Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald
of 23 September 2009 carried the following report.
Ardrossan Scouts celebrate their centenary year in style!
Ardrossan Scouts celebrate a hundred years of fun and adventure on September 26 when adult members, ex-members and friends of the group will be gathering for a special centenary dinner at the Lauriston Hotel. The event follows a fun activity day for the Scouts, Cubs and Beavers earlier on the Saturday.
Ardrossan Scouts are one of the movement's great success stories. "After many years of falling membership and a lack of leaders, which has been the national trend over the past couple of decades, we are one of the few groups, in the area who have increased in numbers over the last couple of years," Group Scout Leader Senga Thomson said "Scouting today isn't all that different from when it was founded all those years ago. We still have the same principles and values and go camping, walking and so on and take part in adventurous activities."
The legendary founder of the organisation, successful military commander Robert Paden-Powell, held the first Boy Scout Camp in 1907, and the exciting new organisation caught the imagination of many up and down the country over the next few years. Two patrols were formed in 1908 in Ardrossan, by James Lambert and Jack Vickers. They met in wash-houses and back shops in Harbour Street and went hiking all over the area. Peter Cunningham, a schoolmaster from Caledonia Road, was persuaded to become their Scoutmaster and registered the group officially in 1909 as 1st Ardrossan, 15th Ayrshire Scout Troop. Their first camp was held jointly with Saltcoats Scouts at Dalmellington, and annual camps have been a feature of the Ardrossan Troop ever since. Lord and Lady Baden-Powell inspected all 25 members of the group at Eglinton School in 1913 - a proud moment. Four dark years followed, as many Scout leaders served with His Majesty's armed forces during the Great War, but after 1918 the Lee brothers built the troop up again, meeting in drill halls and church halls, with the boys raising hundreds of pounds for charity and winning many flags and trophies.
The first Scout hut was built next to Winton Rovers' ground in 1932, with a move to the Scouts' current location, on land bought from Ardrossan Bowling Club, six years later. The present Scout Hall was opened in 1967. Wartime caused disruption once again from 1939-45, but Colin Crooks, an Ardrossan Academy pupil, took over as leader and organised many activities - some related to the war effort.
The arrival of the 1950s and 60s saw a boom time for the organisation, which was modernised worldwide in 1966. Wolf Cubs became Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts became Scouts and Rover Scouts became Venture Scouts. Ardrossan thrived with three Cub packs, three Scout troops and a venture unit. The Beaver Scouts for younger children started in 1986 and Ardrossan now has a very successful colony with a waiting list.
Senga added: "Over the years many Scouts from the Ardrossan group have achieved their King's or Queen's Scout Badge, which is the highest award available. Leaders have also gained recognition from Scout Headquarters for their outstanding service.".