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Celebrating our 140th Anniversary



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Founder’s Day 2020

Tuesday 27th October 2020

On 27th October, The Boys’ Brigade celebrates Founder’s Day. On this day, we celebrate the vision of Sir William Alexander Smith and the foundations that he laid for a youth organisation which is now 137 years old and is working with over 40,000 children and young people across the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, as well as countless others across the world.

Founder’s Day is a day to mark Smith’s innovation. It is a day to celebrate the many thousands of children, young people and leaders who have given so much to The Boys’ Brigade and received so much in return. It is a day to reflect upon the incredible history of The Boys’ Brigade whilst also reflecting on the remarkable fact that our work is as important today as it was 137 years ago.

The vision of The Boys’ Brigade is that children and young people experience “life to the full” (John 10:10). At a time when we face many challenges, it is more important than ever that we provide current and future generations of children and young people with the opportunity to experience life to the full and, as our mission says, provide them with opportunities to learn, grow and discover in a safe, fun and caring environment which is rooted in the Christian faith.

It has been an incredible journey for The Boys’ Brigade since its founding by Smith in 1883. The way that the BB has adapted to the many changes in society over the course of such a period of time is something to be proud of for all those who have been a part of the BB family. We find ourselves in 2020 with an ever-increasing pace of change in the world and with a pandemic that is one of the biggest challenges to face the BB in a long time.


2020 – A Year of Leading by Example

The Boys’ Brigade is doing more than simply keeping up with the changes. In many respects, BB leaders of today are following in Smith’s footsteps by continuing to innovate and by continuing to find creative new ways for children and young people to experience life to the full. This is something that we see every year, but that leadership has been particularly impactful on the lives of so many during 2020.

In times when face-to-face BB activities have not been possible, we have seen leaders turn to new technologies to keep children and young people connected with each other and continue to provide opportunities to learn, grown and discover. When restrictions eased, we saw groups quickly act to support their local communities. The BB launched a new alternative programme which could be run at home called #BBatHOME, which brought much-needed fun and laughter into thousands of homes.

“As a family, we’ve really appreciated the efforts made by the leaders and volunteers during these uncertain times. Their commitment to weekly Zoom meetings and staying in touch with the young people has been a really positive experience for our son. I think the BB activities will feature strongly and positively in his memories of this time.”

“#BBatHOME has done so much for this family’s mental health during lockdown. They’ve kept us laughing together, even on tough days. I can’t thank you enough.”

– Quotes from our #BBatHOME Parents/Carers Survey

And now, we are once again seeing the achievements of children and young people being celebrated and many continuing to enjoy adventures with their BB family, whether face-to-face or virtually.

None of this would have happened without the innovation, commitment and leadership from our founder, Sir William Alexander Smith, nor without the innovation, commitment and leadership from the BB leaders of today.

Check out our Vision, Mission and Values page to find out more about who we are, what we do and why we do it, and what guides our work with children and young people.


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