Booming company is bucking national Boys’ Brigade trend
Group: Thriving 1st Buckie organisation is one of the UK’ s largest
Some north-east Boys’ Brigade companies have warned they are in danger of closing down.
But one Moray community is definitely bucking the trend.
The 1st Buckie group is one of the largest in the UK with more than 160 youngsters actively involved every week.
Last night, the vast majority of them were smartly dressed at the town’s high school to take part in the company’s weekly activity session.
Alan McIntosh is in his 39th year as captain of the group – after initially joining as a youngster himself in 1961.
The former teacher believes the key to the success of the Buckie BB has been listening to what the members want.
He said: “We’ve kept up with the times. We still have opening and closing services every Friday – there’s still a lot of tradition with what we do.
“We need to keep them interested so we have a wide programme including car maintenance, gymnastics and drug education.
“We had about 50 boys away on a camp in May. Some companies still use tents and portable toilets but we realised 10 or 15 years ago that we weren’t getting anywhere with that. The boys won’t go.
“When we go now we stay in lodges and that’s made a big difference.”
Every week there are 30 anchor boys, aged six and seven, at Monday sessions, more than 30 youngsters attend band practices and gymnastic lessons on Tuesdays, about 150 go to Buckie High School on Fridays and about 60 are at Sunday Bible classes. Fundraisers are held at least once a month on Saturdays.
The company’s ranks are bolstered by more than 30 officers and volunteers – something that has been a struggle for other groups to recruit.
Mr McIntosh believes “commitment and leadership” is at the core of what has attracted adults and youngsters to the organisation in Buckie.
Malcolm Smith has helped mould the footballers in the company’s five-a-side team into Scottish champions in 2013 and 2014.
He said: “The biggest thing I get out of being involved is seeing boys, who maybe are a bit shy, growing up through the Boys’ Brigade to the point where they take on responsibilities as they get older.
“It’s helped them get into jobs and start their careers. It’s down to the people who run it though, they’re 110% committed to it, it’s their lives.”
“We need to keep them interested so we have a wide programme”
SUCCESSFUL TENURE: Alan McIntosh is in his 39th year as captain of the 1st Buckie Boys’ Brigade after joining as a youngster