District News





Scouting keeps going online

The 51st Dennyloanhead have kept Scouting going online over the last couple of months. They have enjoyed a variety of activities from escape rooms, games, mapwork and taskmaster challenges to learning skills for life, including first aid and cooking. Pancakes, cake in a mug and Easter egg cheesecakes were prepared and many loved eating them! Along with other groups in the area they are looking forward to meeting in person soon. If you would be interested in helping more young people have fun and learn skills for life, in any of our Groups and Units across Falkirk District, get in touch with us about volunteering through our website: falkirkscouts.org.uk









Scouts Complete Saltire Awards

Scouting enables young people to complete their Saltire Awards. Lorna from the 93rd Braes Scout Group explains: “I was introduced to the Saltire Award whilst volunteering as a Young Leader with our Beaver colony. All I had to do was submit a time sheet with all the hours I volunteered - this includes the time spent on zoom having virtual meetings during the pandemic. This is a great award to have on CVs, college, uni and job applications. I used this as an example of voluntary work I do within the community on my application to college. I now encourage our newer YLs to sign up and to remember and submit timesheets as I strongly believe it is a good recognised qualification to have.”









First Aid Skills

Like many other organisations Scouting in Falkirk District continues to provide good quality and challenging “virtual” Scouting for our Beavers, Cub, Scout and Explorers. As well as running their section programmes, our adult leaders have also been using this time to refresh and renew their mandatory training.

Leaders across the district have covered topics such as safeguarding, safety and first aid all important subjects to ensure that scouting continues to provide a safe and secure environment for its members, young and old.

A good example of this is that since January almost 50 leaders have updated and refreshed their First Aid skills using our instructor guided zoom sessions.

Alan Dick, Assistant Regional Commissioner for Adult Training said “Whilst this training is very important it does means that leaders have been giving Scouting more of their time recently and on top of things like home schooling and working for home just underlines the commitment of our volunteers”

You too can be part of Scouting in your local town or village. Go to www.scouts.scot/join/

Join us and help to give young people “Skills for Life”





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Hero of the Month

‘Hero of the Month’, no-one can argue with that! To have this recognised by our local football team is even more exciting. Falkirk Football Club partnered with Verifier Security Systems have announced that ‘Local Hero of the Month’ for January is the fantastic team of Beaver, Cub and Scout Leaders of the 16th Laurieston Scout Group. All through the restrictions when face to face meetings have been unable to take place the leadership team have come up with innovative and interesting ways of adapting their meetings. Beavers have been involved with disability awareness and celebrating the Chinese New Year as have the Cubs who also took part in the RSPB garden bird survey while the Scouts have been covering home safety, so important when so many are stuck at home.

Kieran Koszary, Commercial Director at FFC said, “We commend them on their fantastic work over the last month. As a club we are fully aware of the many challenges facing young people at this time, and for these individuals to sacrifice their own time to support dozens of young people is a tremendous gesture.” Stuart Comrie of Verifier added “keeping fellowship going with our youth is paramount”.





Helping Others Virtual Sleepover

The 1st Falkirk Cub packs got together on zoom for a weekend filled with activities and challenges. The sleepover was themed around helping others so they built bird feeders, made postcards, painted kindness rocks, learned basic Makaton and even learned how to say hello to people in over 20 different languages! There was also plenty of time for fun and games and their Family Quiz in the evening was a big hit. Building forts around the house to sleep in was an exciting part of the weekend and they had lots of fantastic creations! If you would like to join any of the Groups across the District, as a young person or volunteer, please get in touch: falkirk.frscouts.org.uk






Scout Network - Top Awards

Face-to-face Scouting may, once again, be postponed but Scouting still goes on throughout the District. Last lockdown, Deputy District Commissioner Chris Campbell, not content with having previously achieved his Queens Scout Award, Explorer Belt and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, made good use of his time by undertaking the Scouts of the World Award – an award gained in the 18 - 25 year old Scout Network section. For this award he planned and undertook an environmental themed project in the local community lasting more than 80 hours, promoting anti-littering while collecting more than 150 bags of litter from the local countryside. Along with other volunteers the group Inspire Denny and Dunipace was formed continuing to clean up more areas and inspire others.


For more information about Network Awards click here






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There's something fishy at Cubs!

The 16th Laurieston Cubs met to explore healthy food. Recognising that most children have learnt about the food wheel in school, we drew our own food wheel on the floor to demonstrate our knowledge. Cub Leader, Bill, showed the Cubs how to gut, de-bone and prepare a fish, much to the fascination of most of the cubs. Although the guts make a couple of the cubs step back!

After much handwashing, the Cubs then prepared their own fish fingers, dipping their fish pieces in beaten egg and breadcrumbs before cooking them on the camp stoves.

As camp activities have been restricted this year, it was a great chance to practice cooking on camp stoves, ready for when we are able to go camping again. This activity also contributes towards the badgework that the Cubs enjoy.

The eating of the fish fingers was definitely the highlight of the evening!












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Fun Packed Scout Sleepover

IT was a fun packed night of games, song, selfies and crafts when more than 50 beavers, cubs, scouts and young leaders took part in a virtual festive sleepover.

The youngsters from the 27th Bonnybridge Scout Group built dens, created marshmallow people and drank hot chocolate.

They also had starring roles in a Christmas scouting story specially written by group chairman Grant McArthur, who also wrote three songs, one for each section.

The sleepover, which was the idea of beaver section assistant Lynda East, was followed on Saturday morning by a 10 minute exercise routine led by assistant beaver leader Sarah Lawrence. The event was topped off by the presentation of Chief Scout Awards.



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What a Difference a Year Makes

Last year Explorers from Carron Valley Explorer Unit received their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award which required many months of hard work and commitment to achieve. They had to learn and show development in a new skill and physical activity along with regularly volunteering their time. Additionally, they undertook two expeditions during which they had to be completely self-sufficient: navigating, cooking and traveling by themselves. The five-day expedition took them to Oban where they island hopped from Port Appin to the Isle of Lismore. They then hiked down the island and caught a ferry back to Oban and continued to Kerrera.










Scouts Join with Legion Parade

93rd Braes Scout Group and Altitude Explorers took part in Remembrance Sunday with a difference. Annually they would normally join the Parade at the Royal British Legion in Grangemouth and lay wreaths at the cenotaph. Not wanting to let this day go by without marking it in some way, all sections were encouraged to wear uniform and stand at their doors for the 2 minute silence. They had a great response of over 40 adults and young people showing their respect. They hope to make a collage of pictures for the Royal British Legion and make a donation to show their support. In the picture one of their Cubs ‘Kyle’ stood with his Papa who was an active member of Scouting with 139 Glasgow Scouts from 1949 - 1989, his Gran who took the picture was a Beaver Leader with 91st Stirlingshire (Brightons).










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Barrwood Reopens for Scouts

Barrwood has reopened, and the ideal space is a great boon to Falkirk District Scouting. 51st Dennyloanhead Scouts have done some fantastic work, cutting back gorse and gathering new logs for the fireplaces. They have been learning about sawing and fire-lighting, and enjoying the outdoor facilities of Barrwood – soft archery on the range, and climbing at the obstacle course. They have also been participating in Jamboree on the Internet, an international event connecting Scouts from over 171 countries. The jamboree offered 10 challenges to complete, a live internet radio station, and talent shows giving young people around the world an opportunity to broadcast their skills. Also, the next session of Youth Voice Blethers have begun and signups are available on www.scouts.scot/members/youth-involvement/. These monthly meetings are an opportunity for Explorer Scouts and Network members to help guide and shape the priorities of Scouts Scotland. They also help Scouts Scotland and local groups keep youth involvement at the core of what we do. Scouts Scotland is also launching its #RaceRoundTheWorld fundraising project to help the 500 Scout groups hit hardest by COVID-19. So that these groups – many already having faced hardship before the pandemic – can continue to support young people and provide the vital life-skills and significant experiences that are so central to Scouting. Young people, families, volunteers, and leaders will join teams – supported by celebrities like Steve Backshall and Tim Peake - and compete to see who can travel the circumference of the earth the fastest.

























Scouts Clean Up

SCOUTS from five groups teamed up on water and land to clean up their environment.

Volunteers from the 89th Falkirk, 5th  Mount Gerald, 93rd Braes, 1st Falkirk and 27th Bonnybridge used kayaks and canoes to navigate the Forth and Clyde Canal, while their fellow scouts used litter pickers on the towpath to collect other people’s rubbish.

Starting at the Community Centre in Bonnybridge they negotiated their way down to the Falkirk Wheel and despite, at times, torrential rain, the 10 – 13-year-olds kept going.

They were working alongside staff from Scottish Canals, who manage the waterway and whose job it is to maintain the water and towpaths.

And after more than four hours of work and filling dozens of black bin bags they reached the Falkirk Wheel and a well earned break as well as points toward their Community Impact badge.


Falkirk District AGM

SCOUTING leaders from across the district took part in this year’s Annual General Meeting.

Representatives from the majority of the groups in Falkirk District met at Denny Scout Centre to discuss the many highs of the previous year.

In her report District Commissioner Ann Gilchrist spoke of the 2016 cub’s centenary celebrations and the expression it brought to the English language - DYB, DYB, DYB and the response DOB, DOB, DOB. In fact it stood for, Do your best which was said by Akela, with the response, We will do our best from the cubs.

The district also supported the Blair Atholl Jamborette, held every two years in the grounds of Blair Castle, by sending four patrols (24) of 14 – 18-year-olds.

Ann also had the pleasure of presenting one leader with a 50 year long service award; three with 40 years; two with 30 years; and three with 20 years.

She also congratulated the many adult and young leaders who completed their training.

Across the sections there was mention of the cub’s centenary; the beaver’s 30th anniversary; the scouts’ district flag competition at Barrwood and the Brass Monkey camp in January at Invertrossachs; explorers took part in the 70th Blair Atholl Jamborette and they joined scouts from France at Barrwood for a two week camp; members of the scout network, aimed at 18-25-year-olds has, took part in weekly indoor rock climbing as well as gorge walking, camping and water sports; and the most senior members in the Scout Active Support group held their annual after Christmas dinner at the Leapark Hotel in Grangemouth and in April joined the Seagull Trust for a cruise on the Union Canal.

The AGM rounded off with a trio of presentations describing young member’s travels to America, Africa, where a school and toilets were built, and Iceland where network members joined an international gathering for the 2017 Moot.

In his vote of thanks Honorary President Sandy Jack highlighted the many hours of voluntary service given every year to ensure sections across the district continue and that hundreds of children and young people grow and development through the movement.






Camping Competition

THERE was scorching sun, there was thunderous rain, there were even elves and dwarves and through it all a group of hardy scouts competed to be the best.

The 10 to 14-year-olds took part in the Falkirk District Camping Competition at Barrwoodto try and win a place in the next round of the national event.

They had to pitch tents, make a camp fire, cook meals and create a series of gadgets and all without any adult help.

The competition tests the capabilities and leadership of the young people.

Adult leaders were always on site but their role was to judge, inspect and be there in case of emergencies.

The five patrols of five and six members from Stenhousemuir,  Maddiston and Bonnybridge were named after Lord of the Rings characters so the battle was between the Goblins, Elves, Dwarves,  Hobbits and Uruk-Hai

Full uniform, including kilts or black trousers had to be worn for inspection and all kit had to be carried to the campsites, which were predetermined by the organisers, but after that it was up to the patrol leaders and their teams to decide where to pitch tents, dig a grease pit build a gateway and a flag pole and store their food.

And they had to stick to the menu they had previously created, so two breakfasts, two lunches and a three course dinner cooked over an open fire had to be served up on time and be edible.

They were tested on their knots, first aid, stretcher making, map work, patrol tent pitching and being able to keep their site clean and tidy.

After two days of intense competition first place went to the Goblins of the 93rd Braes, second place went to the Dwarves otherwise known as the 27th boys and 3rd place to the Uruk-Hai 27th girls.

Assistant District Commissioner (Scouts) Alan Wallace, said: “This was a tough test for them but we want them to realise how much they can do without leaders telling them.

“They all managed to cook their three course dinner over an open fire despite the pouring rain, which was a real achievement.

“I am very proud of all the scouts. I really hope they had a great time.”

Falkirk District Scouts

All were saddened to learn of the death of His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh. He was never a member of The Scout Association but he epitomised its ideals of duty to his God and to the Queen, always doing his best and striving to improve on what he found wanting. His Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme in no way detracted from the Scouting programme but added another tranche to it.  The three areas – learning a skill, volunteering and completing a challenge all reflect the ethos of Scouting. The group, all from Carron Valley Explorer Unit, are pictured (left) during their expedition (pre-pandemic) walking the length of the Isle of Lismore, taking a ferry to Oban and then another to camp on Kerrera another island in the Inner Hebrides. Charli completed a make-up for the performing arts course; Dylan honed his talent for playing the saxophone;  Cameron learned British Sign Language and Struan completed a course to become a basketball referee. Gordon Henderson, the Unit leader said all these skills helped greatly when several of the Unit, all under 18 years-of-age, gained their Explorer Belt when they completed a 10-day expedition, unaccompanied, in Denmark.


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Tributes for Scout Leader

Robert Baden Powell the founder of the Scout movement charged Scouts to “leave this world a little better than you found it”.

On Friday 19th March after a period of ill health and supported to the end by his wife Julie, Bill Middleton left this world a lot better than he found it.

Bill’s Scouting journey started as a boy and Leader at the 78th Grangemouth before he eventually found his way to 2nd Torwood Scout Group where he served as Scout Leader and latterly Group Scout Leader for over 30 years.

Like so many others Scouting gave Bill a love of the outdoors and many lifelong friendships, Bill gave back great leadership, energy, humour and a lifetime of service to the Scouts.  

Bill was a humble man but leaves a great legacy, 20 + years after leaving, former Scouts and Leaders would still drop in to see Bill and Julie for a chat. Bill was happiest when he had a project and particularly those that improved opportunities for our group members. He will also be sadly missed at the Barrwood where he joined the Wednesday Group who continue to develop and care for a place Bill loved so much.









Back Meeting Face-to-Face!

Antonine Explorers were back meeting outdoors this week following the relaxation of restrictions for youth groups. They had a great session doing activities and wide games. When asked what they enjoyed about being back Victoria said it was good to be back outdoors, seeing friends that I haven’t seen in a while and have more structure to my life. Louis echoed that saying being outdoors with friends I haven’t seen in a while and Edwin agreed enjoying seeing people and having more of a structure in my life again. Other sections are preparing to return over the coming weeks while some are continuing meeting online. For more info on Scouting in Falkirk visit https://falkirk.frscouts.org.uk











Young People Taking the Lead

DRAWING a Charles Rennie Mackintosh rose and creating an origami swan were just two of the ideas sixers and seconders thought of to show leadership.

With weekly cub meetings still taking place on Zoom cub leaders at the 27th Bonnybridge Scout Group decided to set the nine-year-olds the challenge of passing on a skill to members of their six.

Leadership is one of seven challenge badges cubs need to achieve before they are awarded their chief scout award ahead of moving on to scouts.

As well as drawing and origami, the cubs created a quiz and a design game.

Break out rooms were set up and a leader joined each of the sessions as two sixers and two seconders each led a group on the challenge they had devised.

Assistant cub leader, Helen Smith, said: “The cubs did brilliantly. We spent around four weeks setting everything up and giving the sixers and seconders a chance to practice with their family.

“Then on the night they took charge of their six, describing the challenge, explaining what the other cubs needed to do,  showing them how to do it and patiently working through it with them.

“Considering how young the cubs are, they were amazing.”







Insane Magic and Spectacular Science

The 51st Dennyloanhead, 16th Laurieston, and 3rd Bo’ness Scouts along with Altitude Explorers were wowed by Cameron Young Magic at a fantastic zoom show. All the tricks and interactive magic kept everyone amused, with one viewer commenting that “the show was insane”! Meanwhile, the 89th Stenhousemuir have been doing their space badge over the last few weeks and had a brilliant session with Xplore Science Centre where they learned about satellites and spaceports. There were some great experiments to watch, lots of interesting information and time to ask questions. To find out more about The Scouts and how to join visit our website: https://falkirkscouts.org.uk/










Back to Virtual

Last term Altitude Explorers managed to have several face-to-face meetings, and for their first indoor meeting back they had great fun on the hoverboards. After some practice runs, they progressed to slalom courses and moving objects. Now they, along with many other sections, are back meeting online enjoying activities such as scavenger hunts, taskmaster challenges and escape rooms. Ideas and resources for virtual Scouting can be found on our website: falkirk.frscouts.org.uk For those that are not able to meet just now you can try some of the activities on The Scouts website: scouts.org.uk/the-great-indoors and continue to work on badge requirements at home. 









Group Camp with a difference!

Last year was a very different Year for us all. The 89th were due to have a group camp at Keilder Water in Northumberland. Sadly that didn’t happen but we decided not to let it spoil our fun. 47 Beavers, Cubs and Scouts took part in our 1st ever virtual camp. Everyone had been given goodie bags beforehand with everything needed for the camp including hot chocolate, all they needed to make smores Pancake mix for breakfast. They had scavenger hunts, built a replica Wallace’s monument from their recycling bins, made bird feeders and built flag poles. We finished the night with a campfire. Saturday after breakfast we all took part in a Scouts own and a Yoga class. We were even lucky enough to get a video message from the UK Chief commissioner Tim Kidd. This year once again is bringing challenges, but we will still manage to have fun no matter what.






Happy New Year

Both Cub packs at the 1st Falkirk have been running jointly since March taking part in weekly zoom meetings completing badgework and activities, playing games, doing quizzes and having fun together. A huge number of badges have been completed from home and they have sent out a whopping 140 badges in the post this year! In autumn they even met in Callendar Park to practice their map reading skills, invest all their new members and award 2 Chief Scout’s Silver Awards.

No matter what next year holds we know it’ll be another great year of Scouting. We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and wish everyone a Happy New Year.




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Scouts Adjusting to the New World

2nd Torwood have adjusted to the new world, this has meant a lot of risk assessments, group provided snood face coverings, lots of hand washing and cleaning protocols and a lot of alcohol gel and changes to our program – activities have included lots of hikes, non contact games, Kim’s games and for the younger sections fire lighting and smores! Older sections have  been backwoods cooking, hiking up Dumyat, a chippy hike, cooking one pot meals on single stoves, Orienteering and other activities outside in small groups – indoors and outdoors we have reduced numbers to maintain social distancing and have used the internet for skills training, quizzes, scavenger hunts etc. We are currently looking forward to a Turkey Hunt in Larbert Woods to raise money for a wheelchair swing for the Thistle wing at Kinnaird Primary. The group have also funded a window box to help the Kandersteg International Scout Centre and launched a new Neckerchief with a badge designed by the boys and with Torwood Castle on it  drawn by one of our young Leaders – a real collectors item.








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Not all Volunteers are Leaders

When one thinks of those who volunteer within Scouting, one thinks of leaders but there are many more who perform important tasks ‘behind the scenes’.  One such volunteer is Bert Mackenzie, Badge Secretary for Falkirk Scout District.  Bert’s connection with Scouting stretches back almost 70 years, joining as a Wolf Cub in Inverness.  In 1980, now living in Bo’ness, the group  was chosen to pilot a new Section for 6 – 8-year-olds called Beavers, Bert’s son joined.  He was persuaded to take over as Scout Leader and continued for 12 years, moving to different management appointments at District and Area level.  As Badge Secretary, Bert reports a big drop in demand for the usual badges, but many which require technical or internet achievements are on the increase – Digital Citizen, Communicator, Photographer and Digital Maker.  For the first time in at least ten years, a Farming badge has been awarded. 

If you are taking a break from Scouting, perhaps this is the time to reconnect.  Your previous experience will be invaluable.  Get in touch via our website “Falkirk District Scouts” - Contact the Team






Halloween with a Difference

The 5th Mount Gerald Scouts had a brilliant Halloween party with a difference at the Barrwood. They had a costume and pumpkin carving contest, mummy wrapping, and “bone crunching” dry cracker eating!

Meanwhile, the 16th Laurieston Beavers and Cubs had a great time at their Halloween parties too. These were a bit different from usual but by following all the appropriate Scouting and Government guidelines it meant the youngsters were not missing out and could have their Halloween fun. Both sections had a mixture of games and traditional Halloween activities such as spooky corners, spider racing and making Ghosts from milk cartons and battery tea lights. The Cubs even carried out an "autopsy" to find out what killed Akela (Cub Leader) - clever use of jelly, angel delight and varied dried mixed fruits in separate bowls to create Stomach contents! The Group Scout Leader, Alan Dick said “ that all through this pandemic we have tried to provide as normal a programme of activities and adventure as we can and that Halloween is always a fun time for the youngsters and we just had to adapt”.

Although many Remembrance parades cannot go ahead this year, Scouts are planning alternative activities. Some members will be taking part in the two minute silence on their doorstep wearing uniform; colouring in or making poppies; doing a Remembrance hike; or visiting their local War Memorial to lay a wreath. For more ideas visit: https://www.scouts.org.uk/supporters/remembrance/ 









BETWEEN them they have given nearly 100 years service to the Scout Movement.

But even after this marathon length of time, two have decided it is not time to retire and will continue working to help others in scouting.

Hamish and Fiona Scott, along with Robert Wilson have notched up 38, 25 and 36 years respectively working with young people across the district – with the majority of time spent at the 1st Falkirk group.

Hamish (63) joined the group as a wolf cub in 1963 when the family moved to Falkirk and moved through cubs, scouts and venture scouts.

He took on his first group appointment as assistant scout leader in 1975 later becoming scout leader.

From 1985 he held district appointments - three years as ADC Scouts and two years as District Commissioner. Between 1990 and 1994 he took a sabbatical from scouting to concentrate on part time studies at Stirling University. In 1994 he became GSL at 1st Falkirk.

He was also involved in the Blair Athol Jamborette as an assistant sub camp leader in 1976 and ‘78. In 1980 he joined the core team and in 1980, ’82 and ’84 was a sub camp leader.

Following a break in 1986 he returned to run the satellite camp in 1988 and ‘90. From 2009-2015 he served on the Scottish Board. He is a trustee for the Barrwood, and has been the chairman for the last five years.

Hamish was awarded the Medal of Merit 1998; Silver Acorn 2008; Bar to the Silver Acorn 2015.

Robert was a cub and scout at 1st Falkirk and then from 1972-1988 variously held the posts of assistant scout leader, scout leader and group scout leader.

Since 1995 the 69-year-old has been assistant cub scout leader.

Hamish said: “Robert was a considerable support to myself in the early years in my roles as his assistant scout leader and as GSL when I was the scout leader.

“In the last 20 years he has been exceptional support as Fiona's assistant.”

In 1984 Robert was awarded the Chief Scout's Commendation and the Medal of Merit in 1998.

Fiona Scott volunteered to take on a six week stint as cub scout leader and after 25 years in the role is moving on to pastures new.

In 2007 she was presented with the Award of Merit, with a bar added in 2015.

But her move into the scouts wasn’t her first volunteering role. She had already served 15 years with the Girl Guide Movement first as Brown Owl at the 2nd Camelon and then as assistant ranger leader at the Falkirk Unit in the Pleasance.

While Robert is retiring from scouting Fiona and Hamish will share the role ADC Adult Training in Falkirk District.