A New Year to remember for BB young people!

Three members of the 1st Bearsden Company, The Boys’ Brigade travelled to Hong Kong over the Christmas and New Year holidays to participate in the 55th Anniversary Camp of the BB in Hong Kong. In addition to taking part in the camp, Alistair Thomson, Fergus Hempel and Ross Brown managed to see many of the sights the region has to offer and paraded with the 3rd Hong Kong Company on their regular meeting night.

Falling-in at camp

The three young people shared some of their experiences and thoughts:

 So, was this your first residential experience with The Boys Brigade?

Fergus:

No. We’ve camped in Durham, Hemel Hempstead and Blackburn before. These were all canvas camps with the 1st Bearsden.

How was the build-up to this experience different from usual?

Ross:

We did fundraising for the trip to help fund our activities in Hong Kong. We did car washes throughout the year.

Alistair:

And a bake sale and sponsored cycle.

What was the travelling like?

Ross:

It was quite tiring and we were jet-lagged when we arrived.

Fergus:

Yes. We flew to Schiphol Amsterdam then to Charles de Gaulle Paris and then got an Airbus A380 to Hong Kong. That was quite an experience!

Alistair:

The total travel time was about 18 hours.

What were your first impressions of Hong Kong?

Fergus:

It was night-time when we arrived so we couldn’t see much at first, but all the skyscrapers were lit up and there were loads of Christmas lights.

Ross:

Also, everything was very clean. It was quite common to see people wearing face masks and you weren’t allowed to eat in many of the public areas or feed the birds. But all the signs were in both Cantonese and English and they drive on the left-hand-side, so those were kind of the same as here.

What did you do and see in Hong Kong?

Alistair:

We went to the Victoria Peak, which is at the top of one of the mountains that looks down on the city. We went at night so we could see all the buildings lit up and got a tram back down. Also we got a cable car to the top of Lantau Island to see the big Buddha statue there and climbed the 268 steps to reach it!

Where were you staying before you went to the camp?

Alistair:

We stayed in a youth hostel in the Chai Wan district, close to the 3rd Hong Kong Company.

What was different about the BB Hong Kong camp from the ones you are used to?

Fergus:

There was a lot more people for starters – over 700! At our Company camps there are usually about 20 of us.

Ross:

And we were staying in little houses with rooms on the campsite, not in tents.

Fergus:

There were BB Companies from other countries there too. Besides us and the Hong Kong groups there were companies from Macau, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei and the first Company that has just formed in mainland China.

Was there anything else you found different?

Ross:

The food was extremely different. In Hong Kong they use chopsticks for every meal and we found that quite difficult. Every meal is accompanied with either rice or noodles, even breakfast – which felt strange.

What were you most surprised by when you were there?

Fergus:

The number of people.

Ross:

Yeah it’s really densely populated. Over 7 million people stay there. Most people we met also spoke very good English.

Alistair:

I was surprised at how tall the buildings are. You don’t realise how high they are until you see them in front of you.

You also paraded with the 3rd Hong Kong Company while you were there. In what ways is their Company similar to yours?

Fergus:

Well they have the Anchors, Juniors, Company Section and Seniors but they also have a section called “Anchor Lambs” that start at the age of 3. Unlike us their Senior section goes up to the age of 21.

Ross:

They have a slightly similar uniform but still wear haversacks and have a different badge structure. They meet on a Friday night, like us.

What differences were their between their meeting night and your normal night at BB?

Fergus:

The BB there has girls and boys as members, our Company just has boys. Also, the whole Company falls in and parades outside on the roof of their Church.

Alistair:

Parents of the boys and girls also parade with everyone else. They have a rota and meet twice a month to chat to other parents and help out. They all bring cakes and other foods with them each meeting night.

Ross:

They’re very, very good at drill. But they should be, because they start doing drill when they’re 3!

If you could pick one highlight what would it be?

Fergus:

The cable car ride to the Buddha statue.

Ross:

I liked Victoria Peak and being able to see the whole skyline of Hong Kong.

Alistair:

The Camp and meeting all the other people from different countries.

Do you have any advice for any other Company thinking about meeting with a BB Company from overseas?

Fergus:

It was a real eye-opener for us in terms of seeing the different cultures of Asia.

Alistair:

It was also good seeing how the BB is different abroad, but also how many things are exactly the same.

Would you go back?

All: 

YES!!

You can find out more about the range of activities offered by 1st Bearsden by visiting their website.

Squad at camp1st Bearsden on parade with 3rd HK on roofCamp activitiesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1st Bearsden and 3rd HK

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