Banchory Scouts are to take part in a cultural exchange programme by visiting Canada’s largest Scout camp near Toronto for the first time in 30 years.
Scout Leader Chris Wardle said the camp was a fantastic opportunity for the 30 boys to experience all the benefits of scouting in a breathtaking environment, “Banchory Scouts first visited the Haliburton Scout Reserve in the 1970s and we are excited to bring back that tradition,” he said.
The impressive Haliburton reserve has 23 campsites, all accessible by water with a host of land and water activities available. The Banchory Scout trip, which takes place in July will begin and end with a two-day home hospitality with Canadian Scouting families, in order to help the boys rest and acclimatise before their activity-filled week.
At the reserve, the Scouts will travel by canoe or kayak to take part in activities including sailing, hiking, archery, mountain biking and wilderness survival techniques.
Fundraising committee chairman, Gavin Cowie, said the costs were being shared by the Scout troop, parents and fundraising.
Gavin said: “The Scouts have been working very hard to raise 50% of the costs of the trip themselves. They have been involved in the vintage car rally, St Ternan’s Fair, concerts at Crathes and Drum Castle, Banchory and Aboyne shows, jumble sales, general litter picking, car washing and bag packing.”
To date, the Scouts have raised half of the £20,000 funds required to make the trip affordable, with more events projected.
“We held a very successful Christmas ceilidh, several school discos and are holding a Fleur de Lis Ball on May 7,” said Gavin. “Scouting has been active in Banchory for over 100 years, with the founder of Scouting, Lord Baden Powell visiting Banchory’s Tiger Patrol in 1911.
Beaver leader Michael Wilson, whose father Bosun Graeme Wilson led the Banchory Canadian Trip in 1980, is looking forward to revisiting Haliburton Scout Reserve with his own son, Andrew.
“I have fantastic memories of camping in the wilderness and I am looking forward to sharing this opportunity with a new generation,” he said.
To help with the fundraising, GJW Productions is sponsoring a concert evening at Woodend Barn on May 4, where Peter Morrison and his team present ‘The Shows and the Story’ featuring the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. All proceeds go towards the trip.
“One important part of our kit will be a kilt!” he said. “We will be in full kilted uniform as we travel and we do still need kilts for the boys, so would appreciate hearing from anyone who has a kilt we can borrow!”
Anyone with a kilt that would fit a boy from age 10-15, can contact kilt co-ordinator Hilary Alexander on (01330) 826166.
“We are confident the boys will do Banchory, and Scotland proud,” Gavin said. “This expedition, as well as re-igniting a Banchory tradition, will enable the boys to develop new skills, learn about another country and make new friends. We expect they will have quite a lot of fun too!” To donate towards the expedition, contact Gavin Cowie on (01330) 823095.