The Bear factor is being credited for a renaissance in Scouting as Taysiders are given the chance to reflect on a century of success.
Past, present and potentially future Cubs and Scouts flocked to the Forfar’s Meffan for the opening of a new exhibition focusing on the movement’s origins in the burgh as well as the far-flung corners of the globe which local pack members have reached.
And current leaders have revealed that the halo effect of action man Chief Scout Bear Grylls has seen youngsters flock to the door of the town’s two current packs – to the extent that a waiting list may have to be put in place if not enough adult volunteers step up to help run the groups.
The town currently has the 3rd and 6th Forfar groups – based at St Margaret’s Church and Lochside Road respectively.
6th Forfar Group Scout Leader Stuart Mackie said: “Between the two there are probably about 140 kids involved, which is a very good number.
“Our group average was around 40 for many years, but there is no doubt the appointment of Bear Grylls as Chief Scout has given Scouting a new popularity.
“The youngsters see him and they think Scouting is cool.”
At 34, ex-special forces soldier and survival TV star Grylls became the movement’s youngest Chief Scout when he took up the role in 2009.
“A lot of other factors are important and if you have a strong committee that makes a huge difference, but you also need committed adult leaders,” added Mr Mackie.
Much of the exhibition material has been provided by 3rd Forfar group stalwart Liz Ross and includes rare items from the earliest days of Scouting in the town.
One rare item on display is the May 1939 Boy Scouts Association warrant confirming the appointment of Stewart Byers as the second leader of the 6th Forfar group.
It bears the signature of Robert Baden-Powell, the former British Army officer and author of Scouting For Boys, which inspired the movement and saw him become the first Chief Scout.
An Iraqi Scout necker given to former 3rd Forfar Scout Alec Joiner during his military service during the Gulf War is another of the interesting artefacts, alongside badges from Angus and well beyond charting decades of Scouting.
Mr Mackie and current 3rd Forfar Group Scout Leader Leilah Wallace said they hoped interest in the exhibition, which is being staged as part of the 2018 Year of Young People, will encourage more children to join the town groups and perhaps piece together more of the movement’s local history.
“Scouting offers great opportunities for young people — we have had people travelling to Sweden, Switzerland, Iceland and Japan and have Swedish Scouts coming her in July as part of a regular exchange,” added Mr Mackie.