covid so I thought long and hard and decided to set up a social group for 18-30 year olds with a disability. 

Setting up a social group for 18-30 year olds with a disability was really important to me as I felt it’s such a pivotal age range there are a lot of transitions in this age range like going of to uni and getting your first job and going and living independently but there isn’t much support out there. I myself am also disabled, I’m a full time wheelchair user and I’m autistic.

I set up a Facebook group and an email initially and got in touch with people who I thought would benefit from it. I brainstormed session ideas and for each session I would set up a PowerPoint and I would try and get a guest speaker. Some of the topics we covered included the disabled students allowance, living independently, traveling with a disability and lots of other stuff useful to the age range aswell. We also decided to do some campaigning and we wrote to MPs and ministers about updating the Equality Act (2010) and providing more inclusive sex education, which were really important to people with age.

I learnt a lot from my project, soft skills like perseverance and skills I could use in real life like applying for Disabled students allowance which was really helpful as I am just starting university. I’ve met some amazing people and we had people join the group from places as far as America.

It really has been an incredible experience!

In the future I plan to continue my scouting journey, I am just starting university in Huddersfield and I plan to attend the SSAGO (Student Scouts and Guides Organisation) I am very close to finishing my QSA and I’m looking forward to doing my Explorer belt.”

Edward Maxfield