#iamaBBleader because…

David Sneddon is currently the BB Scotland Committee Chair and also a company officer in Bothwell.  David took a moment to reflect on his role as BB leader.

My “BB life” began in the Life Boy team at 1st _DSC0043
Bothwell in 1965.  The Company was fairly small but very vibrant; there was always a buzz on BB night and always plenty of things to do. As a 12 year old, the concept of being well organised, was probably something I didn’t really think about – and yet the Company must have been, as there were activities on 3 nights per week plus sports and competitions most Saturday mornings, and of course Bible Class on a Sunday. Highlights from these times include meeting my friends, Company camps, the expedition hikes, gaining my Queen’s Badge and even the one and only time we won the Battalion drill competition when I was a Boy!

I became a BB leader, like many other people, because I wanted to share what I had enjoyed in the BB with the next or possibly even future generations.

As a young leader I learned a great deal from the other officers, not only at 1st Bothwell, but also officers in other Companies – especially my peers as we completed our Officers’ Basic Training together. One particular highlight as a young leader was how early the Captain and seniors gave me their trust as I was allowed to organise and lead weekends away for our N.C.Os as part of their leadership training.

Thistle ServiceI have served in many different roles both in Hamilton and District Battalion and within the Lanarkshire District Fellowship, learning all the time and sharing marvellous experiences with young people from around the county and from across Scotland.

Every organisation I have ever worked in has had its own hierarchy and structure. The Scotland Committee of the BB takes an overview of all BB work in Scotland and aims to support Battalions around the country to provide the best support which they in turn provide to the local Companies.

In my time on the Committee I have been privileged to work along-side many talented people on a variety of “work groups”. It is also my privilege to be the current Chairman of the Scotland Committee, which I see as not just the task of chairing the regular meetings, but also representing the BB in Scotland at appropriate events to promote the BB or to share views and ideas with our kindred organisations.

Being the Chairman of the Scotland Committee sounds very important; it is however simply a job that needs to be done. My first and most important job is still to work with our young people in Bothwell – I particularly enjoy working with the seniors and young leaders and hope to continue to try to offer them the opportunities and experiences which I have enjoyed through membership of the BB.

Given my experiences and my passion for BB, the statement “I am a BB leader because”, for me should read “I am still a BB leader because”, even after 50+ years’ service in the BB!

Find out more about the #iamaBBleader campaign here and learn more about BB volunteering on our website.


BB Mums – Part 3

In the third and final part of our feature on some of the many of ‘BB Mums’, we hear what 2nd Dumfries’ captain, Samantha Thomson, thinks about being a mum and BB leader.

Samantha Thomson, Captain, 2nd Dumfries

Samantha Thomson, Captain, 2nd Dumfries

I have two boys who are surprisingly members of the BB. Rowen is 18 In May, he’s in sixth year at school, and is waiting to hear about college placement. He got his Queen’s Badge last year and will complete KGVI this year. He is laid back, has a wicked sense of humour and loves being with his family and friends. Rory is 15 later this year and undertaking his Presidents badge at the moment.  He loves playing rugby and is very sociable. Rory has many leadership qualities and is very quick. The boys are very different, but have many similar traits, I have so much to be proud of, well blessed with my children.


The best thing about being a Mum is knowing that you unconditionally love someone. It’s also the scariest! I love the fact that the boys will have so many fantastic opportunities, and so much potential for life.
Apart from the realisation that washable pen isn’t really that washable, I wouldn’t change anything as I like as well as love my boys and everything that happens, impacts on how we are.

I am still learning from my mum, she’s my heroine. I hope that I inherited her attitude to people, to treat others as we would like our folks to be treated. To treat everyone fairly, and to stand up for what I believe in. I also learned how to put my faith into service. She’s awesome. I hope I have passed this on to my boys.

I think that it’s a hard job regardless of when you do it, there are no instructions with babies or children. However I also think that there are many pressures on our boys and young men, and that is very difficult for Mums to deal with.


So, how did your involvement with The Boys’ Brigade come about?

Rowen was asked if he would like to go to Anchors, when he turned six, I went with him his first night and was reminded of the great fun I had as a Brownie and a Guide, they still played Duck, Duck, Goose… When he was promoted to Juniors I offered to help out the odd time, 10 years on I’m Company Captain!

There’s so much to say about what I gain from BB. The main thing is the fun and fellowship we share – the lads are sick of me talking about our Friday BB family, but I feel that’s the glue that keeps us going. I take huge pleasure from the boys /young men attaining their awards. I really like when they share the table at canteen and you hear the chatter and excitement of their interactions. Often this is with folks who they wouldn’t normally socialise with. I enjoy the fact that we make this happen. The fellowship and friendship is also excellent with the leaders who are just fab!

Being a Mum is invaluable asset for a BB leader. The problem solving and multi-tasking ethos transfers well to the BB setting. As you know your own children, you can empathise with parents’ fears and expectations about our organisation. Sometimes it’s the experience of knowing when someone needs a listening ear, or vigorous encouragement (!) However I suspect that I also feel that I have an almost maternal responsibility for the Company, which lets me be involved wholeheartedly, and yes I take it to heart.  I have seen the hugely positive impact on many, who after going through the Company as Boys, stay on as young leaders.

Definitely a proud Mammy moment!

You can follow 2nd Dumfries BB on twitter and also find out more on their website.

BB Mums – Part 2

In the second part of our feature on ‘BB Mums’, we hear the thoughts of Heather Sturgeon, from 7th East Kilbride, on what being a mum to her two sons means to her.

Heather Sturgeon, mum of two and leader with 7th East Kilbride

Heather Sturgeon, mum of two and leader with 7th East Kilbride

I am mum to Daniel,  6, and Andrew, 11, as well as being Officer in Charge of 7th EK Anchor Boys.

My kids are quite different- Andrew is quite thoughtful and sensitive -though not quiet!- and prefers individual sports, science and computing. Daniel is much more outgoing and forthright, and us usually described as a “character”!, and  is into football, climbing and music . They both have great sense of humour and get on very well together.

I think there are so many things which make being a mum great, but probably most of all it’s just the complete unconditional love and trust your child has in you.  This is amazing.  No one tells you when you have a baby just how strong the feelings will be!

Exploring things together and seeing the world through your child’s eyes and getting to be a kid again yourself all over again, exploring puddles and ponds and the wonder of tadpoles is great! (I’m sure I’m not the only mum that acts five in Disneyland!). Then there is the fun at seeing bits of yourself or your family in them.  Plus the pride and joy you get as they achieve something- first steps, first words, first goal, first Munro!

Although it’s a bit heart wrenching,  but it’s good to see them grow up and develop into their own characters, knowing you have had a hand in developing the future through them.

Your kids can teach you and help you remember so many lessons you forget as an adult, like forget and don’t hold grudges, sharing is fun, everyone deserves second chances and questioning and challenging new ideas isn’t a bad or scary thing.

For me though, it’s about just capturing the small moments, like watching a family movie together or sharing stories of your day round the dinner table- making memories for you and your kids for the future.

Each age and stage of motherhood brings its own challenges and when you are in one you sometimes can’t wait to get to the next and can end up wishing their lives away! I think it’s good just to take things a day at a time and cherish what you have.

What does being a mum and BB leader mean to you?

My BB journey began when I was “encouraged” to play the piano for Anchors as my auntie was officer in charge! My dad was Captain so we were brought up in the Company- even having family holidays at camp! And I met my husband at KGVI!

There are lots of good thing about being a mum and BB leader, like having links to local schools and other groups, as well as developing relationships with parents who otherwise don’t have much to do with church.  The dual role also offers another link to what hobbies and activities your own children enjoy.

Although it can be a bit hectic at times balancing everything, I think being a mum has worked to the benefit of the company.  Through my own boys, I have recruited others from football, tae kwon do, swimming and climbing lessons, as well as several from chats with other mums in the school playground!

I am lucky to have a great group of boys, a good group of supportive parents, enthusiastic and supportive fellow officers and great links with our Company section.  We run a varied programme- last week we had a “World Book Day” party when we celebrated by dressing up as our favourite book characters! Everyone, including officers!


You can find out more about the 7th East Kilbride BB Company at their own website.

BB Mums – Part 1

Ann Johnston, 25th Stirling (Dunblane) Company, reflects on what it’s like being a Mum to her three children and also shares her experiences of being a BB leader too.


I havAnn Johnstone three children – Greg is 12, not one to bring attention to himself generally, has a lovely group of friends, loves rugby and pushing the limit of time allowed playing the PS3! Emma is 10 and loves maths, baking and swimming and is a lot more confident than her brother. Ryan is 6 and loves rugby and playing with his pals.  He is quick witted and has a wee cheeky sense of humour – no doubt encouraged by being the youngest of 3.


The best thing about being a mum is spending time with your kids, having fun with them, sharing in whatever they are doing and having the satisfaction of them wanting to spend time with you – whether it’s cooking and baking together, going for a walk, playing games or even just all settling down together to watch a movie on a Saturday night.

If I have any regrets about my parenting it is that I wish I had more patience sometimes.

I think the best advice I have received is to keep life simple – we can get caught up in work, school, homework, kids’ activities, socialising and can find sometimes that we have had too much on.  Kids grow up really quickly, life is busy and I believe it’s important to not feel obligated to over-commit and take time to appreciate what you have.

I’m not sure if I can judge if life is easier or harder now than it was for my mum to be honest – I do feel that the pace these days is faster but there are more of us driving and able to access more things.

I started volunteering with the BB when I was 17 – my two younger brothers were both in 3rd Bellshill as was my boyfriend at the time.  I was OIC for the Anchor Section 11 years, still helped the Juniors with their award programme and also took the Target Awards for the Company Section as they were really understaffed in there too. I then became Captain of the Company for 5 years until I moved to Dunblane and stayed away for a couple of years as my son, Greg, was starting Anchor Boys and I believed it was best for him to not have his mum there at that time.

I have loved every minute of being a volunteer for the BB. I have made loads of great friends, enjoyed watching kids grow up into young men, enjoyed all the training, events, displays and outings and I wouldn’t change it for the world!  I have been helping out at 25th Stirling (Dunblane) Company now for the past 5 years and even have my daughter roped in to help on occasion too and we’re loving it!

You can find out more about BB company in Dunblane at their own website.

Director for Scotland – Easter message



I am sure you are all enjoying this special spring weather!  If you are having a break over Easter I do hope you get a chance to recharge your batteries.  The Easter message is central to all we do and I would just like to thank you again for all you do to help advance the Kingdom in your own part of Scotland.


March is always a busy time in the BB and this year was no different.  The conference in Glasgow went well and congratulations go to Dundee & Angus Battalion for hosting an excellent Cross Country Race the other week.