Two Moray Scout leaders have been awarded top awards for their service and years of dedication.
Anne and Bruce McLaren both received received the Silver Wolf, which is the highest accolade awarded to Scout leaders.
It is normally given to leaders who have provided “service of a exceptional nature” and is rarely awarded to anyone with less than 30 years of service.
Moray Scouts district commissioner, Dougie McPhee, explained that the award is quite rare in the area and has praised the pair.
He said: “At least, in the past 10 years these are the first ones I’ve ever seen in Moray. I’m aware of one other, but that’s all.
“The leaders have just gone that wee bit more above and beyond, and have had recognition from the Scout leaders in Gilwell for what they’ve done.
“For me, it’s the dedication to scouting over many years that have seen them take various roles both in Moray and nationally. Both Bruce and Anne have been figure heads at Blair Atholl which is the international camp that runs every two years.”
He added: “They had their own Scouts in Buckie, they’ve been there to give fantastic support, to young people, to leaders, to my team – Anne is currently our appointments manager, she looks after those coming in to scouting and guides them through the appointments process with her team.
“Even leaders in Moray just now had Bruce and Anne as leaders themselves.
“It’s a tremendous service.”
Mr McLaren was also awarded a Length of Service award after dedicating 50 years of service to the Scouts.
Leaders receive recognition
There were a number of other awards presented last week ranging from the Medal of Merit to Chief Scouts Commendations.
Normally, the group would hold an awards ceremony at Christmas, however, due to Covid this has not been possible.
Mr McPhee said: “We were very mindful of Covid rules, we would usually have a big service at Christmas, we’d have an awards ceremony for all the young people and the adults.
“Over Covid we’ve not been able to do that so we’ve had very small wee unique services. There was only about half a dozen people there at the hall which was a shame, we would have had hundreds.”
Since lockdown, the club has kept going, the leaders continued their groups online and adapted to distance learning. Now they are holding sessions outside for the youngsters and are hoping to be allowed indoors again soon.
The pressures of the pandemic led to a decrease in youth membership and adult volunteers. Mr McPhee is hopeful that seeing leaders receive recognition will inspire others to volunteer their time to the group.
He explained that the awards given to leaders across Moray were “well deserved” and the evening celebrating their success was “lovely”.
The district commissioner commented: “These awards show the dedication to scouting in Moray not only from leaders but also our supports, those who are behind the scenes, but who are there to give that sure foundation.
“I am very proud as the district commissioner of Moray to have leaders, supporters and young people that enjoy their scouting and make it the success it is today, to each one I say thank you”