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Blog | Looking back on our Summer of Play Success
By Aaron Wappler

Looking back on our Summer of Play Success

  • As part of the Summer of Play scheme, the Scottish Government provided an initial £5000 to Scout Groups across the North East of Scotland with three-hundred and eighty young people from Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray across twenty-two Scout Groups benefitted from the scheme.
  • North East Scotland Scouts agreed to provide a further £4555 funding to support all applications, including 89 volunteers to attend, however the Scottish Government increased the funding by another £5000 last month with another round of applications.
  • 1st Kingswell Scout Group are one of the beneficials of this funding and the fund allowed 22 young people to return to the outdoors at a greatly reduced cost, helping their wellbeing, letting them make memories and learn skills for life.
  • The Association suspended all face-to-face activities in March 2020 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but volunteers delivered an online programme to help their young people cope with the restrictions and not seeing their friends and gave them a wellbeing lifeline.

After eighteen months hibernation due to the lockdown restrictions, 1st Kingswell Scouts returned to Templars Park Aberdeen last month, for an exciting action packed adventurous programme with everything from pioneering, crate stacking, team building tasks to backwards cooking. The young people were ecstatic to return to activities they missed throughout the lockdown period, with a number of young people telling leading volunteers how much they missed their friends, the time outdoors and how the financial injection made a big difference.

On top of reconnecting with the outdoors and learning new skills, the Scouts took part in everything from pioneering with large poles, crate stacking where the young person uses two crates and a team to help them climb as far as possible, team building tasks like problem solving challenges and , backwoods cooking, spoke with Scouts from New Zealand as a group using zoom and a projector and the greatly missed all-important campfire and marshmallows to celebrate their hard work over the weekend.

Another big take-away from the weekend was how the young people felt an improvement in their physical and in particular mental wellbeing, through reconnecting with their friends. The positive health and wellbeing aspects of a Scout camp are myriad: whether it's being outdoors in the fresh air for the weekend, working together with peers on exciting and challenging new activities, learning new skills, or just having fun and relaxing round the campfire with friends, it's a hugely positive experience for young people and volunteers. In a study by the University of Edinburgh, individuals are 15% less likely to suffer from anxiety if they’ve been a Scout or Guide, as organisations that support resilience and social mobility through developing the potential for continued progressive self-education.

Cameron, age 11, a young person with the group said “Getting back to camp with my friends was great and has helped me feel better. I got to learn new things like setting the camp up from scratch, including putting up the dining marquee, and I got to learn how to use knives, axes and saws safely to prepare firewood”

Fran Scorgie, lead volunteer with the group added “The lockdown has had a significant impact on the wellbeing of young people, the young people and leaders in 1st Kingswells were ecstatic to get back to the outdoors for the first time in eighteen months. They camped with their friends while learning new skills for life and it is down to the tireless hard work of our volunteers. Volunteering with the Scouts really does make a difference to young people’s lives, it’s good for your wellbeing, good for your health and good for your CV when you are going for the new job or promotion, it is simply good for you”

Ken Bruce, Chair for North East Scotland Scouts commented “The funding received from the Scottish Government has made an incredible difference to young people across the North East of Scotland. With the funding, all applications across our region were supported, meaning even more young people could get out this summer, spend time outdoors, make memories with their friends, improve their wellbeing and learn skills for life.”

In line with Scottish Government and Youthlink guidance, Scouts is now returning to face to face activities, you can enrol a young person or join as a volunteer today by visiting and filling out an application form.


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