Kirkcaldy Scout groups continue to help youngsters and families in lockdown

David Torrance taking part in the Scouts camp at home event.David Torrance taking part in the Scouts camp at home event.
David Torrance taking part in the Scouts camp at home event. | Other 3rd Party
Youngsters across Kirkcaldy have been finding new and innovative ways to learn and have fun, as Scout troops are finding new ways to educate and entertain from afar.

Youngsters across Kirkcaldy have been finding new and innovative ways to learn and have fun, as Scout troops are finding new ways to educate and entertain from afar.

The area has always boasted a number of active Scout groups across the district – but while you may have thought the outdoor-focused movement would go into hibernation during the lockdown, youngsters are continuing to work towards badges and achievements, play games, and even hold virtual camps via video chat on Zoom.

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The 5th Fife troop, based on Dunnikier Road, are one of many which hold online events, where Scouts, Cubs, and Beavers can camp in their own garden and take part in organised activities, with virtual campfire singalongs.

Scouts have been helping at home to earn badges.Scouts have been helping at home to earn badges.
Scouts have been helping at home to earn badges. | Other 3rd Party

This weekend will mark their second ‘Camp at home’, where tents will be pitched in gardens, and dens will be built in livingrooms, while Scouting skills will be put to good use cooking meals for their families.

Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance, a Scout leader at the 5th said: “It has been great to see scouting activities continue across the Kirkcaldy district during these difficult times. Scouts, and often their entire families, have been engaging with the group with home programs, badge work and participation in ‘virtual camps’ - their enthusiasm and excitement has been great to see.

“Outdoor adventure plays a big role in scouting, to see this continuing throughout lockdown by building campfires in back gardens and using the wonderful open spaces that we have on our doorstep here in Fife has been inspirational.

“Being a Scout is about so much more than just having fun.

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Scouts can still camp despite the lockdown.Scouts can still camp despite the lockdown.
Scouts can still camp despite the lockdown. | Other 3rd Party

“It provides opportunities to experience new things and gain skills for life. For many kids, particularly those from vulnerable families or living in areas of deprivation, these are chances they wouldn’t otherwise have.”

Kerry Laing, Group Scout Leader at Burntisland’s 11th Fife said Scouting is helping to combat isolation while learning something new. She said: “We’re just trying to keep them connected. We had more than 70 kids at our Camp At Home event.

“It’s been going great. The kids that get involved are really enjoying it, just getting to see their friends’ faces. We always give them a wee bit of time just to chat with their friends at the end of the session.

“I think the benefits for the kids is the socialisation, getting them together, seeing their friends, and stopping them from feeling isolated. You might have quite a few who are only children. They can get together, have a blether, and have some fun.”

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Camping in style at home.Camping in style at home.
Camping in style at home. | Other 3rd Party

At the 80th Fife, based at Linktown Church, youngsters are continuing to press ahead with Scouting activities and rack up the badges.

Cub leader Rob Sutherland says that between around 30 youngsters, around 160 badges have been earned during lockdown.

“We’ve moved all our badgework and programming online. We’re making sure that every week the group’s got something to do.

“It’s something a bit different and a good distraction from school work with the fun stuff. It lets them continue on with Scouting work. There’s also an element of self-motivation and self-starting. It can be a bit of a family affair with parents supporting the kids as they do the work. Some of the skills badges involve things like home help and cleaning windows and other practical skills, so the housework gets done and it’s a win-win all round.”

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Camping at home can be a family event.Camping at home can be a family event.
Camping at home can be a family event. | Other 3rd Party

Meanwhile, at Dunnikier Estate’s 14th Fife, a huge number of activities have kept young minds engaged.

The hall itself is has been given over to the NHS so they can carry out a child immunisation clinics, which frees up room at the Victoria Hospital.

But 14th Group Scout Leader Derek Dunsire said the Scouts themselves have been very active.

“We set up a few weekly sessions online to check in and see how everyone was doing, then we felt that we needed to get back to it.

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“We’re been running five Zoom sessions every week for the different age groups. Them seeing their friends; it’s really sweet to see them shouting to their pals and waving before we start.

“We’ll set them badgework and challenges throughout the week. Things that are also fun.

“We try to keep it light but we’re still trying to build in the Scouting ethos that we have around things like teamwork and working in the community – some are doing shopping for relatives.

“This weekend we’re doing a camp at home, with round about 70 kids joining. Throughout the day they’ll have activities, with the families getting involved as well.

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“We’ll have DIY campfires. Basically lining a plant pot with tinfoil, stick in some barbeque brickettes and that becomes your campfire. We’ll make up packs so everyone has everything they need, along with biscuits and marshmallows – enough for the whole family. When the families are out on their walk they can drop into the hall and pick up a pack for the weekend.

“It’s just keeping the youngsters interested and keep it going. We’ve had some cracking feedback from parents. They’re becoming almost pseudo Scout Leaders.”