Squirrel Scouts launched in South Queensferry

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History is made: 21st Craigalmond Scout Group in South Queensferry launches Squirrel Scouts!

Squirrel Scouts are a go! The 21st Craigalmond Scout Group is making history by investing the first Squirrel Scouts into their Scout Group. This is an historic moment as Squirrel Scouts are a brand-new branch of the Scouting family, specifically designed for 4- and 5-year-olds, both boys and girls, for Scouting in 35 years. Squirrel young members wear red uniforms and have their own sets of badges including Feel Good, Be Active, Explore Outdoors, Brilliant Builder and Exciting Experiments. 

The Squirrel age is when minds are fizzing, when energy and curiosity levels are sky high, when little lives are full of wow and wonder. The launch matters now, more than ever due to the pandemic providing support to early years children after lockdown and helping them learn skills for life. The Royal Foundation’s research on early years recently recognised the lifelong benefits of good quality early education. Ofsted research has also shown that in communities hardest hit by the pandemic, early years children have returned less confident and more anxious after lockdowns.  

The emphasis for Squirrels will be on having outdoor adventures, making new friends, and learning new things, recognised by a new set of badges. Squirrel Scouts create a positive, safe environment for young children to develop, learning essential skills for life and meet new friends while pitching a blanket tent, planting seeds, or learning how to spend 50p in a local shop. The programme is crafted to help them develop teamwork, communication, creativity, community awareness and other core skills.  

After attending 6 weeks, our new Squirrels, Young Leaders (YL) and Leaders made their promise as part of an investiture ceremony at the South Queensferry Scout Hall in Port Edgar on Friday 4th February. An investiture of promise is an important milestone in any Scout’s life and to mark the occasion the 10 Squirrels, 4 YL’s and 2 Leaders were handed certificates along with their badges and ‘’Necker’’. 

David Brown, Group Scout Leader with the 21st Craigalmond said: 

 “We are extremely excited to be offering this opportunity for this age group of children to begin their Scouting adventure which could take them to 18 years old and even beyond as a future Leader. Although Squirrel Scouts are new with us, we have a very enthusiastic team of Leaders who are engaged in offering great opportunities for this new Section in Scouting. We are always looking for people to join and help volunteer to inspire a sense of wonder, fun, curiosity and encourage a long-lasting positive impact with the children.” 

Ruari Sutherland, Squirrel Leader in the 21st Craigalmond said: 

“I am delighted to join the Leader’s team at the 21st Craigalmond Scout Group at this very exciting time in Scouting history. Having the opportunity to contribute to the development of the first Squirrel Drey here in South Queensferry and the Craigalmond District, as well as one of the first nationally, has been a great privilege. The whole Drey has taken to Scouting like Squirrels to nuts and investing a new generation of Scouts (and being invested alongside them myself) feels incredibly special indeed. Thank you to Scouts, South East Scotland Region, Craigalmond  District, everyone at the 21st including the Leaders and Young Leaders but most importantly the kids. Squirrel Scouts – Ready for Fun.’’ 

Squirrel Parent Emma Eddington said: 

“I’m grateful for the opportunity Ruaraidh has been given to join the Scouting Family and the 21st at a younger age. It is given him a sense of belonging to a group and an opportunity to make new friends and learn new skills. I hope this will be the start of a long journey in Scouting for him.’’ 

Squirrel Ruaraidh Eddington said: 

 ‘’I like going to Squirrels, I like to do the art.’’ 

Mark Hesketh, Craigalmond District Commissioner said: 

“I am delighted to welcome the First Squirrel Drey into Craigalmond District with the 21st Craigalmond, South Queensferry Scout Group.  I hope this will be the start of many more Dreys across the District and Region.  I look forward to welcoming so many more young people to our Scouting Family so that they can benefit and gain from our skills for life programme. The Leadership Team at the 21st have embraced the new section with positivity and enthusiasm and I believe this new Section will be an enormous success.” 

Martin Elliot, South East Scotland Regional Commissioner said: 

‘’The establishment of new Squirrel Dreys is a major step in our journey towards making Scouting available to as many young people as possible in South East Scotland. I would like to thank all those volunteers who have helped to launch this exciting opportunity in South Queensferry and look forward to seeing Scouting continuing to flourish in the community.’’ 

Chief Scout Bear Grylls said:  

“I’m so glad that younger children now have the chance to join our family of Scouts. We know from our pilot programme that 4–5-year-olds can really benefit from the activities that we offer.” 

To support your local Scout Group and Volunteer: 

To support the expanded programme, Scouts are calling for grown-up helpers to step forward as part of its #GoodForYou campaign. Scouts want to recruit over 5,000 new volunteers. Volunteering for Scouts not only helps young people, but is good for adults too, supporting wellbeing and building skills for employment. 

To make this work we need more volunteers to join the team. 

If you would like to volunteer with Scouts, find our more, or support the roll out of Squirrels, we would love to hear from you. Join us as we start this exciting new journey, on the newest branch on Scouts’ family tree: https://www.southqueensferryscouts.org/squirrels/ 

More information: 

The 21st Craigalmond Scout Group (South Queensferry) hold Squirrel meetings on Friday afternoons during school term times from 4.30pm to 5.30pm. South East Scotland Scouts is also rolling out more Squirrel Dreys in the Borders – Cardrona and Lauderdale; Midlothian – Bonnyrigg and Gorebridge; Edinburgh – Braid; and as part of Pentland Scouts.     

The present Scout Group, 21st Craigalmond Scout Group, is celebrating over 100 years of Scouting in the South Queensferry area this year. The Group are based at the Nelson Hall, a purpose-built hall in Port Edgar Marina, South Queensferry.  The facilities, built with grant aid some twenty years ago, is the ideal location for not only the Squirrels but also Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers with a large hall providing the ideal space including a garden area overlooking the Firth of Forth enabling an exciting learning and play area.