The Canongate Kirk was packed last week as 45 Boys’ Brigade members received their Queen’s Badge Certificates.
The youngsters who came from Edinburgh, the Lothians and the Scottish Borders were presented with their certificates by Deputy First Minister John Swinney.
Queen’s Badge Certificates have been earned by 450 young people in Scotland this year and they are the highest honour a member of the Boys’ Brigade can receive.
To earn the award members of the Boys’ Brigade spend around 12-18 months engaging with the community, which requires a minimum of 30 hours of voluntary service.
Mr Swinney himself a former recipient of the award, praised the Boys’’ efforts, “I would like to congratulate all the young people involved. These prestigious awards are a recognition for all their hard work and dedication over the past year and the young men receiving the Queen’s Badge have an incredible 7000 hours of service between them.”
While speaking he also highlighted the need for the Boys’ Brigade: “Organisations like The Boys’’ Brigade provide young people with a wide range of opportunities that nurture and develop their ambitions, their sense of achievement and the skills they need to succeed in life. It is hugely valuable to us as a country that so many of our young people today are preparing to be active citizens and leaders of the future.”
Neil Anderson of the 2nd Linlithgow Company was one of the recipients of the award and described what the Queen’s Badge meant to him. “The Queen’s Badge experience has given me leadership, communication, team work and citizenship skills, as well as developing my confidence. It means being part of a community within the church and being a role model for younger Boys’. It’s about representing younger people positively and taking on responsibility in the community.”
Speaking after the presentation Bill Stevenson the director of the Boys’ Brigade in Scotland praised the quality of the ceremony and reiterated his congratulations for the youngsters. He said: “I’m exceptionally proud of our young people who have been awarded the Queen’s Badge. All have worked very hard towards this and must be commended for their commitment and hard work. Across Scotland, Queen’s Badge recipients have devoted in excess of 40,000 hours’ work volunteering.”
He also praised the volunteers who allow the Boys’ Brigade to function, “None of these achievements would be possible without the efforts of thousands of BB volunteer leaders.
At present in excess of 20,000 young people attend the weekly Boys’ Brigade group meetings in Scotland with 4000 adult volunteers supporting their activities.