15-22 years of age
Tuesday evenings from 7:00pm-9:30pm
None, however Amicus members are expected to wear appropriate clothing when we meet. During formal occasions, the group does wear the Boys’ Brigade official dress uniform and on only certain occasions wear a burgundy polo shirt and/or hoodie with the Amicus logo on it.
What does Amicus do?
Amicus is our senior group in the Company and caters for youngsters aged 15-22 years old. The nature of Amicus is to develop lifelong skills and a sense of belonging for all our young men through the programme they help plan and deliver with support from their leaders. You can find out more information about Amicus from the Boys’ Brigade national website.
Our Amicus group began in 2005 and since then has developed into a successful group providing our older lads the opportunities to be empowered in what
they want to do during their last years as members of the Company. A majority of the programme that Amicus undertakes contributes to the Boys’ work towards gaining the highest award in the Boys’ Brigade: the Queen’s Badge. The Boys are invited to take the choice if they wish to undertake the training and work expected of them to gain this prestigious award. Since our Amicus group started all of our members have been awarded the Queen’s Badge. They’re expected to undertake a number of tasks. This includes leading within the Company, volunteering with an organisation outside of the Company and Church and developing their skills/talents in a particular area of interest (e.g.: a musical instrument, a particular sport, etc.)
We are very fortunate with the members we have as so many of them go on to become Non-Commissioned Officers (Young Leaders) working in our younger Sections and later on have the opportunity to become members of Staff or go on to train as Officers. Unlike in our other Sections, our Amicus leaders provide a facilitating (mentoring) role to support our Amicus members in their weekly programmes as well as providing pastoral care at all levels.
The Whitechapel Mission Challenge
As a Company, we have a fundamental belief that this age group need the skills and values to be successfully involved in our society. Alongside a varied programme based on the Boys’ Brigade’s Challenge Plus Scheme for this age group as well as other materials from external sources, we provide our Amicus group with the opportunity to engage in eye-opening volunteering community service. We have a strong relationship with the Director and Centre Manager of Whitechapel Mission who invite us to engage in the challenges in running their day centre.
Every Christmas and Easter the Staff takes the Amicus group up to Whitechapel Mission to volunteer in their kitchen and day centre. The Staff and Boys working alongside each other with the Mission’s own workers (as well as other volunteers) in preparing breakfast and clothing for the homeless in the South-East of London. Waking up early (4:00am) and arriving at the mission for 5:00am to help with the preparations is a challenge in itself for our Boys. Within just that act they begin to understand what it can be like in the workplace. Then working alongside others under pressure towards a target of having breakfast ready for 8:00am is another one. Having to deal with customers (the homeless) who come from different backgrounds and are dealing with their own personal issues is an eye-opener for many of our Boys (and staff). Each case is different and each one deserves special treatment. By midday our work at the Mission is complete as we help with the cleanup operations too. Throughout the morning the Boys are taught various skills from developing good working relationships with their peers and customers, the importance of health and safety regulations (particularly when dealing with food), and time-keeping with set tasks. They’re expected to take responsibility for their own actions and to report any issues/matters to the BB staff and Centre Manager. Through this they begin to understand how a managerial hierarchy works.
Everyone comes home from Whitechapel exhausted and glad they visited. Not only do our Boys learn key skills to apply in the real world, but also understand the values of humility and gratitude. Many of them comment on how grateful and lucky they feel with the lives they have after seeing a very small snapshot of what life is like for those who aren’t as fortunate as they are. This becomes very poignant when they hear stories about people who maybe close to them in age who visit Whitechapel. The Boys may feel shocked by what they witness, but it doesn’t stop them from wanting to return to Whitechapel Mission.
Throughout the entire day, the Boys are appropriately supervised by their BB leaders and the Company Captain and/or Amicus Officer-in-Charge takes full responsibility in ensuring the safety of those attending. They also support the Boys in understanding what they are witnessing while at the Mission, so they are able to understand the situations that surround them. The Captain and/or OiC makes the risk assessment of the visit clear to the Boys (and other members of staff) too.
We are extremely grateful to Tony Miller MBE (Director) and Sue Miller (Centre Manager) at Whitechapel for their years of friendship and support to our Boys. They, their family and staff make us feel very welcome when we arrive at their doorstep in the early hours of the morning. On a number of occasions, Tony and Sue have provided our Boys’ with signed reports for their applications to gain their Queen’s Badge. However neither of them will just sign the Boys’ Queen’s Badge books without getting to know the Boys on some individual level and engaging with them in understanding what they have learnt and experienced while working at Whitechapel. The conversations the Boys have with Tony and Sue also open their minds to understanding the different lifestyle that they may not be use to back home. Our Boys and staff always come away from the Mission in being inspired by the testimonies from Tony, Sue and their hard working and dedicated staff.
As a Company, we have pledged to support Whitechapel Mission for as long as we can. This may be collecting much-needed items like clothing, toiletries or food to volunteering at the Mission when we can as well as keeping the Mission in our prayers. We feel the work and fellowship that is promoted at the Mission is a worthwhile cause.