01 November 2016

S5M-01815 Cub Scouts 100th Anniversary

The Deputy Presiding Officer (Christine Grahame): The next item of business is a members’ business debate on motion S5M-01815, in the name of Jeremy Balfour, on the 100th anniversary of the cub scouts. The debate will be concluded without any question being put.

Motion debated,

That the Parliament welcomes the 100th anniversary of the Cub Scouts; congratulates Scouts Scotland on a year of fun, adventure and friendship to celebrate the centenary; notes that Scouting began in 1907 and the adventure of Scouting was extended to a younger audience in 1916 when Wolf Cubs were introduced, which later became the Cub Scouts in 1967; notes that Cub Scouts across the country have been holding events to celebrate, including Craigalmond and Braid districts, which both held adventure camps at Bonaly Outdoor Centre with over 150 Cubs at each camp, and further notes that, on 16 December 2016, the date of the anniversary when Wolf Cubs first launched, Cubs across Scotland and the UK will host promise parties where Cubs and former Cubs will retake their promise and launch the next 100 years of Cub Scouts.

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Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP):

I will start by congratulating Jeremy Balfour on giving us the opportunity collectively and individually to revisit, in my case, the many decades that have passed since I was a boy scout.

A 100th anniversary is very significant. Let me like others wish them a very happy anniversary on 16 December, a very happy birthday.

The purpose of the cub scouts is to support young people in their personal development and empower them to contribute to their community. You may find this difficult to believe, but I was a shy, introverted young man when I joined the cubs—absolutely true, just believe me. The cub scouts were a very important part of my personal and social development.

I learned lots of useful skills: how to make a tinker’s oven, so that you could cook a rabbit by coating it in clay, digging a hole, sticking it in the hole, putting a fire on top of it and coming back an hour later and deliciously eating said rabbit. This was prefaced by how to cook a potato by throwing it on a fire and then peeling the burnt bits off afterwards, a start to a culinary expedition that I have continued throughout my life with no success whatsoever, as my wife would tell me.

I have the scars, physical but fortunately not mental, on my body, like so many other cub scouts. They are not, as in Jeremy Balfour’s case, on my knee but on the end of my tongue. I had been tied up and I was hopping across the floor. Someone pulled the rope around my legs while I was in mid-air, causing me to pole-axe and, when my chin hit the floor, my tongue was impaled on my front teeth. The scar is still there; you can come and see it if you wish.

Baden-Powell, who brought the idea of scouting from South Africa and his experiences there, has inspired generations of cubs, scouts, guides and so on.

Corey Tocher, a cub scout leader in Peterhead, exemplifies the spirit of the movement. Just a few months ago, Corey travelled down to London to donate stem cells for the Anthony Nolan trust. He has made a donation that might save somebody’s life. His values and the values of the scout movement are part of him and of all who are in his cub pack. Those values translate into a way of life. The promise, which was originally Christian, now encompasses people of all faiths and those of none. The scout movement now allows girls to join the scouts.

The scout law states:

“A Scout belongs to the worldwide family of Scouts.”

It continues:

“A Scout has self-respect and respect for others.”

In my time, I used to correspond internationally and swap badges, and I ended up with a blanket that was covered in scout badges of one sort or another. That was part of becoming aware of the world and of becoming aware of my potential and the potential of other people.

It is terrific to be able to step back to that period in the 1950s when I was a cub, and it is terrific to see that the organisation continues to grow and thrive to this day. I wish it all the best for the next 100 years.


Stewart Stevenson
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