Former BB member Jack Haugh looks more in depth into the organisation’s highest award and speaks with a couple of recent recipients…
With several awards’ presentations taking place since May, a number of young people will have celebrated achieving the highest honour of the organisation; the Queen’s Badge. Awarded to young adults who excel throughout their time with the B.B. and who demonstrate leadership, commitment, and passion, the award often signals the end of adolescence and the beginning of adulthood. For members old and new, the award still holds a very special place in their lives.
“The Queen’s Badge recognises and rewards the substantial time and commitment that a boy has devoted to the B.B.” Remarks Frazer Kennedy, once of 7th Airdrie (now 6th/7th Airdrie), who divides his time between a medical degree at the University of Glasgow and his part-time work. “The Queen’s Badge built upon the characteristics forged by the wider B.B of self-confidence, discipline, and obedience. It represents an involvement and dedication that the individual has had to give for their wider community, demonstrated through the voluntary hours required to achieve the award.” For Frazer, this involved work both within his Church, where he would help with the running of community coffee mornings, and at the local autistic unit. “Both (of these experiences) aided my awareness of the need for a strong community spirit, which I think many teenagers may not understand.”
And the experience of Frazer is one mirrored by thousands of B.B members, with Euan Robb, formerly of 4th Carluke, effusive in his acknowledgement of the award. “The Queen’s Badge means a lot of different things to me, but I would say that it has become a symbol of my time spent with the B.B.” Having recently attended the Church of Scotland General Assembly, Euan proudly adorned his Queen’s Badge pin during the debate. “It seems surreal that the B.B was one of the only constants in my life from five until eighteen and the badge is a reward for committing my life over a number of years.”
“I still use the skills developed during my time in the B.B on a daily basis, particularly the skills in relation to working with the Anchor Boys.” Now studying for a degree in Theology from University of the Highlands and Islands, Euan’s relationship to the B.B and the Church remains as strong as it ever was.
Whereas Frazer and Euan have both moved on from the B.B, many of this year’s Queen’s Men still remain very much an active part of their companies. Callum McDonald of 3rd Airdrie has grown up in the B.B and this culminated in the award of his Queen’s Badge in May of this year. “The Queen’s Badge was a good experience, working with other boys (from different companies) and learning new skills.”
“The award has helped me to find out lots of stuff about myself, and I think the B.B has changed me. I can now help others without being asked and have learned so much during my time.” With KGVI (youth leadership course) just over the horizon for Callum, who continues to help out with the Anchor Boys on a weekly basis, the Queen’s Badge and the B.B have turned the once unruly teen into a responsible young adult.
Whilst all three may have tread a very different path in their lives, it seems that they are all agreed on the significance of the Queen’s Badge and of the B.B itself. “I think The Boys’ Brigade is highly viewed throughout the world because it is somewhere where people can go to feel safe and helps boys through what can maybe be rough backgrounds,” Callum remarks, whose thoughts are seconded by his fellow Queen’s Men. “As someone who has had a number of interviews over recent years,” recalls Euan, “I believe the B.B, and in particular the Queen’s Badge, is hugely valued by the public.”
Its value to the public and the young adults who attend the B.B can be best demonstrated through the principles of the organisation that have stood the test of several centuries and continue to be the driving force behind it. “I believe the B.B. plays an important role in instilling Christian values amongst youth.” Frazer suggests. “In a society where religion plays a smaller role than ever before, it is crucial that these values and beliefs, which our country is built upon, can still be passed down through generations. From my own experience, without the BB, I may not have been to church at all.”