Skip to main content

Language: English / Gàidhlig

Loading…

Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Meeting of the Parliament 01 November 2016

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, UK Referendum on EU Membership: Justice and Security, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time, Cub Scouts 100th Anniversary


Contents


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.

17:05  

Jeremy Balfour (Lothian) (Con)

It is a great pleasure to open this members’ business debate on the 100th anniversary of the cubs. I thank all the members from different parties who supported my motion. I also give a big welcome to the cubs, their parents and leaders from Lothians who are in the public gallery this evening.

I think that the first public promise I gave was when I joined the cubs a few years ago. I still remember the words:

“I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God and to the Queen
To help other people
And to keep the Cub Scout Law”.

Scouting began in 1907 and in January 1914 a pilot programme for younger boys, named wolf cubs or junior scouts, was launched. Within 12 months, 10,000 boys had already joined. After a two-year trial, it was decided to give wolf cubs official standing in the Boy Scouts Association. On 16 December, a launch was held in London.

When the cub section was formed in 1916, it was for eight to 10-year-olds, and they were called wolf scouts. It was not until 1967 that the name changed to cub scouts.

Cub scouts have always been at the heart of the community and that has always been part of what they do. During the war, cubs joined many different communities to help out with cooking and first aid, and many of them knitted socks and other things for armed forces in the trenches. When children were evacuated, their cub pack often went with them so that they had familiar surroundings in difficult times.

Community is still at the heart of scouting today. Last week was the scout community week. Those of us who are slightly older will remember it as bob-a-job week. Cubs helped out with planting bulbs, picking litter and different local events. Cubs have been making a difference in our communities for 100 years.

This year sees a special focus on four key issues: improving the lives of those who are affected by dementia; improving the lives of the disabled; improving the mental wellbeing and resilience of families; and, as a global movement, ensuring that people everywhere have clean water and sanitation.

As well as fun, friendship and adventure, the cub scouts are also being prepared for life. In the cub scouts, young people get a chance to try out lots of different activities and have many adventures. Children and young people get the opportunity to learn to love that type of thing by working together. The cubs believe that adventure is part of a vehicle for that. I remember very clearly that, on my first night, I scraped both knees and got three stitches thanks to the games that we played.

It is good to learn how to play in the woods, to build dens, to go on walks and to go camping. Being in the cub scouts allows young people to take part in individual activities and in team-building by doing things together. They learn how to work out how to take responsibility, make choices and take risks.

Scouting has been and is an activity for all. It has been developing non-formal education for young people for more than a century, and it helps them to achieve their potential. Preparing cubs for their future, whether in higher education or employment, is at the heart of the movement. It is not just preparation for camping; it is preparation for life.

The encouraging thing in Scotland is that the figures are increasing. Figures released in April this year show that, after 10 consecutive years of growth, Scouts Scotland now has the highest membership numbers this century. The continuing popularity of the scouting movement means that there are now 46,095 members in Scotland. That is up by 3.9 per cent on last year and makes the scouts the largest coeducational movement in Scotland. The cubs currently has 12,549 members and was the fastest-growing section. The only reason that they cannot take more is not the lack of children but the lack of adults who can volunteer to look after the packs.

Cub scouts across Scotland are taking part in activities to mark the centenary. Later this month, I hope to attend my old pack celebration here in Edinburgh. Hundreds of events have already been held this year: adventure camping has taken place and people have learned how to do archery, climbing, giant games and far more.

Later in the year, the official birthday of cubs will be on 16 December—the date when the wolf cubs were launched in 1916. Cubs and former cubs from across the country will retake their promise at 7.16 pm on 16 December to mark the centenary and to launch the next century of cub scouting. Activities will take place across our country.

I am happy that this debate is taking place, and happy to celebrate the 100th anniversary. It is a wonderful milestone. It is a wonderful acknowledgement of youth development. I am proud to be a part of this history and wish the cubs lots of luck with their on-going celebrations.

Here’s to another 100 years of growth and making the world a better place.

17:12  

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.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

Thank you, Mr Stevenson. I fear that there is not a queue to examine your tongue.

17:16  

Rachael Hamilton (South Scotland) (Con)

As a former brownie and girl guide, it is a pleasure to take part in this members’ business debate, which marks a tremendous achievement in the history of cub scouts. I thank Jeremy Balfour for bringing it forward. I do not want to compete with Stewart Stevenson, but I learned how to slice a banana, fill it with chocolate, wrap it in silver foil and bake it in a fire—and I had two blankets covered with badges.

One hundred years is a long time and it is testament to the great work that is being done that we are here giving accolades to the organisation for such an achievement. Unquestionably, the cub scouts will continue to evolve and will last in perpetuity.

After a career in the army and a successful book named “Aids to Scouting”, in 1907, Robert Baden-Powell held an experimental camp on Brownsea Island in Dorset to try out his ideas. He brought together 22 boys, some from private schools and some from working class homes, and took them camping under his leadership. That is considered to be the starting point of the scout movement. Global membership now stands at 31 million girls and boys aged between six and 25, in 216 countries.

I am pleased that the 100th anniversary will see a strong focus on participation in activities. The promise parties that will be held are important. The idea is to renew the promise that has made such a success of the scouts. It is the sense of identity and commitment to scouts doing their best and doing good that has created such a strong positive legacy.

Thanks events, which will take place across the United Kingdom, will recognise all the people who have made the cub scouts a success over the years and will celebrate their voluntary contribution. I pay particular tribute to Sir Garth Morrison of West Fenton, who held many positions. He was area commissioner for East Lothian, chief commissioner for Scotland and chief scout for the UK and overseas territories. Later, in 2007, he was appointed to the Order of the Thistle by the Queen and was knighted for his contribution to voluntary work. Sir Garth received those accolades because he helped to grow the scouting movement in Scotland and the wider world. He made it more appealing by tackling stereotypes and played a key role in the inclusion of girls. He even relaxed the dress code of the uniform.

Another such person is Jack Robb from the Borders, who was the district commissioner for Roxburgh and who in 1968 founded the brass monkey camp, which is of course how the famous brass monkey neckerchief came to exist. It is awarded to Borderers who have valiantly spent a night under canvas in November, December, January or February. Certification from their leader is needed as proof to gain membership of the brass monkey group. Jack Robb created a positive legacy that is present today throughout the Borders and other South Scotland scout groups.

The Borders has groups from Eyemouth to Hawick. The Kelso scout group provides an example of the interesting and inspiring work that is done in the Borders. Members of the group recently became space biologists when they sowed seeds that had ventured into space. They will grow those galactic seeds alongside normal seeds and log the differences. Such a story is a shining example of the work that scouts do.

Scouts are of course present in East Lothian—the Dunbar group recently ventured to Wintercamp at Kielder, where they drove tanks, like our leader Ruth Davidson did.

Clearly all those groups do fantastic work to develop new skills and provide fresh and exciting experiences for members. I am thrilled by the depth of opportunity that the scouts provide in South Scotland. May it continue for another 100 years.

Such stories clearly reflect the importance that we place on such groups. Scout groups make up the core fabric of each community that they reside in, bringing together those from all backgrounds and promoting the core promises of doing their best and doing good for the community.

I can only reiterate what I said in my opening remarks. I am delighted to take part in the debate and highlight the great work that the scouts have done for the last 100 years. Long may their good work continue.

17:20  

Jenny Marra (North East Scotland) (Lab)

I thank Jeremy Balfour for bringing this very joyful debate to the chamber. I congratulate the cub scout movement on its 100th birthday. From this position, I can spot six cub scouts in the public gallery. I think that everyone aspires to celebrate their 100th birthday; to live that long but to maintain the beauty and vibrancy of being around 8 to 10 years old is something that I think we all aspire to.

I want to talk a little bit about the values of the cub scout movement. Many children across the country and across the world who have been involved in Baden-Powell’s movement have learned invaluable skills, allowing them to take teamwork, problem solving, fitness, loyalty and discipline through their lives.

I saw those values and skills in action just a few weeks ago when, for the movement’s 100th birthday, I spent a lovely Monday evening visiting the 20th Dundee cub scouts group. We had a fantastic evening. We made paths outside out of sticks and stones and did a little bit of path-finding, and we played games inside. I also saw some of the training that the very dedicated leaders were putting the boys and girls through for their competitions.

The 20th Dundee scouts group won awards at the camps that are mentioned in the motion and the community that the group is in really values the work that those leaders do. I would like to pause on that point for a minute, because I think that the whole country owes a great debt to the leaders of the cub scout movement, the scout movement and indeed the rainbows, brownies and guides movement. Those people give up many hours of their week—countless evenings—and I know that many of them have a lifelong commitment to the movement on a voluntary basis. Some started out as cubs and scouts themselves and have taken their commitment to the movement right through their lives. That commitment and experience are absolutely invaluable and those people should be saluted for the service that they give our communities.

Let us be under no doubt that communities across the country need these groups. Although I was aware that this was happening, I was saddened to discover during my visit to the scouts group that night that there were fewer cubs, scouts, brownies and guides groups in Dundee than there were when I was a brownie and then a guide at the 31st Logie and St John’s Cross group. However, it is good to have events such as this debate in the Parliament and I was very pleased to hear Jeremy Balfour say that the numbers are going up. That is very important because all children need to have access to the great values and opportunities that the movement provides.

On a personal level, I have very happy memories of going to brownies on a Friday night, with my brother going into the cub hall next door—at that time, it was not a co-ed organisation. I would skip out afterwards for a can of ginger beer and a sherbet lolly—habits that I still like today.

For lots of young people in communities across the country, the movement brings great joy and great values. Re-taking the promise is a fitting way for current cub scouts—and retired cub scouts such as Stewart Stevenson and Jeremy Balfour—to rekindle their love of the movement and to remember its value.

17:25  

David Torrance (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)

I refer members to my entry in the register of members’ interests and thank Jeremy Balfour for securing this debate on the 100th anniversary of the cub scouts. I also welcome members of the Scout Association to the chamber today.

I have been involved with the scout movement for most of my life and remain committed today, as a leader in the fifth Fife scout group in Kirkcaldy—try saying “fifth Fife scout group” fast.

As a young boy of eight, I recall attending my first cub meeting. The Akela or leader of the pack, a lovely woman called Mary Pearson, took me through an introduction to scouting before showing me to my six—the greys. Never did I think on that cold March night in 1969 that my first steps into scouting would lead me on such an incredible journey—one that would last for the rest of my life.

Scouting was started in 1907 by Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell, following an experimental camp on Brownsea Island, which 20 boys attended. In a very short time, scouting became extremely successful across the whole of the UK. As boys were required to be aged 11 or over to participate, scout groups were faced with the growing problem of younger siblings who also wanted to be part of this grand adventure. To resolve the problem, in 1916, Baden-Powell created the wolf cubs for younger boys who were keen to join the scout movement.

The wolf cubs are based on “The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling. Leaders take their name from that story and groups are called packs. Packs are comprised of sixes, with one sixer in charge. Every weekly meeting begins and ends with the grand howl. The format of wolf cubs lasted for some 50 years, until 1966, when the chief scout’s advance party report made several recommendations. Changes that were implemented in 1967 as a result of that report included changing the name to cub scouts and the adoption of a new progressive training scheme of bronze, silver and gold arrow awards. I remember those awards well, as it was every boy’s goal to achieve the gold accolade.

Since 1967, there have been many more variations to the cub section, including badge work and changes to the uniform and how the section is run. The most significant change occurred in 1990, with the introduction of girls into all sections of scouting. That move brought fresh challenges to an organisation that had been male dominated for so long.

The cub scout section aims to be accessible and inclusive and encourages participation from every member of the local community. That is demonstrated in the cub scout promise, which reflects the range of faiths, beliefs and attitudes in Scotland.

While working towards their badges, cubs try a wide range of different activities, with participation and personal development being fundamental. By working together in team activities, the children gain a sense of belonging. While helping each other to succeed, they learn and develop skills that ultimately enable them to become better citizens. Although being a scout is fun, it also teaches real life skills, helping to prepare children for the future and realise their full potential.

That modern approach has allowed a continual growth of scouting in Scotland. This year’s membership census shows the 10th consecutive year of growth, with more than 46,000 members. That success brings additional pressure. Many people forget that all leaders and helpers in the groups are volunteers. The Scout Association recognises that they are its most important asset and is committed to ensuring that volunteers receive the best possible training and support.

Adults working in scouting across the UK contribute in excess of 364 million hours of voluntary work each year in their local communities. In my district of Kirkcaldy, we have 11 scout groups, with a total membership of 739. Of those, 202 are cub scouts. A number of those members attended the big birthday bash cub centenary camp at Fordell Firs in June. That event was only one of a number that were held to mark that milestone in the group’s history.

If it had not been for the skill and enthusiasm of a certain cub leader more than 40 years ago, would my journey through cubs to scouts and venture scouts, and then on to become a leader, ever have happened? The cubs were the starting point of my introduction into scouting, and I have now been involved with the same group for 47 years. I believe that the success of the cub scouts over the past 100 years can be attributed to the drive, dedication and passion of its volunteers. Regardless of the challenges that they are faced with, their commitment to the scouting family is admirable.

I again thank Jeremy Balfour for bringing this debate to Parliament and wish not only the cubs but the entire scout movement worldwide all the best for the future.

17:29  

John Scott (Ayr) (Con)

I thank my party for inviting me to take part in the debate and I congratulate Jeremy Balfour on having his motion on the 100th anniversary of the cub scouts selected for debate.

I do not think that members of my party knew that I was once a cub—it is not on my CV. Perhaps they just assumed that I am the sort of person who, like Stewart Stevenson, would have been a cub a long time ago. I am surprised—indeed, I am disappointed—that Stewart Stevenson no longer thinks of himself as being shy and introverted.

My spell in the cubs in Barrhill in South Ayrshire, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, was my first experience of youth organisations and was character building for me. In those days, the vows to become a cub were important—to me, at any rate. They are still important and are worthy of repetition. The cub scout promise is:

“I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God and to the Queen
To help other people
And to keep the Cub Scout Law”.

Cub scout law is:

“Cub Scouts always do their best
Think of others before themselves
And do a good turn every day.”

Together with the motto “Be prepared”, that is just about an ethic for life—to strive, essentially, to put others before oneself. It now seems almost an outdated concept, but it is one of a set of ideals that derived from the 20th century.

In 1916, in the terrible year of the battle of the Somme, self-sacrifice for country and others was expected, and was made. Similarly, self-sacrifice for others during the second world war was still uppermost in the minds of my parents in the 1950s and 1960s when I was a child. I grew up with a huge sense of duty to leave the world a better place than the one that I was born into. I suppose that what unites all parliamentarians in our Scottish Parliament, and indeed throughout the United Kingdom and the world, is the desire to improve on what has gone before. That we constantly disagree about how to reach the sunny uplands is more about different route maps for how to get to a promised land than it is about having significantly differing objectives. We should perhaps reflect on that from time to time in the adversarial world of politics in which we live.

Although I was only ever a member of the cubs, since becoming the MSP for Ayr constituency I have become an even greater supporter of our youth organisations. It may surprise some members to know I am an ambassador for the girl guides in Ayrshire. Whenever I meet them, I am impressed by their determination to develop their resilience and character so that they, too, might work in the service of others, as well as for themselves.

In my constituency we have six cub scout groups: the 12th and 14th Ayrshire, which are based in Prestwick; the 18th, 43rd and 100th, which are all based in Ayr; and the 28th Ayrshire, which is based in Troon. I salute those groups today. More groups exist throughout South Ayrshire and in the Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley constituency: the 2nd Ayrshire, which was formed in Ballantrae; the 3rd Ayrshire, which is based in Girvan; the 7th, which is based in Maybole; the 31st, based in Loans; the 48th in Dundonald; the 66th in Symington; the 69th in Tarbolton; and the 77th in Dailly. There is a total of 14 groups and I am very proud of all of them.

None of those district scout groups would exist without the many men and women who volunteer to help and lead them. Society owes them a debt of gratitude. As other members, including Jeremy Balfour, have said, we need more volunteers to meet the growing demand for this exemplary organisation among children who wish to be part of it.

I am delighted to support Jeremy Balfour’s motion to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the cub scouts. I wish them every success for years to come in their endeavour to build principle and resilience in our children and young people, which is needed as much today as it was 100 years ago.

17:34  

Alison Johnstone (Lothian) (Green)

I, too, congratulate the cubs on this notable birthday and thank Jeremy Balfour for securing the debate.

Like Rachael Hamilton, I was a brownie and a guide but, unlike Rachael Hamilton and Stewart Stevenson, it is fair to say that cooking on an open fire is not one of my skills. Perhaps my colleague David Torrance can help me in that regard.

For years, I watched excited young cubs pass my front door on the way to the local meeting of the107th Pentland cub pack. Just a few months ago I moved, and I now stay down the hill from the Bonaly centre for scouting for the south-east region. There is always a lot going on there. Friends who are active in cubs and scouts always tell me that demand for places has never been higher and that the only constraint on numbers is the availability of adults and other young people to be leaders. I whole-heartedly back John Scott’s comments that we could do more in Parliament to encourage recruitment in the organisation.

One of the remarkable things about cubs is the sheer persistence of some age-old traditions. The 107th Pentland cub pack maintains some of the nicknames that were inherited from Kipling, to which David Torrance alluded. Boys and girls still take the greatest pleasure from activities in which they could have been taking part in the 1920s: camping in old-style tents made by Blacks of Greenock and cooking on and singing songs around campfires. Here in Lothian, cubs are getting out on the Craiglockhart hills and the Pentlands, and out along the Water of Leith. For sure, there are activities that make full use of mobile phones, tablets and apps, but they are all within the context of young people enjoying many of the same things that they have enjoyed for decades.

Other things have changed, too. Cub packs, as we have heard, can have as many girls as boys now, and the scouting movement has recognised the need always to be ahead of the curve in recognising and celebrating difference—in race, religion or disability, for example. Leaders are given clear steers on safeguarding, child welfare and tackling bullying, so that scouting can truly welcome children from all backgrounds.

Scouting is a global movement and the messengers of peace projects are a positive example of that. Members should have a look at the website and see what the projects are doing to help street gangs to tackle violence in El Salvador. In some of the most difficult conflict areas in the world—Kashmir and Sudan, for example—scouts are making a difference in local communities. That is happening across the globe, so I urge colleagues to watch the video.

Research that has been carried out by the scouting movement has come to a very clear conclusion: young people go to cubs and scouts to go on camps and to get outside, and they leave when they do not get those things. Let us hope that that is a watchword for all our young people and that cubs have as much fun over the next 100 years as they have had in the last.

17:37  

The Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science (Shirley-Anne Somerville)

I thank all members, and particularly Jeremy Balfour, for the interesting and positive debate that we have had. The speeches have shown that the memories that children gain in the cub scout movement last a lifetime. I was delighted to hear about the positive experiences that all members who took part had, although I was slightly concerned about the injury count that kept getting mentioned at the start of the debate.

The Government has an ambition for Scotland to be the best place to grow up in, and, I would say, the best country in which to learn. I am delighted that today we have the opportunity to recognise and celebrate cub scouts’ contribution to that ambition.

We in Scotland want our nation to flourish, and that cannot happen without ensuring that every young person, no matter what their background, ethnicity, faith or experiences, can find places in which they can belong and participate in wider community activities. In my constituency and in constituencies across Scotland, all the uniformed organisations, such as the cub scouts, the scouts, the girl guides and the Boys Brigade, are delivering a tremendous breadth of activities that contribute to young people’s wellbeing, confidence and life chances.

I should declare a personal interest, as I am a parent of a brownie and a beaver. I am not picking up my beaver from her pack tonight because I am contributing to the debate, but she thinks that that is a reasonable excuse for missing the pick-up.

The Government places great value on the significant contribution that youth work makes to help us to realise our aims and our vision for Scotland. As a Government, we want Scotland to be a place where opportunities are open to everyone and where everyone is able to contribute their talent, skill and commitment. We want to make sure that children and young people in all parts of Scotland—whether in our least or our most affluent areas—have a fair chance to flourish, and we want to build a strong, sustainable economy, support community empowerment and encourage democratic engagement.

One of youth work’s great strengths is the opportunities that it gives young people to get involved in social action, in volunteering and in decision making in the heart of their communities. Youth work also has a key role in widening access to learning, in delivering our ambitions for curriculum for excellence, in tackling exclusion and in building the capacity of communities. It has a key role in helping our young people to be the successful, confident, effective and responsible individuals that our nation desperately needs, as well as a key role in contributing to our focus on early intervention and prevention.

At its best, youth work links young people to their communities and engages them in local and national activities and in decision-making processes. It plays an essential role in promoting and enhancing our young people’s attainment and achievement and in developing their skills for life, work and lifelong learning. Strengthening the partnerships between schools and youth work practitioners in order to recognise achievement remains a priority for the curriculum for excellence. The cub scouts have embraced the four capacities that underpin the curriculum for excellence and getting it right for every child. They have made the four capacities relevant and ensured that they shine through in all that they do. It is hugely valuable to us that so many young people are preparing to be active citizens and leaders.

Investment in young people in Scotland today is an investment in a better future, and organisations such as the cub scouts provide young people with a wide range of opportunities that nurture and develop their ambitions, their achievements and the skills that they need to succeed in life. The Scottish Government supports the view that closing the attainment gap requires a broad-based effort. The work of the cub scouts plays an important role in supporting our young people’s attainment and achievement and in developing their skills for life, work and lifelong learning. Indeed, the attainment challenge is closely aligned with scouting’s purpose, values and methods in that scouting exists to actively engage and support young people in their personal development and to empower them to make a positive contribution to society.

Scout youth members are equipped with skills for life, including confidence, team working, leadership, decision making, planning, communication, self-motivation, cultural awareness and commitment. Those so-called soft skills add value to young people and, balanced with formal education, are integral to reducing the attainment gap.

As Alison Johnstone mentioned, fun, excitement and adventure are key for cubs. Their programme offers a huge variety of activities that allow them to be creative and to get involved in their local communities. As we have heard, cubs are introduced to exciting outdoor skills and take part in adventurous activities as well as camps and residential experiences.

Many members have described what happens in scouting in their constituencies and the importance of volunteers they have met in their constituency work. I add my thanks to the volunteers, without whom the cub scouts and other scouting groups would not be able to function. From my constituency work, I know how important they are.

When I was looking for a local hero for the opening of Parliament, someone suggested Rod Adamson, who has been working in the scout movement for 51 years. Indeed, he started a cub troop in Kirkcaldy—David Torrance’s constituency—before the 50th anniversary of the cub scouts, and that cub pack is still going strong.

Such volunteers and troop leaders give up their time and energy week in and week out. They give so much to the young people and to the wider communities that they serve, and we greatly value what they do. As David Torrance said, without their drive, dedication and passion, we would be in a poorer place.

The scouts provide our young people with the skills that they need to succeed in life, to fulfil their ambitions and to contribute positively in their communities, nationally and worldwide. I congratulate everyone who is involved in the 100th anniversary of the cub scouts and it gives me great pleasure to give the motion my whole-hearted support.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

Thank you very much. This former brownie and girl guide closes this meeting of Parliament.

Meeting closed at 17:44.