Cubs Scouts

Cubs - 8 to 10½ years

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We caught up with Scott Smith who went through the sections with 1st Portsoy and Fordyce Scout Group as a Beaver through to Network on how Scouts helped him become an award winning silversmith. See the full interview below.
Scott is now finishing his silversmithing and jewellery degree at the world famous Glasgow School of Art. Scott won the 2D Silversmith of Year award at what is regarded as the jewellery Oscars in consecutive years, 2020 and 2021, now presents his “Boorachie” collection.
Using carving skills which he learned in the Scouts, and learning to appreciate the abundance of natural material available in rural Aberdeenshire, his jewellery pieces reflect the practices traditionally favoured by the ancient Scottish craftspeople who lived along the coast line.
Q)When and how did you first get involved with Scouts?
A) I joined Portsoy Beavers at age 6 as soon as I could with my friend Steven George. I wanted to spend more time with him outside of school and was very interested in how much outdoor activities Portsoy Beavers offered. I wasn’t a sporty guy so Scouts seemed like a great opportunity for play. After joining in 2004, I never left and am still involved today!
Q) What is your most memorable experience with Scouts and why is it that one?
A) My fondest memories of Scouting are participating in the Blair Atholl Jamborettes. These two-week long camps in the heart of Perthshire provided me the most fun, social and activity-packed weeks of my teenage years and continue to be the highlight of my summer holidays. I made many lifelong friends at these camps and spent hours building lasting relationships in the Scottish outdoors under the fantastic leadership of engaged volunteers. After turning 18, I continue to return to Blair Atholl Jamborette as a Leader and run a ‘Make a Silver Ring’ workshop for the participants to introduce them to traditional jewellery making techniques.
Q) How did Scouts prepare you for your studying/career in Silversmithing?
A) Scouting continues to inform my work ethos and investigation mentality in my design career. As a Scout, I was encouraged to explore a problem from a variety of viewpoints and develop creative problem skills that were transferable across day-to-day life. The challenged we faced in teambuilding exercises or survival skills continue to inspire me to push the boundaries of my thinking and build my own solution to a hurdle. Scouting also gave me the social skills and confidence to emerge myself in any group of people and make friends instantly, making moving to Glasgow and starting a new course and job in the city a breeze.
Q) Which skills/qualities learned in Scouts do you still use today in your Silversmithing?
A) As well as Scouting giving me the confidence to use a plethora of tools, the importance of organising my workshop and how to approach new equipment safely, I also learnt the process of Wood Carving at Portsoy Scouts. Our leaders taught us how to use a range of wood whittling tools to carve tent pegs, cooking utensils and ultimately: a spoon. I later revisited Spoon Carving during the first national lockdown after moving back home to Portsoy due to the COVID-19 pandemic and fell back in love with this meditative process. Spoon Carving allowed to me engage with the abundance of natural material surrounding my childhood farm and reconnect with the area I call Home through this Scouting Skill. The repetitive process of removing wood chips one motion at a time was something I found comforting and reminiscent of my time in Scouting and evolved into a crucial process informing me Degree Collection.
Q) Did your experience Scouts have a role to play in you receiving your awards and if so why?
A) Scouting gave me my confidence for public speaking and the skills needed for networking in a creative context. I continue to use these skills when speaking to important members of the industry or liaisons with potential clients.
Q) What difference have volunteers made on you personally, throughout your time with the Scouts? 
A) Volunteering has informed the way I look at my design practise and where I belong in the creative community.  Through the confidence and social skills I have developed or the creative problem solving and practical solution finding through exploration and experimentation, Scouting has and continues to play a crucial role in my development. I do not know where I would be without the skills learnt at Portsoy Scouts or the personal attributes volunteering has played in my development and graduating year.
Q) What difference have volunteers made on you personally, throughout your time with the Scouts? 
A) The volunteers at Portsoy developed my communication skills, confidence and ability to overcome problems with their dedicated and unwavering attention to progression. The time and energy that the volunteers gave to all of us continues to inspire me to this day and I am forever grateful for all their hard work. It is because of their passion for Scouting and interest in the development of young people that I had such a positive time at Portsoy and grateful for all the practical and personal skills they taught me.
To see more of Scott's work check out:
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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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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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The new District Commissioner for Kincardineshire is Janine Sydenham.

We are delighted to let you know that our new District Commissioner for Kincardineshire is Janine Sydenham.
Janine has a wealth of experience in both voluntary and professional settings having a background in both Scouting and Girlguiding. Janine is a Human Resources and Project Management Professional outside of Scouting for a reputable company, making her an excellent appointment to drive forward Kincardineshire and give more young people the #SkillsForLife.
Janine is a passionate volunteer and outdoors person enjoying her time with the local coastal rowing crew, using her paddleboard and scuba diving with the British Sub Aqua Club.
Janine said on her new appointment: "After seeing my daughter enjoy Cubs for several years, I knew I wanted to give something back. I am an active "outdoors person" and camping nut, I am happiest away camping and being active, whether it's with our coastal rowing crew, wobbling on my stand up paddleboard or off scuba diving with the British Sub Aqua Club. I'm passionate on allowing young people to experience the outdoors in a safe environment and keen to enable leaders to deliver exciting programmes to their young people, equipping them with #skillsforlife whilst having a huge amount of fun, creating memories and lifelong friends, too. Volunteering enables me to pass on my skills, knowledge and experience to others.  As an HR and project management professional, there's loads I want to bring to the DC role, but also, volunteering is an excellent way to feel good about yourself.  Scouts are supportive - there is an excellent team backing you all the way, and I have learnt so much from fellow Scouters in the last 4 years.  I have had excellent training and support, and there is always someone to talk to if you want help or support. It really is #GoodForYou."
Regional Commissioner Dougie Simmers commented: "District Commissioners are the cornerstone for all Scouting with a District, they oversee the complete management of Scouting from the program of our youth members to all the background functions of a district to ensuring our more local operational effectiveness, this makes it one of the most crucial roles in our organisations. Janine brings in new skills and has fresh ideas as a seasoned Human Resources and Project Management Professional with a reputable company, on how Kincardineshire Scouts will develop and grow as we come out of the pandemic restrictions and most importantly ensuring that we continue to deliver the #SkillsForLife to as many young people in the area of Kincardineshire as possible. I am very excited to be able to announce Janine taking on this role and joining my team of District Commissioners, who do so much for the youth in the North East of Scotland."
Looking forward, Janine cannot wait to get all around the District (as per restrictions), meet volunteers and young people, listen to your feedback on where you would like the district to go and plan for a great future for the district. 
Please add your congratulations to the social media posts and if you are ready for a bigger role with the district team, now is a fantastic time to step forward and drive forward Kincardineshire's success.
To contact Janine please contact her on


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We #FilledOurFoodbanks back in December, we came together and made a massive impact by delivering months' worth of food to local food banks, helping some of our most vulnerable people in society. 
Now, we want to help #BuildBackBetter and we are launching our #TidyTheTrash challenge for sections and groups to take part: by doing litter picks in an area of their choice and then keeping it clean for a period of time! A perfect activity for amber level scouting.
We've set out the steps so you can organise your own litter pick below. Please register with us then make sure to keep track of how many bags of litter you collect and record with us on the 18th of June (if you finish before that, you can record it with us before that date!)
We've also set up a resources pages with links to badges, social media content, and much more, check it out!

Get Involved using these easy steps!

1) Purchase the relevant equipment remember to let us know you are taking part!)

2) Educate your section/group on why it's never been more needed and help the young people choose place/s they would like to clean up during the campaign.

3) Once the dates, times and frequency are confirmed, make sure to take before and after photos and lots of selfies! Remember to record how many bags you collect each time!

4) After each litter pick, make sure you liaise with your local council authority to properly dispose of the waste, make sure it's separated into recyclables and non-recyclables so we can help our environment even more.

5) At the end of your agreed plan, fill out our completion form by the 18th of June and also give us a little feedback on your experience during the campaign. We'll record your impact on our interactive map so you can see the impact!


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