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Blog | End of Year Review - Dougie Simmers
By Dougie Simmers

It’s been a challenging time over the last year, we’ve went from lockdown through a number of different sets of restrictions to getting back to being allowed to camp and meet face to face..  While some leaders in Scouting are still very wary of being back Face to Face, our youth members rely on us to give them stimulation and give them something close to normality out with School and home life.

While there was concern in January at the drop of number when our annual census was taken, we were very similar to the national average but on the recent headcount exercise numbers have bounced back to close to pre pandemic levels.  This shows the requirement for Scouting and the huge impact every one of you have to our young members and society as a whole.

Looking at some of the specifics:

Summer of play funding allowed us to support over 469 members in getting them back camping and this resulted in over 1200 nights away from home.  What an achievement for all, the Government in providing the funding, the Regional team in administrating the applications and also the adult leaders in taking the younger members out camping.

ScotJam on tour, two days of activities at Templars park run by Scouts Scotland but supported by the Region

Training has continued online throughout the year and the First Response training has changed dramatically but has stepped up to start getting the backlog decreased.  Well done to all who have volunteered to become First Response trainers.

Snow photo competition with such a diverse and wonderful set of photos of snow sculptures of animals, igloos and people of all different sizes and shapes.  What a creating group we are involved with.

Adult awards, congratulations to all who have received any award during the year, all are deserving and there are more adults out there who need to complete their training to receive good service awards.  Especial congratulations to a very special couple, Anne and Bruce McLaren on their Silver Wolf Awards.

Youth awards, it’s especially pleasing to hear about or present so many young people with top awards for their section.  This has been really difficult to achieve in the last 12 months with the restrictions we have been operating under, congratulations to all of the recipients and of course, the leaders and parents in supporting them.

Permits have continued to be awarded for adults throughout the year.  A few have been more challenging than other but we need to keep these progressing to allow Scouting to continue to offer this unique program to our young people.

We’ve also appointed a new District Commissioner in Kincardineshire and we hope to announce a new DC in Deeside in January, welcome to the Regional team.

Looking forward, who knows what will be in front of us but at present, we hope to continue to be able to offer Face to Face Scouting to all our young members, keep camping, get back to planning international trips and of course select our representatives for the World Scout Jamboree.  Not to mention the wonderful Jamborette at Blair Atholl in 2022.

We’ve hosted our first District Recovery workshop which was ran by Scouts Scotland and one more to be held in January for the remaining districts.  This is the first step in supporting the Districts to allow them to in turn support the Groups in identifying and prioritising the actions that need to be taken through the next couple of years.

As long as we continue to work together, be considerate to others and listen to their opinions and ideas we can continue to thrive as a movement and provide a wonderful start in life for our young people.  We really do ‘prepare young people with skills for life’

Finally, thankyous, I’ll never be able to thank everyone I should but a BIG THANKYOU to the Regional team, all the adult volunteers in the Districts and Groups, all our youth members and of course the parents and guardians of these wonderful young people.

Dougie Simmers

Regional Commissioner


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