Boys’ Brigade dilemma is worrying sign

THE news that the Boys’ Brigade is so desperately short of members that it is attempting to recruit Catholics as well as ‘non believers’ will raise a few eyebrows in parishes across Scotland.

Historically the image of the Boys’ Brigade has been of a staunchly protestant organisation even though it is rarely been ran as such.

Mind you the founding charter of the Boys’ Brigade does seek to promote ‘reverence, discipline, obedience and all that tends towards a true Christian manliness’ (the language of which could scarcely be more Presbyterian).

However the fact that the Boys’ Brigade is on the brink of the extinction should worry Scots of all stripes. Similar organisations like the Scouts and the Guides are also facing much smaller numbers of applicants.

Such groups can play a vital part in young people’s development, passing on valuable skills and imparting a sense of community that is all too often absent in today’s youth.

This decline of the Scouts and the Boys’ Brigade is largely down to the lack of adult volunteers who are willing or able to give up their time to help.

We should all hope that the Boys’ Brigade attempt to revitalise itself is successful, for it falls by the wayside it would say much about the growing selfishness of our society.


One Response to “Boys’ Brigade dilemma is worrying sign”

  1. Bill Stevenson Says:


    Good to see the BB getting some publicity again. I think the article in the Sunday Times perhaps gave the wrong impression about numbers. The 20,000 members referred to is the Scottish membership, there are actually around 60,000 in the UK.

    I don’t think we are yet on the verge of extinction in fact last year 8 new groups started in Scotland and like other uniformed youth organisations we have started to see an up-take in new members. Most groups are reporting an increase in numbers rather than a decline. More leaders are still required in many groups though. Currently about 5% of the boy population in Scotland are members of the BB.

    The Brigade has always been open to young people from other denominations.

    Bill Stevenson
    BB Director for Scotland

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